St. Monica

Feast Day: May 4th

"Nothing is far from God." - Saint Monica


Widow; born of Christian parents at Tagaste, North Africa, in 333; died at Ostia, near Rome, in 387.

    We are told but little of her childhood. She was married early in life to Patritius who held an official position in Tagaste. He was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her almsdeeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a veritable apostolate amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect.

    Three children were born of this marriage, Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and her grief was great when Augustine fell ill; in her distress she besought Patritius to allow him to be baptized; he agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica's anxiety now centred in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to Madaura to school and Monica seems to have literally wrestled with God for the soul of her son. A great consolation was vouchsafed her ? in compensation perhaps for all that she was to experience through Augustine ? Patritius became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he fell into grievous sin. Patritius died very shortly after his reception into the Church and Monica resolved not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he ventilated certain heretical propositions she drove him away from her table, but a strange vision which she had urged her to recall him. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, wither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance. Mother and son spent six months of true peace at Cassiacum, after which time Augustine was baptized in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan. Africa claimed them however, and they set out on their journey, stopping at CivitÓ Vecchia and at Ostia. Here death overtook Monica and the finest pages of his "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion Augustine then experienced.

    St. Monica was buried at Ostia, and at first seems to have been almost forgotten, though her body was removed during the sixth century to a hidden crypt in the church of St. Aureus. About the thirteenth century, however, the cult of St. Monica began to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430 Martin V ordered the relics to be brought to Rome. Many miracles occurred on the way, and the cultus of St. Monica was definitely established. Later the Archbishop of Rouen, Cardinal d'Estouteville, built a church at Rome in honour of St. Augustine and deposited the relics of St. Monica in a chapel to the left of the high altar. The Office of St. Monica however does not seem to have found a place in the Roman Breviary before the sixteenth century.

    In 1850 there was established at Notre Dame de Sion at Paris an Association of Christian mothers under the patronage of St. Monica; its object was mutual prayer for sons and husbands who had gone astray. This Association was in 1856 raised to the rank of an archconfraternity and spread rapidly over all the Catholic world, branches being established in Dublin, London, Liverpool, Sydney, and Buenos Aires. Eugenius IV had established a similar Confraternity long before.

Bibliography. ST. AUGUSTINE, Confession, IX, reprinted in SURIUS. GUALTERUS, Canon Regular of Ostia, who was especially charged with the work of removing the relics from Ostia by Martin V, wrote a life of the saint with an account of the translation. He appended to the life a letter which used to be attributed to St. Augustine but which is undoubtedly spurious; it purports to be written to his sister Perpetua and describes their mother's death. The BOLLANDISTS decide for the contemporary character of the letter whilst denying it to St. Augustine. BARONIUS, Ann. Eccl., ad an. 389; BOUGAUD, Histoire de S. Monique.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911, Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

St. Monica, Widow
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, the great teacher of sacred wisdom, was a native of Africa. She was doubly a mother to the Saint; for, she not only gave him earthly life, but also spiritual life, by regenerating him for Heaven. Her parents, who were Christians and in comfortable circumstances, brought her up in modesty and virtue. She was devoted to pious exercises from early childhood. Having heard from her mother how pleasing in the sight of God it is to overcome sleep at night, and spend the time in prayer, she forthwith began to rise during the night and pray. Nor was she less devoted to the poor. She often deprived herself of food in order to supply the wants of the indigent. She never evinced any pleasure in vainly adorning her person, but always attired herself according to her station in life. In all her words as well as actions, she endeavored to be decorous and retiring. When grown up, it was her desire to live in virginal purity, but was obedient to her parents who wished her to marry. As a wife her conduct was so exemplary that she might be held up as a model for all married people. Patricius, her husband, tormented his pious wife in a thousand different ways, as he was of a violent temper, immoral, and addicted to many vices. Monica always treated him with love and gentleness, never reproaching him for his vices. She never contradicted him when, giving way to passion, he burst out into manifold curses: but waited until his anger had passed away, and then represented his faults to him with Christian calmness. Praying to God unceasingly for his conversion, she gradually changed him so completely, that he at last led a very edifying life. The women who lived in her neighborhood, and who were acquainted with the passionate temper of Patricius, often wondered that he never struck or otherwise brutally treated her, as their husbands did to them. But Monica told them the reason of it, and taught them to be submissive to their husbands, to meet them with love and gentleness, and above all things, never to contradict them when they were angry, but to bear their faults in patience and silence. But just as anxious as Monica was to live in love and peace with her husband, so was she determined not to permit strife and contention among her household, still less other vices. She had three children, two sons and one daughter, and her greatest care was to give them a Christian education. Augustine, her first born, however, was not obedient, especially after the death of his father, but led a wild, licentious life, regarding neither the admonitions, supplications, nor menaces of his pious mother, until at last, he fell into the heresy of the Manichees.

