August 27th is typically observed as the feast of St. Monica, patron of wives, mothers, and victims of abuse. She is recognized as a saintly mother whose deep faith and fervent prayers led to the conversions of her pagan husband and wayward son (that son being St. Augustine of Hippo, who became one of the great theologians and doctors of the Catholic Church. His feast is the following day on August 28th.).
Because St. Monica lived in the 4th century, not many specifics are known about her personal life, except those written about by St. Augustine. We know that she had a difficult marriage, and that her husband was given to fits of violent rage. We also know that she is not considered a saint because she chose to stay with her abusive husband, but for her enduring faith in God’s merciful love.
In a world of such division and broken relationships, St. Monica is a beautiful model of perseverance in prayer. She was fortunate to see the fruits of her prayers in her lifetime. Sometimes we may not see the same fruits in ours, but that does not mean we shouldn’t continue to persevere in prayer and hope. As Jesus tells us, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)
*If you or someone you know needs help in an abusive situation, someone is waiting to help – National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 800-799-7233 or you can text START to 88788. Further resources and local advocates can be found at Artemis Center in Dayton.*
Prayer to Saint Monica
Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son, not with threats, but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.
Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime, yet you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered.
Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea.
(mention your intention here)
Grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.