This is St. Monica, and today is her feast day!
She is most well known as mother to St. Augustine, one of the doctors of the church.
And she is a patron of all mothers, everywhere, as well as to wives – for good reason. Read more about her here.
As a mom, who is impatient and worries about her kids, at times losing sleep over them and the whole process of raising them….it helps me to remember her and her steadfast course on behalf of her husband and children, Augustine in particular. Monica was from North Africa, a tribal African woman, married to a Roman soldier. She was married to a difficult man, a nonchristian (who only tolerated her faith) and she prayed for him without ceasing. He experienced a deathbed conversion, surely due to her faithful prayers.
Her eldest boy, Augustine, was a wild and wayward kid. The kind of young man that makes mothers lose sleep and fret and fume. He left home, he was a wild party-er. Disregarding his mother’s typical advice, he met a girl (ok, many, he was quite the man about town), lived with her, got her pregant, fell in with a psuedo religious cult, an intellectual snob…all the top of the charts mom stressers. And so she prayed for her son, got tough on him when she had to, didn’t just let him drop out of her life even when he wished for her to….and she never quit on him. She was faithful. It was not fun or rewarding. She just did it with the grace of hope and faith.
And he ended up not only coming back to a good life, but converting to the church and eventually becoming a Doctor of the Church (meaning one of the few people who’s writings are recognized as foundational teachings – a big wig). So, wayward young man makes good, through no small faithful effort of his mom. Hence she is also the patron saint of patience!
In a way, I suppose in modern times she would be considered a helicopter parent, huh? However, then again, not. She was a mom, and she loved her husband even though he was hard to live with and her son despite his poor choices and she believed in them and her faith enough to persevere in prayer. And that, for me, is a role model – one of the best.
Because, really that is what we do, what we are called to do, what we get tired of doing, but what the whole mom gig is all about. So, she is a saint for moms, everywhere, and for me in particular. So, happy feast day!