Meanwhile Monica regulated her widowhood entirely after the precepts which St. Paul gives in his first Epistle to his disciple Timothy. She was liberal towards the poor, assisted daily at Holy Mass, listened eagerly to the word of God, spent no time in idle gossiping, or in walking about; but read devotional books, prayed and worked. She would hear nothing of worldly pleasures, and still less of fine garments or other vanities. She loved solitude and lived a retired and peaceful life, her only trouble being the vicious conduct of her son. Shedding many tears, she prayed almost day and night to God for his conversion, and requested others, both of the Clergy and the laity, to pray for the same object. As she one day asked a bishop for his prayers, he said to her: "Go in peace, a son for whom his mother sheds so many tears cannot perish." These words gave her some comfort, but she derived still more consolation from a vision in which God distinctly announced to her the conversion of her son.

In the meantime, Augustine was desirous to leave Carthage, where he had studied rhetoric, and go to Rome. Monica endeavored to prevent his going; but Augustine secretly departed while she was at church. Scarcely, however, had he arrived in Rome, when he became dangerously ill: and he ascribed it to his mother's prayers that he did not die in his sins and go to eternal destruction. As soon as Monica was informed where her son was, she determined to go to him so as to be able to watch over him. When she, after a most dangerous sea-voyage, arrived at Milan, she found him there, as he had been called from Rome to teach rhetoric. It was then that she perceived with joy that there was a change in him, through his conversations with St. Ambrose, who, at that period, was Bishop of Milan. Monica entreated the bishop not to relax in his interest for her son, until he should be entirely converted.

At length, God in his mercy complied with the holy widow's desire. Augustine renounced the Manichean heresy and was baptized in his 3Oth year by St. Ambrose. It may be said with truth that this conversion was the fruit of the prayers and tears of Saint Monica. The consolation that she received from her son's conversion, may be more easily imagined than described. Soon after this event, she determined to return with her son to Africa, but having reached Ostia, where they were obliged to wait for an opportunity to continue their voyage, a slight fever overtook her. At first it was not supposed dangerous, and Augustine himself relates how edifying a conversation he had held with his holy mother on the glories of heaven. She ended it with the following words: "My son, as far as I am concerned, I expect nothing further from this world. I had only one wish, which was to see you a Catholic before I died. God has granted me more than I asked; because I see that you not only serve Him, but that you despise all earthly happiness. What, therefore, remains for me to do upon earth?" Meanwhile, her malady increased so rapidly, that nine days later, St. Monica, who so long had sighed for heaven, gave her soul, adorned with so many virtues, into the hands of her Creator, in her fifty-sixth year. What she requested before her death of her two sons who were present, St. Augustine relates as follows: "Lay my body," said she: "where you like, and allow no thought of it to trouble you. Only one thing I request of you: remember me before the Altar of the Most High wherever you may be." St. Augustine describes also how they placed the body of his holy mother by her open grave, and there offered the sacrifice of our Redemption, the Holy Mass, for the dead before they interred her. A clear evidence that, at that remote period, they also believed in purgatory, and prayed for the dead as we Catholics still do in our days.

Practical Considerations

The life of St. Monica may serve as a lesson and example to every one. As a virgin, she was modest and retiring, was devoted to prayer, was kind to the poor, took no pleasure in luxuries or elegant garments, married not without the knowledge and consent of her parents but more in obedience to them than because it was her own wish. These are all points which deserve to be especially considered and imitated by all unmarried persons. As wife, she showed almost wonderful reserve and patience. She suffered the wrong done to her in silence, but endeavored to reform her husband by kind persuasions and prayers. She evinced, however, the greatest solicitude to give her children a Christian education. Married people may learn from this how they ought to conduct themselves, especially if one has to suffer from the other. As widow, she passed her time in the exercise of those works I have mentioned above. She loved solitude, fled even from lawful pleasures, and avoided the slightest shadow of vanity in her attire and behavior. Oh! that all widows would consider this example well, and conform their lives to it. For, to live, after the death of the husband, the same life of vanity and dissipation, to dress just as luxuriously and proudly, to find the same delight in the pleasures of the world and seek them as frequently as in the past, to be just as indolent in the exercise of charitable deeds, to spend even more time in gossiping than in prayers or in hearing the word of God, to lead a life regulated only by a love of comfort and sensuality, perhaps, even to seek greater dangers--is not living as a widow who earnestly desires to gain her eternal salvation. St. Paul says: "If any widow have children or grandchildren; let her learn first to govern her own house, and to make a return of duty to her parents: for this is acceptable before God. But she that is a widow indeed and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she that lives in pleasures is dead while she is living." (I. Timothy v.).

