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St. Monica

Saint Monica


Monica was born to Christian parents in what is now Algeria, around the year 333. As a young woman she overcame a temptation to alcoholism. Soon after, she was married off to a well-respected pagan official named Patricius. He was ill-tempered and adulterous, but always retained a certain regard for Monica, whose quiet patience and dignity were an example to other women in similarly painful situations. Most painfully, though, Monica was not allowed to have her children baptized, and her son Augustine in particular gave her much anguish. She was consoled by the conversion of her husband Patricius not long before his death, but the young Augustine had embraced many false teachings, including the Manichaean heresy, and even kept a concubine. Every night Monica prayed and wept for Augustine’s conversion, and she followed him when he travelled to Rome, then Milan. In Milan they met the bishop St. Ambrose, and through him Monica’s prayers were finally answered. She died not long after Ambrose baptized St. Augustine, in the year of Our Lord 387. Monica is a patroness of difficult marriages, alcoholics, and the conversion of relatives, especially wayward children.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for May 4th

AT Ostia, the birthday of St. Monica, mother of blessed Augustine, who has left us in the ninth book of his Confessions a beautiful sketch of her life.

At the metal mines of Phennes, in Palestine, the birthday of the blessed Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, who was crowned with martyrdom with many of his clerics by the command of Caesar Galerius Maximian, in the persecution of Diocletian.

Also, thirty-nine holy martyrs, who were beheaded together after having been condemned to work in the same mines, to be branded with a hot iron, and to undergo other torments.

At Jerusalem, in the reign of Julian the Apostate, St. Cyriacus, bishop, who was murdered as he was visiting the holy places.

In Umbria, St. Porphyry, martyr.

At Nicomedia, the birthday of St. Antonia, martyr, who, for the confession of Christ, was cruelly tortured, subjected to diverse torments, suspended by one arm for three days, kept two years in prison, and finally delivered to the flames by the governor Priscillian.

At Lorch, in Austria, under the emperor Diocletian and the governor Aquilinus, the martyr St. Florian, who was precipitated into the river Enns, with a stone tied to his neck.

At Tarsus, St. Pelagia, virgin, who endured martyrdom under Diocletian by being shut up within a red-hot brazen ox.

At Cologne, St. Paulinus, martyr.

At Milan, St. Venerius, bishop, whose virtues are attested by St. John Chrysostom in the epistle which he wrote to him.

In the province of Perigord, St. Sacerdos, bishop of Limoges.

At Hildesheim, in Saxony, St. Godard, bishop and confessor, ranked among the Saints by Innocent II.

At Auxerre, St. Curcodomus, deacon.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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