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St. Monica (August 27)

St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine (whom the Church remembers on August 28), was born in Tagaste, North Africa, about 332. Married to a pagan, she had three children, two sons and a daughter. Because she recognized his extraordinary gifts, she tried to give Augustine the best education possible. Above all, she wanted him to use his gifts for God and the Catholic faith. Through her efforts, her husband Patricius was converted to Christianity in 370. He died one year later. Augustine disappointed her by choosing a life of pleasure, accepting the Manichaean heresy, and rejecting Christianity. Turning to God, Monica spent herself in earnest prayer for her wayward son. A priest whose advice she sought said to her, "It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish." 

 
Monica followed her son to Rome in 383 and then to Milan in 386. There she learned he was converted to Christianity. She joined him in preparing for his baptism by St. Ambrose on Easter, 387. As they were returning to Africa, Monica fell mortally ill at the seaport of Ostia. Augustine tells of her moving words of farewell before she died. "Son, nothing in this world now makes me happy. All my hopes have been fulfilled. All I wished to live for was that I might see you a Catholic and a child of Heaven. God has given me more: "I see you ready to give up everything and become His servant." She died in 387.

 

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