St. Monica had a vicious husband and a wicked son. She, however, converted both. But how and by what means? Not by strife and contention, not by abuse and injuries, not by swearing and cursing; but by patience, by tender exhortations, by constant prayers. Oh! that all women, all parents used such means when they have bad husbands or wicked children. These are not to be changed by curses and abuse. If a husband is angry, or intoxicated or otherwise unfit to listen to reason, the wife should be silent and yield, but await a suitable time to show him his faults and exhort him to better his conduct. Contradictions or curses only pour oil into the fire and increase the evil. As far as parents are concerned, they must know that they are never allowed to curse their children or to wish them evil, let the children be ever so godless and bad. The parents sin by cursing and often very heavily.

They cause many sins which their children, in the course of time commit by cursing in the same manner: for one sees every day that children learn cursing from their parents, and become themselves as accustomed to it as their parents are. And who is responsible to God for all the curses of the children but the parents, who have set them the example? I am aware of the many excuses which the parents give, and I will answer them at another time. Today, I say only this: To curse is never permitted. God forbids it. As often as parents curse their children, so often do they act in contradiction to the law of God: they sin and cause their children to sin. To curse is not a proper, neither is it an allowed means to educate children or make them better. St. Monica used quite different means and obtained what she desired. Where has there ever been a father or a mother who made a child pious by cursing? But even if it were possible to bring up a child well and make it pious by cursing, yet would it be sinful to do it with this intention. God has forbidden it: this must suffice. "Bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord," writes St. Paul. (Eph. vi.). The correction of the Lord does not permit cursing, but on the contrary prohibits it.

Saint Monica, Widow
by Father Proser Gueranger, 1870

In the company of our Risen Lord there are two women, two mothers, of whom we have often had to speak during the last few weeks: they are Mary, mother of James the Less and Thaddeus, and Salome, mother of James the Greater and John the beloved disciple. They went, with Magdalene, to the Sepulcher, on the Resurrection morning; they carried spices to anoint the Body of Jesus; they were spoken to by Angels; and, as they returned to Jerusalem, our Lord appeared to them, greeted them, and allowed them to kiss his sacred feet. Since that Day, He has repaid their love by frequently appearing to them; and on the day of His Ascension from Mount Olivet, they will be there, together with our Blessed Lady and the Apostles, to receive His farewell blessing. Let us honour these faithful companions of Magdalene, these models of the love we should show to our Lord in His Resurrection; let us, also, venerate them as mothers who gave four Apostles to the Church.

But lo! on this fourth morning of beautiful May, there rises, near to Mary and Salome, another woman, another mother. She, too, is fervent in her love of Jesus. She, too, gives to holy Church a treasure: the child of her tears, a Doctor, a Bishop, and one of the grandest Saints of the New Law. This woman, this mother, is Monica, twice mother of Augustine. This master-piece of God's grace was produced on the desert soil of Africa. Her virtues would have been unknown till the day of Judgment, had not the pen of the great Bishop of Hippo, prompted by the holy affection of his filial heart, revealed to us the merits of this woman, whose life was humility and love, and who now, immortalized in men's esteem, is venerated as the model and patroness of Christian Mothers.

One of the great charms of the book of Confessions, is Augustine's fervent praise of Monica's virtues and devotedness. With what affectionate gratitude he speaks, throughout his whole history, of the untiring constancy of this mother, who, seeing the errors of her son, "wept over him more than other mothers weep over the dead body of their children! (Confessionum, liv. iii. cap. xi)" Our Lord, Who, from time to time, consoles, with a ray of hope, the souls He tries, had shown to Monica, in a vision, the future meeting of the son and mother; she had even heard a holy Bishop assuring her, that the child of so many tears could never be lost: still, the sad realities of the present weighed heavily on her heart; and both her maternal love and her Faith caused her to grieve over this son who kept away from her, yea, who kept away from her, because he was unfaithful to his God. The anguish of this devoted heart was an expiation, which would, at a future period, be applied to the guilty one; fervent and persevering prayer, joined with suffering, prepared Augustine's second birth; and, as he himself says, "she went through more when she gave me my spiritual, than when she gave me my corporal, birth (Ibid. lib. v. cap. ix)."

