The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, on August 27. She is particularly known for her perseverance in prayer.
Here are some amazing facts about this incredible saint that are sure to inspire your faith in God’s omnipotent power!
1) St. Monica’s example converted her husband and mother-in-law
Even though the fourth-century saint was a Christian, her parents gave her away to a man named Patritius. Both he and his mother were pagans and had violent tempers.
St. Monica endured this with patience and kindness, and her example eventually led to their conversions to Christianity.
2) She prayed for St. Augustine for 17 years before his conversion
Much of what St. Monica is known for is her persistence in prayer. Her son, St. Augustine of Hippo, lived a life of immorality, most notably that of lust and impurity, before converting to Catholicism. Throughout these years, she endured a tremendous amount of suffering.
Augustine rejected her on multiple accounts, but she continued to love, pray and nurture her son throughout his wayward time.
3) She felt discouraged, but never gave up
St. Monica cried many times over her son’s transgressions, but received affirmation from God on several accounts.
St. Monica had a dream in which she wept over her son, and a figure told her that he was still with her. In his autobiography, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, St. Augustine wrote, “that it was my soul’s doom she was lamenting…” The figure told her to be at peace, and “see that where she was there I was also.”
She also received encouragement from a local bishop, who told her that “God’s time will come.” He added, “Go now, I beg you; it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”
4) She knew her purpose in life
St. Monica wept, prayed and sacrificed for her son for many years. Her greatest desire in life was to see her son’s conversion to Catholicism, and once this happened, she believed her purpose in life had been fulfilled. She said to Augustine just a few days before she came down with a fever that caused her death:
“My son, speaking of myself, nothing earthly delights me any longer. I do not know why I am still here or why I should remain here. I have no further earthly desires.”
5) She is the patron saint of wives, mothers, conversions, alcoholics and abuse victims
Especially in a time where conversion is needed in our world and we see the tragedy of abuse in our Church, St. Monica is a great example of faith and hope. God’s grace is infinite, and he will never abandon us, even if it seems as if he is not present.
Let us look to St. Monica’s example of persistence—that God will never abandon us, even in the hardest of times.