(Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo)
Patronage: alcoholics; housewives; against infidelity; married women; mothers
Name meaning: Advise
Monica was born in Tagaste, Africa. By her family’s arrangement, she married Patricius, a violent-tempered but generous pagan official. The marriage was made even more difficult by his mother, who lived with the couple. Monica had three children: Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua. She succeeded in converting her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith; Patricius died a year later in 370.
Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious life. Augustine, however, lived a dissolute life, causing Monica to pray fervently for him for 17 years. She begged the prayers of priests, some of whom tried to avoid her because of her persistence. Her dream was realized in 387, when Augustine was baptized a Christian by St. Ambrose in Italy. Later that same year, en route back to Africa, Monica died in the Italian port of Ostia. Her relics are in the church of St. Augustine in Rome. Monica is considered a model for Christian mothers.