At last, after long years of anxiety, the mother found, at Milan, this son of hers, who had so cruelly deceived her, when he fled from her roof to go and risk his fortune in Rome. She found him still doubting the truth of the Christian Religion, but tired of the errors that had misled him. Augustine was not aware of it, but he had really made an advance towards the true Faith. "She found me," says he, "in extreme danger, for I despaired of ever finding the truth. But when I told her, that I was no longer a Manichean, and yet not a Catholic Christian, the announcement did not take her by surprise. She leaped for joy, at being made sure that one half of my misery was gone. As to the other, she wept over me, as dead, indeed, but to rise again; she turned to thee, O my God, and wept, and, in spirit, brought me, and laid the bier before Thee, that Thou mightest say to the widow's son: " Young man! I say to thee, arise! Then would he come to life again, and begin to speak, and Thou couldst give him back to his mother! * * * Seeing, then, that although I had not yet found the truth, I was delivered from error, she felt sure that Thou wouldst give the other half of the whole Thou hadst promised. She told me in a tone of gentlest calm, but with her heart full of hope, that she was confident, in Christ, that before leaving this world, she would see me a faithful Catholic (Confessionum, liv. vi. cap. i)."

At Milan, Monica formed acquaintance with the great Saint Ambrose, who was the instrument chosen by God for the conversion of her son. " She," says Augustine, "had a very great affection for Ambrose, "because of what he had done for my soul; and he equally loved her, because of her extraordinary piety, which led her to the performance of good works, and to fervent assiduity in frequenting the Church. Hence, when he saw me, he would frequently break out in her praise, and congratulate me on having such a mother (Ibid. liv vi. cap. ii)." The hour of grace came at last. The light of Faith dawned upon Augustine, and he began to think of enrolling himself a member of the Christian Church; but the pleasures of the world, in which he had so long indulged, held him back from receiving the holy sacrament of Baptism. Monica's prayers and tears won for him the grace to break this last tie. He yielded, and became a Christian.

But God would have this work of His divine mercy a perfect one. Augustine, once converted, was not satisfied with professing the true Faith; he aspired to the sublime virtue of continency. A soul, favored as his then was, could find no further pleasure in anything that this world could offer him. Monica, who was anxious to guard her son against the dangers of a relapse into sin, had been preparing an honorable marriage for him: but Augustine came to her, one day, accompanied by his friend Alypius, and told her that he was resolved to aim at what was most perfect.

Let us listen to the Saint's account of this interview with his mother; it was immediately after he had been admonished by the voice from heaven: "We (Augustine and Alypius,) go at once to my mother's house. We tell her what had taken place she is full of joy. We tell her all the particulars; she is overpowered with feelings of delight and exultation. She blessed thee, O my God, Who canst do beyond what we ask or understand. She saw that Thou hadst done more for me, than she had asked of thee, with her many piteous and tearful sighs. * * * Thou hadst changed her mourning into joy, even beyond her wishes, yea, into a joy far dearer and chaster than she could ever have had in seeing me a father of children (Confessionum, liv. viii. cap. xii)." A few days after this, and, in the Church of Milan, a sublime spectacle was witnessed by Angels and men: Ambrose baptizing Augustine in Monica's presence.

The saintly mother had fulfilled her mission: her son was regenerated to truth and virtue, and she had given to the Church the greatest of her Doctors. The evening of her long and tried life was approaching, and she was soon to find eternal rest in the God, for Whose love she had toiled and suffered so much. The son and mother were at Ostia, waiting for the vessel that was to take them back to Africa. "I and she were alone," says Augustine, "and were standing near a window of our lodging, which commanded a view of the garden. We were having a most charming conversation. Forgetting the past, and stretching forward to the things beyond, we were talking about the future life of the saints, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it ascended into man's heart. * * * And whilst thus talking about it and longing for it, our hearts seemed to bound forward and reach it. We sighed, and left the first-fruits of our spirit there, and returned to the sound of our own voice. * * * Then, my mother said to me: 'My son! as far as I am concerned, there is nothing now that can give me pleasure in this life. I know not what I can do, or why I should be here, now that I have nothing to hope for in this world. There was one thing, for which I desired to live somewhat longer, and it was to see thee a Catholic Christian before my death. My God has granted me this, and more; for I see that thou hast despised earthly pleasures and become his servant. What do I here (Confessionum, liv. ix. cap. x)?'"

