Thursday, May 04, 2006

A saint for Mother's Day

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The story of Monnica’s life is told in the biography of her eldest son, The Confessions of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. Born in Northern Africa in about 331, she married a man named Patricius, whom she won to the Christian faith before his death. Her ambition for her gifted son were turned into a passionate desire for his conversion as well. His immoral conduct for many years was the cross she bore. After her many fervent prayers and tears, Augustine had begun to change. He was first attracted to the austere life of Manichaeism. When he left her in Africa to go to Italy, she followed, and found him at Milan, where the preaching of Ambrose had convinced him to abandon the errors of that heresy.

Later, her Augustine son finally embraced the Christian faith and was baptized by Ambrose. Monnica was approaching the end of her life. Augustine lamented that she might die far from her homeland. But she told her two sons, “It does not matter where you bury my body. Do not let that worry you. All I ask is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord.”

O Lord, through spiritual discipline you strengthened your servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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