Monica (Monnica) lived with her husband Patricius in a farming village in North Africa. Patricius worked in the Roman Administration of the village. Monica bore with patience his unfaithfulness and temper tantrums. Neighboring wives were instructed by her Christian self-control and forbearance. Her patience bore fruit when Patricius was baptized shortly before his death in 370.
She also prayed for their gifted son, Augustine, who spent his early life going from one religion and philosophy to another in search of the truth. In his Confessions*, Augustine writes of his mother, “She had mourned me as one dead, but also as one who would be raised to you. She carried me out on the bier of her thoughts, that you might say to the widow’s son, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” Monica followed her son to Rome and then to Milan, Italy
When God brought Augustine to faith in Christ, “she leaped with joy triumphant; and she blessed You, who are ’able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.’”
After his baptism, they were returning to Africa when she fell ill. It was apparent she would not make it back home. Asked if she dreaded being buried so far from her own city. She said, “Nothing is far from God. I do not fear that, at the end of time, he should not know the place whence he is to resurrect me.” She died in 387 at the age of 56.
O Lord, who strengthened Monica in offering her love, prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and their son. Deepen our devotion, and use us to bring others, even our own family, to acknowledge Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. Amen
* an online English translation of Augustine’s Confessions is available at the Project Gutenberg website, Gutenberg.org.
For all the faithful women
Who served in days of old,
To You shall thanks be given;
To all, their story told.
They served with strength and gladness
In tasks Your wisdom gave.
To You their lives bore witness,
Proclaimed Your Pow’r to save.
For All the Faithful Women
St. 1, 855 LSB, 419 ELW