She had not long to wait for the divine invitation. She breathed forth her pure soul a few days after this interview, leaving an indelible impression upon the heart of her son, to the Church a name most dear and honoured, and to Christian mothers a perfect example of the purest and holiest maternal affection.

                              The life and virtues of St. Monica are thus briefly portrayed in today's Liturgy.

Monica was doubly Augustine's mother, inasmuch as she gave him both temporal and eternal life. Having lost her husband, whom she converted, in his old age, to Christ Jesus, she spent her widowhood in holy con- tinency and works of mercy. Her prayers and tears were continually offered up to God for her son, who had fallen into the heresy of the Manicheans. She followed him to Milan, where she frequently exhorted him to visit Ambrose, the Bishop. He did so, and having learned the truth of the Catholic Faith, both by the public discourses of and by private conversations with Ambrose, he was baptised by him.

Having reached Ostia on their return home to Africa, Monica was taken ill of a fever. During her sickness, she one day lost her consciousness; and having returned to herself, she said: " Where was I?" Then looking at her children, she said: "Bury your mother here. All I ask of you, is that you remember me at the altar of the Lord." The holy woman yielded up her soul to God on the ninth day. Her body was buried there, in the Church of Saint Aurea: but was afterwards translated to Rome, during the Pontificate of Martin the Fifth, and was buried with much honour in the Church of Saint Augustine.


Prayers to Saint Monica

The Litany of the Three Patrons:

For private use only.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
God the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Mary, our Mother, and Mother of Jesus,
Pray for us.*
Mary, our Mother of Consolation,*
Mary, the source of our hope,*
Mary, the refuge of sinners,*
Mary, the guiding star of our lives,*
Mary, source of strength in our weakness,*
Mary, source of light in our darkness,*
Mary, source of consolation in our sorrows,*
Mary, source of victory in our temptations,*
Mary, who leadest us to Jesus,*
Mary, who keepest us with Jesus,*
Mary, who redeemest us through Jesus,*
Mary, Mother of Consolation, our Patroness,*

Saint Augustine, triumph of Divine grace,*
St. Augustine, so faithful to grace,*
St. Augustine, glowing with pure love of God,*
St. Augustine, filled with zeal for God's glory,*
St. Augustine, bright star in the firmament of the Church,*
St. Augustine, so great and so humble,*
St. Augustine, dauntless defender of the Faith,*
St. Augustine, vanquisher of heresy,*
St. Augustine, prince of Bishops and Doctors,*
St. Augustine, our Father (and Founder),*
(St. Augustine, glorious Patron of the Confraternity),*

Saint Monica, devout mother of St. Augustine,*
St. Monica, whose prayers won Augustine from sin,*
St. Monica, whose prayers gave Augustine to God,*
St. Monica, pattern for wives,*
St. Monica, model of mothers, and mother of Saints,*
St. Monica, exemplar of widows,*
St. Monica, devoted to prayer,*
St. Monica, so patient in trials,*
St. Monica, so resigned in sorrow,*
St. Monica, so happy in death,*
St. Monica, devoted child of Mary, Mother of Consolation,*
(St. Monica, our Patroness in the Confraternity),*

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of Consolation:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Pray for us, O holy Father, Saint Augustine:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother, Monica:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies, and God of all consolations: grant propitiously to Thy servants that, joyfully venerating Thy most pure Mother Mary, as Our Lady of Consolation, (and wearing in her honor the holy Cincture,) we may be consoled by her in our sorrows, and fortified in our trials through life, and dying, may merit the ineffable consolations of heaven for eternity. Amen.

Mother of Love, Mother of Sorrows and Mercy, pray for us.

(Indulgence of 300 days)

The Tearful Prayers of St. Monica

We ought not to be discouraged if our prayers are not immediately granted. For many long years St. Monica prayed for her son's conversion, yet despite her tears and supplications he only fell deeper into sin. One day she went to a bishop and told him her grief. The bishop bade her not be disheartened, since it was impossible that the child of so many tears and prayers should be lost. His words came true; Augustine was converted and became a great saint. For eighteen years his mother ceased not to pray for him.

