Monnica – April 30, 2014
This week we give thanks for the life, witness and guidance of Monnica, mother of St. Augustine. Born in Carthage around 331 A.D. to a Christian family almost everything we know about her comes from her son’s great work, The Confessions. She was married to a pagan husband, Patricius, a man of hot temper, who was often unfaithful, but never insulted or struck her. It was her happiness to see both him and his mother ultimately receive the Gospel. She soon recognized that her son, Augustine, possessed extraordinary intellectual gifts. Though she initially desired that he pursue a secular career, her ambitions for his worldly success were later transformed into a desire that he convert to Christianity. This, of course, happened, and Christianity was the better for it. After his baptism, Augustine and a younger brother, Navigius, and Monnica planned to return to Africa together, but in Ostia, the port city of Rome, Monnica fell ill. She is reported to have said: “You will bury your mother here. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord. Do not fret because I am buried far from our home in Africa. Nothing is far from God, and I have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.” Those are fitting words during this Easter season.
Here is a prayer for Monnica, whose feast day is May 4th: O Lord, who through spiritual discipline strengthened your servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.