Saint Monica was the mother of St Augustine of Hippo. She was born in 332 AD in Thagaste (now in modern day it is called Souk Ahras, Algeria). She died in 387 AD in the Roman port of Ostia, Italy. We celebrate her feast day on August 27 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint Monica Biography|
|Date of Birth||332 AD|
|Place of Birth||Thagaste (Souk Ahras, Algeria)|
|Profession||Religious Lay Woman|
|Place of Work||Algeria and Italy|
|Date of Death||387 AD|
|Place of Death||Ostia, Italy|
|Feast Day||August 27|
|Patron Saint of||
On the basis of her name, St Monica is thought to have been of the Berber tribe of North Africa. She was married to a pagan who was a Roman official in Thagaste called Patricius when she was still young. Her husband was very violent and had a very bad temper. She lived in the same house with her sinful and hot-tempered mother-in-law. Patricius was adulterous and a great sinner and Monica’s pious deeds of prayer and almsgiving annoyed him very much but still, he respected her.
St Monica had three children Augustine, the firstborn, Navigius, and a daughter, Perpetua of Hippo. These are the children who survived infancy. She tried in vain to secure baptism for her children until the time when St Augustine fell gravely ill. She pleaded with her husband Patricius to allow Augustine to be baptized and he agreed but immediately Augustine got better he withdrew the consent.
Navigius and Perpetua were religious but Augustine was lazy, wayward, and sinful in behaviour and this left St Monica in great anxiety for he had not yet been baptized. Augustine went to school and studied rhetoric in Carthage and when he was around 17 years of age, his father died. After, Monica’s prayers and pious example, Patricius, and her wayward mother got baptized and became Christians. It is one year after his baptism that Her husband, Patricius died in 371 AD.
While in Carthage, Augustine joined the Manichaeism religion founded by the Parthian prophet Mani, in the Sasanian Empire. When he returned home and told her mother about it, she was very furious and angry with him to the point that she would not allow him to eat at the table. But after some time, Monica experienced a vision that reassured her that her son would be a great Christian and she reconciled with him.
St Monica visited a bishop who comforted her by telling her that the child she has shed tears for shall never perish. She prayed and fasted for her son and became very close to him to a point of Augustine resisting this closeness.
When Augustine was 29 years of age he decided to go to Rome to teach rhetorics. He tricked his mother that he was visiting a friend but he went to Rome. When she heard that Augustine had secretly moved to Rome, she followed him there.
When she reached Rome, she learned that he had gone to Milan and without despair, she followed him there. In Milan, she met Saint Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who became her spiritual director and also managed to help her convert her son to Christianity after 17 years of resistance. St Augustine was baptized by Bishop Ambrose at St. John the Baptist Church in Milan in Easter of 387 AD.
St Monica Death
St Monica and her son Augustine left Milan, Italy to return back home but during their stop at the Port of Ostia, she knew that her day of death had come. She said to St Augustine, “Son, in this world now, nothing gives me delight. There is nothing more left for me to do in this world for all my desires and hopes in this world have been fulfilled.” She became ill, suffered a lot and after nine days, she died.
She was buried there in Ostia and in the 6th century, her remains were transferred and buried in the church of Santa Aurea in Ostia and later transferred to the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, Rome. When St Monica’s relics were being moved in 1430, from Ostia to Rome under Pope Martin V’s request, many miracles occurred on the way and St Monica’s veneration got even stronger.
St Monica Feast Day
The veneration of St Monica started to gain traction and a feast in her honour was celebrated on May 4. After the 1969 reforms of the Roman Calendar, St Monica’s feast day was placed on August 27 to be celebrated every year in the Catholic Church.
St Monica is the Patron Saint of
- Victims of adultery or unfaithfulness
- Victims of (verbal) abuse
- Married women
- Disappointing children
- Difficult marriages
- Conversion of relatives
- Santa Monica, California, United States
- Saint Monica University, Buea, Cameroon
- St. Monique Valais, Binangonan, Rizal, Philippines
- St. Monica Parish Church, Pavia, Iloilo, Philippines
- St. Monica Parish Church, Panay, Capiz, Philippines
- St. Monica Parish Church, Hamtic, Antique, Philippines
- Santa Monica Parish Church (Angat), Bulacan, Philippines
- Pinamungajan, Cebu, Philippines
- Minalin, Pampanga, Philippines
- Mexico, Pampanga, Philippines
- Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines
- Don Galo, Parañaque, Philippines
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