Augustine's Voyage Was Not Prevented

God often does not grant our prayers because what we ask would be hurtful to us. St. Monica, the mother of the great St. Augustine, for many years prayed for her son's conversion without receiving an answer to her petition. Presently Augustine, who was professor of rhetoric in Carthage, informed her of his intention of going to Rome, in order to have a wider sphere of action. His mother, fearing that the great city would offer fresh dangers and temptations for her son, wept bitterly and endeavored to dissuade him from carrying out his project. She spent the whole of the next night in prayer, beseeching God to prevent him from embarking on the voyage; but, the next morning, to her grief, she heard that he had already set sail. Why, it may be asked, did almighty God not grant her prayer? Because Augustine's residence in Italy was to be for his spiritual profit; for in Milan he made the acquaintance of Bishop Ambrose, whose eloquent discourses had the effect of converting him. Later on Augustine himself said: "O Lord, Thou didst not at that time fulfill my mother's desire, in order to grant her that for which she had for so long a time besought Thee."

Prayer of Perseverance

Defend, we beseech Thee, O Lord, through the intercession of the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles, of St. Augustine and St. Monica, and of all the saints, this our society from all adversity, and graciously preserve it from the snares of the enemies: through our Lord, &c. Amen.

Let us pray:

Father of mercies, who by the doctrine of St. Augustine hast freed Thy Church from abominable heresies, and made him the father of immaculate saints, grant us grace to follow his precepts, and imitate his example with a faithful and persevering fidelity: through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer to St. Monica


The Sacred Heart of Jesus, comforter of the sorrowful and salvation of them that put their trust in Him, mercifully regarded thy tears, Blessed Monica, sainted mother of Augustine the sinner. His conversion and heroic sanctification were the fruit of thy prayers. From the heights of thy heavenly home, happy mother of thy saintly son, pray for those who wander afar from God, and add thy prayers to those of all mothers who sorrow over the straying souls of their sons or daughters. Pray for us, that following thy example and that of all God's children, we may at length enjoy the eternal vision of our Father in heaven. Amen.

Catholic Mother's Daily Prayer for the Children

O Mary, Immaculate Virgin and Sorrowful Mother,
commend our beloved children to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who refuses nothing to His Mother.

Holy Guardian Angels,
Pray for them.
St, Joseph, powerful patron,
Pray for them.
St. John, beloved disciple of the Heart of Jesus,
Pray for them.
St. Augustine,
Pray for them.
St. Anthony,
Pray for them.
St. Anne, mother of Mary,
Pray for them.
St. Monica
Pray for them.

(A Partial indulgence of 300 days may be gained)

Mary, please help me to be a good mother today and always.

Prayer for the Conversion of a Child To the Heart of Jesus

O Heart of Jesus, I humbly prostrate myself before You, adoring You as the Heart of my Lord and my God! Pardon the sins by which I have offended You and rendered myself unworthy of Your mercies. For Your own sake, O Lord, for the honor and glory of Your infinite mercy, have pity on me! Hearken to my supplications for grace and salvation for my strayed child. From all eternity You have loved it and borne it in Your Heart. Have mercy on it. You will that it should be converted and live. Effect in it what You have decreed. You can do all that You will! You do not will the perdition of my child. Draw him (her) from the deep abyss into which he (she) has sunk. From Your cross You drew all to Yourself--loosen the bonds in which he (she) lies chained. You have bought him (her) at a great price --take possession of Your property. He (she) was once dedicated to You in holy Baptism--let not Your enemies rejoice longer over him (her.) You have opened in Your Church a fountain of pardon and grace--lead him (her) to where he (she) may imbibe new life. O give me back the child that hell has torn from my embrace! You, O Heart of Jesus, can do this! Hearken to the prayers of Your Blessed Mother, of Your saints, and of all the elect for this my child, that once belonged to their society, but now is so far astray, Listen to my prayers, the prayers of a mother, O You Who cannot hear unmoved a mothers supplication for her child! Grant me what is dearest to me on earth, the salvation of my child, and I will eternally praise Your holy name! Amen.

Litany of St. Monica
(For private recitation only)

Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us!
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us!
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us!
God, the Holy Ghost,
have mercy on us!
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us!

