Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Saint Monica

Saint Monica was born in Tagaste, northern Africa and she was the mother of Saint Augustine. She was brought up as a good Christian. Her strong training was a great help to her when she married Patricius. He was a pagan (a person who does not believe in God).

Patricius admired his wife, but he made her suffer because of his bad temper. Monica never answered back and never complained about him to anyone. Instead she prayed fervently for him. Patricius finally agreed to become a Christian in 371. He was baptized on his deathbed in 372. His mother, too, became a Christian.

Monica's joy over the holy way in which her husband had died soon changed to great sorrow. She found out that her 19 year old son Augustine was living a bad, selfish life. This clever young man had turned to a false religion and had formed wicked habits.

She prayed and cried and did much penance for her son. She begged priests to talk to him. Augustine was brilliant but very stubborn. He did not want to give up his sinful life. But Monica would not give up either.

When he went to Rome without her, she followed him. At Rome, she found he had become a teacher in Milan. So Monica went to Milan. And in all those years, she never stopped praying for him.

What love and faith! After years of prayers and tears, her reward came when Augustine was converted. He not only became a good Christian, as she had prayed. Augustine also became a priest, a bishop, a great writer and a very famous Saint.

Saint Monica died in Ostia, outside Rome, in 387 with her son Augustine at her bedside. Her feast day is August 27th.

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