Mother of St. Augustine
322 – 387 A.D.
This remarkable woman is numbered among the mothers of great men. Her son, St. Augustine, became the foremost of the Latin Fathers. The church and the world owe to Monica a great debt, for giving to them her brilliant, holy and mighty son. There were long years of agonizing heartaches and ceaseless prayer, but the victory came at last.
Monica was of Christian parents whose home was Tagasta in north Africa. She was married to Patricus, an idolater, who proved to be of violent temper and licentious habits. But he never heard an impatient or reproachful word in his home.
Sometime before his death, Patricus forsook his evil ways and became a sincere Christian. Thus were the prayers and patience of Monica rewarded.
But there was another burden on her heart. Her son Augustine, whose genius had kindled the fond hopes of father and mother, was sent to Carthage for further study. His mother begged him to lead a pure life in the midst of the dangers and dissipations [sic] of a great city. In his writings, Augustine confesses that he listened impatiently and counted it mere woman talk which he would be ashamed to heed. Monica mourned over him with yearning grief.
Upon his return his blasphemies so shocked her that she could no longer allow him under her roof. But she prayed without ceasing. A certain bishop was urged by her to come and argue with her son. He declined. She entreated him with tears. He replied, “Continue as you have begun; surely the son of so many tears cannot perish.”
Augustine at thirty had exhausted the dissipations [sic] of Africa and went to Rome to find new forms of sin. Monica followed him and after a time found him a changed man. The struggle had been long and bitter.
Monica’s closing years were filled with joy at seeing the great powers of her son wholly given to the service of God. His writings bear constant testimony to her character.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.