The angel appears to Saint Monica


Pope Francis Recalls Feast of St. Monica

A Look at How Beloved Mother of St. Augustine Has Been Remembered by Pope, Pope Emeritus

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Pope Francis has recalled the feast day of Saint Monica, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Toward the conclusion of Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square in his remarks to Italian-speaking pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that today, August 27, is the feast day of St. Monica.

To the intercession of her and her son, Francis said, «We entrust newlyweds and Christian parents so that, like Monica, they will accompany the way of their children with their example and prayer.»

«We recommend comfort and constant attentions for the neediest sick as well as youth so that, like Augustine,» he continued, «they tend always to the fullness of Truth and of Love, which is Christ: He alone can satiate the profound needs of the human heart.»

Born in Tagaste, North Africa, in 322, Monica was raised in a Christian home. The young girl had a difficult life and was forced to marry an adulterous, abusive Roman pagan, with a bad temper. She suffered greatly and prayed for long years for the conversion of her family members. Her patience and kindness were said to have become a source of encouragement to other unhappy housewives. After Monica gave birth to three children, her husband would not allow them to be baptized.
Augustine, her oldest son, was the most wayward of her children and caused her great pain. After praying for his conversion for decades, some of her prayers were eventually answered. When Augustine moved away to Milan, his mother followed and became friends with Milan’s bishop, St. Ambrose, who had a key role in leading Augustine to convert to the Christian faith. Also, shortly before his death, Monica’s husband converted.  
Pope Benedict XVI remembered St. Monica on different occasions. For example, during his Angelus address to the crowds gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo on her feast day in 2006, Benedict said, «Monica, born in Tagaste, in present-day Algeria (in Souk-Arhas), of a Christian family, lived in an exemplary way her mission of wife and mother, helping her husband Patricius to discover, little by little, the beauty of faith in Christ and the strength of evangelical love, capable of overcoming evil with good.»

As Augustine himself would say later, Benedict stressed, his mother gave him birth twice; the second time required a long spiritual labor, made up of prayer and tears, but crowned in the end by the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive baptism, but also dedicate himself entirely to the service of Christ.

«How many difficulties there are also today in family relationships and how many mothers are anguished because their children choose mistaken ways!» Pope Benedict observed, noting, «Monica, a wise and solid woman in the faith, invites them not to be discouraged, but to persevere in their mission of wives and mothers, maintaining firm their confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer.»

St. Monica is patron of housewives, difficult marriages, alcoholism, mothers, widows, abuse victims, victims of adultery, and disappointing children.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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