Holy Mary, conceived without stain of original sin,
Prayer for us and for our children.*

Holy Mary, glorious Mother of Jesus Christ,
Prayer for us and for our children.*
St. Monica, Prayer for us and for our children.*
Model of wives, etc. *
You who converted your unbelieving husband,*
Mother of St. Augustine,*
Strict and prudent teacher, guardian angel of your son in all his ways,*
You who carefully watched over his conduct,*
You who were sorely distressed at his erring from the right,*
You who were untiring in your petitions for his soul's safety,*
You who still hoped on amid the bitterness of your heart and your floods of tears,*
You who were inundated with consolation upon his return to God,*
You who died calmly after faithfully fulfilling your maternal duties,*
You who are the prayerful intercessor of all mothers that pray and weep as you did,*

Preserve the innocence of our children,
We beseech you, St. Monica.**

Protect them against the deceits of evil men,**
Protect them from the dangers of bad example,**
Protect them from the snares of the spirits of hell,**
Watch over the movements of grace in their hearts,**
Let the Christian virtues strike deep root in their hearts and bear much fruit, **
Redouble your intercession for youth approaching manhood,**
Obtain for all in mortal sin true contrition and perfect conversion,**
Obtain for all mothers, steadily and perseveringly to fulfill their duties,**
Commend all mothers to the protection of the ever-blessed Virgin-Mother of our Lord,**
Incline favorably the heart of your beloved son Augustine to the salvation of our children,**

St. Augustine, holy son of a saintly mother,
pray for us and for our children.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord!

V. Pray for us, O holy St. Monica.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray

O God, You hearkened to the devout tears and importunities of St. Monica, and granted to her prayers the conversion of her husband and the penitential return of her holy son. Grant us the grace to implore You also with earnest zeal, so that we may obtain, as she did, the salvation of our own soul and of those belonging to us! Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O holy Monica, by your patience and prayers, you obtained from God the conversion of your husband and the grace to live in peace with him; obtain for us, we beseech you, the blessing of Almighty God, so that true harmony and confiding peace may reign also in our homes, and that all the members of our families may attain eternal life. Amen.

O holy Monica, by your burning tears and unceasing prayers, you saved your son from eternal damnation. Obtain for us the grace ever to comprehend what is most conducive to the salvation of our children, so that we may effectively restrain them from the way of sin and lead them by that of virtue and piety to heaven! Amen.

Prayer to St. Augustine for Your Children

O God, Who enlightened St. Augustine by Your grace, and inflamed him with Your love in the midst of the darkness and miseries of a life of sin, have mercy likewise on my poor soul and upon those of my children and relatives! Pardon our ingratitude, our disobedience, our want of reverence, our indifference, finally, all the offenses of which we have ever been guilty against Your holy name. We acknowledge that there is in this world no pain or punishment so severe as that which we deserve; therefore, full of dread of what is in store for us, we invoke the intercession of Your holy servant Augustine, so inflamed with love of You!

O holy penitent Augustine, seraph of divine love, unspeakable miracle of divine mercy, obtain for us from God a true, perfect, and heartfelt sorrow for our sins, a devout and constant love of God, a love that triumphs over all difficulties, temptations, and tribulations, a wise and unremitting fervor in the observances of the divine Commandments and the fulfillment of our duties! Assist us especially in the training of our children. Behold to how many dangers their virtue and innocence are exposed in the world! See how numerous are the snares and deceits prepared for the ruin of their souls by the flesh, and through the words and example of evil and worldly-minded men! If they do not receive extraordinary help, how can they withstand such allurements? O great St. Augustine, take them under your protection! To our efforts in their behalf, join your intercession for them with God. Exert all your influence and, with the compassion of your loving heart, intercede with the Most Holy Trinity for them.

Permit not that our children, sanctified in the waters of Baptism, should through mortal sin be banished from the presence of God and suffer eternal punishment. Preserve them from the greatest of all evils here below, namely, that of denying the love of Jesus Christ, through affection to some creature or the fear of some misfortune. No, O great St. Augustine! Rather let them and us, their parents, die in the grace of God, than live to offend Him mortally! This favor we implore through your intercession, O holy son of a sainted mother, you who gladly receive and graciously hear the prayers of a mother! I confidently hope that you have already heard my petitions, and that you will obtain for me a favorable answer from God! Amen.


Let us sing the praises of the great Father Augustine, and of his holy mother. Let us devoutly celebrate the loved solemnity of this day.

The blessed Monica was a virtuous mother, well instructed in the faith, edifying in her conduct, and dear to Christ. Her son was born of a pagan father: but she gave him a second birth, she brought him to the Catholic Faith.

O happy shower of tears, through which shone forth so bright a Light within the Church! Monica sowed in much weeping, but she reaped her fruit in joy.

