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Stained glass depiction of Saint Monica and her son, Saint AugustineBill Perry / Shutterstock

Have your mother prayed for by Fr. Altman in our Mother’s Day Spiritual Bouquet

(LifeSiteNews) — While St. Monica has been recognized as the patron saint of mothers for centuries, in our deeply fallen anti-family world, I would argue devotion to her has never been more important.

Born in the fourth century, St. Monica is best known for being the mother of St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church.

However, St. Monica’s path to forming one of the most prolific and impactful saints in the history of Holy Mother Church is perhaps one of the most relevant stories of hope for us living in a world rife with pagan-like debauchery and moral relativism.

For anyone who has read St. Augustine’s Confessions, it becomes clear that St. Monica’s life, particularly her life as mother of Augustine, was not easy.

Remaining faithful to Christ and His Church for her entire life, St. Monica was nonetheless married to an adulterous pagan, and had to endure watching her beloved son Augustine fall prey to the worldly temptations that have captured so many souls.

Despite her unhappy and reportedly tumultuous marriage — in addition to being the patroness of mothers, Monica is also the patroness of difficult marriages, victims of adultery, and the conversion of relatives — St. Monica remained steadfast in prayer, keeping the conversion of her son always present in her mind.

When Augustine, after a brief stint studying rhetoric in the ancient city of Carthage, announced at 17 that he had become a Manichaean — an adherent to the once-popular pagan religion of Manichaeism — it is said that St. Monica, beside herself with upset, fled to a bishop she knew for comfort.

Her grief over the perilous state of her son’s soul apparent to the bishop, it is said that she was comforted when she was told by him that it is “not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”

About these tears of his mother, Augustine writes to God in Confessions:

You put forth your hand from on high, and you drew my soul out of that pit of darkness, when before you my mother, your faithful servant, wept more for me than mothers weep over their children’s dead bodies. By that spirit of faith which she had from you, she saw my death, and you graciously heard her, O Lord. Graciously you hear her, and you did not despise her tears when they flowed down from her eyes and watered the earth beneath, in whatsoever place she prayed.

Despite his mother’s pleas, like the experience of so many of us, Augustine remained obstinate to grace, and persevered in all manner of sin.

Nonetheless, Monica’s hope in Christ never abated, and despair never found its way into her heart.

After 17 years of pleading, her prayers bore fruit when Augustine converted to Christianity.

Speaking about the role of his mother in his conversion, Augustine said she was not just a source of love for him, but “the source of his Christianity.”

As practicing Catholics in the modern world, while we may not be able to relate to the saintliness of Monica, we likely can relate to the pain of seeing unbelief in those we love.

How truer this must be for those of you who are mothers, especially in the world we occupy today.

This Mother’s Day, I implore all of us to ask for the intercession of St. Monica for our mothers, because where would we be without their prayers?

St. Monica, pray for us.

Have your mother prayed for by Fr. Altman in our Mother’s Day Spiritual Bouquet

Jack Bingham is an addiction recovery advocate and author turned Catholic journalist and writer. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Laurentian University and currently resides in Western Canada with his wife and children.