Monica was born in 322 into a Christian family in Tagaste, in North Africa. Her parents selected a husband for her, a pagan named Patricius, who was a bad-tempered man and unfaithful to her. To add insult to injury, his mother, who taunted her and told lies about her, lived with them. But Monica ignored the indignities they heaped on her, and practiced good works instead, giving to the poor and helping the sick while still caring for her family.
Monica and Patricius had three children. The eldest son, although a talented scholar, was a source of constant worry for Monica. She prayed constantly that he and her husband would someday join her in worship. Eventually, her faith and kindness were partially rewarded: her husband and his mother converted to Christianity.
But Monica's son seemed hopeless. He ran away from school, returned to the house and insulted Monica. She forced him out, but took him back after a voice told her, "your son is with you," which she thought meant with her in faith. Still, he strayed. He took a mistress, had a son, and ignored his mother's protests.
She sought the help of her local bishop, who encouraged her, AIt is not possible the son of so many tears should perish." Eventually, Monica turned to the Bishop Ambrose in Italy, who brought her son to God by appealing to his intelligence instead of his emotions.
Monica's goal came to pass, in ways she didn't foresee. Her son became so strongly drawn to the faith that he was eventually canonized B as St. Augustine, one of the Church's greatest teachers and philosophers.
who taught Monica to persevere
for the good of her family,
help me to be a better parent to my children.
Help me to have patience with them
when they misbehave
and give me strength
to guide them gently to the right path.
Permit me always to forgive their misdeeds
and keep me from speaking harshly
or punishing unwisely.
Please help me to be a beacon
of goodness for them
as they grow to adulthood
and to be a good example
to them in all that I say and do.
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