She received more than she asked: Oh! how grand was the gladness that filled her soul, when she saw her son staunch in faith, yea and devoted, with his whole heart, to Christ!

She was called the Mother of the Poor, for she ministered to them in their necessities, and gave to Christ the food she gave to them. She took care of the sick, washed them, nursed them, and dressed their wounds.

O saintly matron, whose soul was pierced with compassion for the dear Wounds of her Crucified Lord! She wept for love when she thought upon them, and her tears bedewed the spot on which she prayed.

When she received the Bread of Heaven, she was raised from the ground, and, in her rapture, exclaimed with joy: "Let us fly to heaven above!"

O mother and matron! be to us thy children an advocate and patroness. That so, when we quit the flesh, we may be united to Augustine, thy son, in the joys of paradise. Amen.


O thou model of mothers! Christendom honors thee as one of the most perfect types of human nature regenerated by Christ. Previous to the Gospel, during those long ages when woman was kept in a state of abjection, a Mother's influence on her children was feeble and insignificant; her duties were generally limited to looking after their bodily well-being; and if some mothers of those times have handed their names down to posterity, it is only because they taught their sons to covet and win the passing glory of this world. But we have no instance, in pagan times, of a mother training her son to virtue, following him from city to city that she might help him in the struggle with error and the passions, and encourage him to rise after a fall; we do not meet with one who devoted herself to continual prayer and tears, with a view to obtain her son's return to truth and virtue. Christianity alone has revealed a mother's mission and power.

What forgetfulness of thyself, O Monica, in thine incessant endeavour to secure Augustine's salvation! After God, it is for him thou livest; and to live for thy son in such a way as this, is it not living for God, Who deigns to use thee as the instrument of His grace? What carest thou for Augustine's glory and success in this world, when thou thinkest of the eternal dangers to which he is exposed, and of his being eternally separated from God and thee?

There is no sacrifice or devotedness which thy maternal heart is not ready to make, in order to satisfy the divine justice; it has its rights, and thou art too generous not to satisfy them. Thou waitest patiently, day and night, for God's good time to come. The delay only makes thy prayer more earnest. Hoping against all hope, thou at length feelest, within thy heart, the humble but firm conviction, that the object of all these tears can never be lost. Moved with mercy towards thee, as he was for the sorrowing mother of Naim, He speaks with that voice, which nothing can withstand: "Young man! I say to thee, arise!" and He gives him to his mother (St. Luke, vii. 14, 15); He gives thee the dear one whose death thou hadst so bitterly bewailed, but from whom thou couldst not tear thyself.

What a recompense of thy maternal love is this! God is not satisfied with restoring thee Augustine full of life; from the very depths of error and sin, this son of thine rises, and, at once, to the highest virtue. Thy prayers were that he might become a Catholic, and break certain ties which were both a disgrace and danger to him; when lo! one single stroke of grace has raised him to the sublime state of the Evangelical Counsels. Thy work is more than done, O happy mother! Speed thee to heaven; where, till thy Augustine joins thee, thou art to gaze on the saintly life and works of this son, whose salvation is due to thee, and whose bright glory, even while he sojourns here below, sheds the sweetest halo over thy venerated name.

From the eternal home, where thou art now happy with this son of thine, who owes to thee his life both of earth and heaven, cast a loving look, O Monica, on the many Christian mothers, who are now fulfilling on earth the hard but noble mission which was once thine. Their children are also dead with the death of sin; and they would restore them to true life, by the power of their maternal love. After the Mother of Jesus, it is to thee that they turn, O Monica, thou whose prayers and tears were once so efficacious and so fruitful. Take their cause in hand; thy tender and devoted heart cannot fail to compassionate them in the anguish, which was once thine own. Keep up their courage; teach them to hope.

The conversion of these dear ones is to cost them many a sacrifice; get them the generosity and fortitude needed for their paying the price thus asked of them by God. Let them remember, that the conversion of a soul is a greater miracle than the raising a dead man to life; and that divine justice demands a compensation, which they, the mothers of these children, must be ready to make. This spirit of sacrifice will destroy that hidden egotism, which is but too frequently mingled with what seems to be affection of the purest kind. Let them ask themselves, if they would rejoice, as thou didst, O Monica, at finding that a vocation to the religious life were the result of the conversion they have so much at heart? If they are thus disinterested, let them not fear; their prayers and sufferings must be efficacious; sooner or later, the wished-for grace will descend upon the Prodigal, and he will return to God and his mother.

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