A praying mother

St Monica is the patron saint of abuse victims, alcoholics, wives and difficult marriages. She was the mother of St Augustine of Hippo and is most renowned for her constant prayers for his conversion to Christianity.

Monica was born in 333 in Tagaste, North Africa, 40 miles from the port city of Hippo. She was married to a pagan named Patricius with whom she had two sons, Augustine and Navigius, and one daughter named Perpetua. Patricius was violent and refused to allow Monica to baptise her children.

Grief and good advice

Throughout her life St Monica prayed constantly for the conversion of her husband, and one year before his death – after 30 years of her prayer – he converted to Christianity.

When Patricius died, Augustine was 17 and highly intelligent. St Monica sent her son to school in Carthage where he became a Manichaean, a major pagan religion at the time. When Augustine told Monica she was heartbroken and sent him away. She then famously visited a bishop for advice, who told her: “The child of those tears shall never perish.”

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