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 Saints of the Season Fall 2017
Saint Monica (322-387) August 27
Saint Monica shows us how important it is to be persistent. By relying on prayer and the power of persuasion, she managed to make a saint of her brilliant but wayward son Augustine. At the same time, she became a saint herself.
Monica grew up a Christian in a Roman colony of North Africa in what is now the country of Algeria. Her husband probably was not a Christian. Both Monica and her husband were interested in the best possible education for their children, especially for the eldest child, Augustine. In addition to  nding the best teachers to pass on the wisdom of Greek and Roman philosophy, Monica made sure to enroll Augustine
in the study of Christianity so that he could be baptized. In Monica and Augustine’s day, baptism usually did not occur until a person was an adult. The trouble was that Augustine did not accept Christianity. He refused to be baptized and live as a Christian.
Monica wept and prayed. She pleaded with Augustine to change his ways. She and her son had many spirited discussions during which they argued about religion and Augustine’s refusal to accept the truth of Christianity. In his late twenties, Augustine decided to travel to Rome to open his own school. He didn’t tell Monica his plans because he was afraid she would discourage him or try to accompany him.
So Augustine made his getaway, but he was dissatis ed with Rome and traveled on to Milan, in northern Italy. There he went to the cathedral to listen to the preaching of Saint Ambrose, the archbishop of Milan, who was known for the way he used the learning of the Greeks and Romans to explain the logic of Christianity.
By this time, Monica had tracked Augustine to Milan. She moved in with him and the two called a truce. Gradually Augustine began to see the truth of Christianity, reformed his life, and was baptized. He and Monica decided to travel back to North Africa, but Monica got sick on the way. She felt that her most important work—the reform of Augustine—had been completed, and now she longed for the peace of Heaven. After Monica’s death, Augustine grieved because he realized all she had done for him.
On his return to North Africa, Augustine became the bishop of Hippo, an ancient city close to what is now Annaba, Algeria. In his writings he tackled such issues as original sin, divine grace, free will, and predestination. His exploration provided the basis of much of our Western thought on these topics.
Because of the persistence of his mother, Augustine became a saint and a Doctor of the Church. His works are still studied today.
         A Service of
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