How many Mothers suffer excruciating pains spiritually, emotionally, morally and even physically for the simple reason that after having given their “all” to educate their children—especially in the moral and spiritual realm—they sadly contemplate these their dear “loved ones” distant from the church, doubting or even denying that God even exists or worse yet becoming an enemy to the church that earlier they seemed to cherish and love????

Not few and isolated cases, but rather multitudes of Moms have experienced this heart-rending suffering and separation that wrenches tears of anguish from their hearts!  A painful but all too evident reality across the board!

What to do in this case?  Never, never, never, should you lose hope, and much less despair!  What Jesus once responded to a hopeless case is—what is needed is trust! For men, much little can be done!  But not for God; all things are possible for those who place a limitless trust in God’s loving and always active Divine-Providence!
Who lived this patient and loving trust in God was the great SAINT MONICA, whose feast-day is August 27th and the following day is that of her son,  SAINT AUGUSTINE, August 28th—mother and son canonized and celebrated back to back!  What a profound message!  But one without the other would have never arrived at the altar!

Saint Monica had serious family problems.  Her marriage a real disaster, putting it mildly. Her pagan husband, Patricius, probably broke all of the commandments and not only once!  An unbaptized pagan, he had a terrible temper, as explosive as a dynamite stick with a short fuse.  Furthermore, he was a drunk. To make matters worse, Patricius was unfaithful, committing adultery against his wife Monica.  Not a pretty family picture to post in Facebook, nor your family album! Despite these enormous moral failures of her husband, Monica still loved her husband Patricius.
This was not the unique problem that Monica had to grapple with! Her adolescent son, Augustine, endowed with a brilliant mind, but weak in the flesh, gave into his lower desires and became a slave to lust.  Without formalizing any marriage commitment, Augustine lived with a concubine who eventually bore him a son, named “Adeodatus”—gift from God.  But for many years this chain that dragged him around—that of lust—caused him intense remorse of conscience.

Finally, Monica had a wagging-tongue, loose lipped, gossipy woman, known as her mother-in-law!

Talk about serious family problems!  Monica really hit the jack-pot!   A wild animal for a husband, a young son addicted to sex, and a mother in law spewing out offensive and damaging words at the drop of a hat!

Most women, undoubtedly, would most likely give in to despair—leaving their spouse, maybe even cursing their son, and gossiping vindictively against such a mother-in-law!  Not so for Monica, now known as SAINT MONICA!

In time, her husband, Patricius, was not only converted before he died, but he was also received into the Church through Baptism and the Sacraments! Much due to the person, prayer, and holiness as well as patience of Monica!

AUGUSTINE?  What ever happened to him? Already in his early-thirties, battling against the chain of lust that he really wanted to break and rent asunder, finally heard the voice of an angel in the garden to “Take and read”, which he did!  He opened up the Bible, to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, (Rom. 13:13), exhorting him to no longer give in to the flesh, but to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:13-14).  Shortly after this providential event, Augustine was baptized, received the sacraments and became a fledgling Catholic. Worthy of mention, Augustine received the sacraments at the hands of St. Ambrose, who Augustine admired as father and beacon of truth.

Finally, even the “gossipy” mother in law’s heart was converted so she could control her almost “uncontrollable tongue”!

  How did all of this happen?  What was Monica’s role in this triple “turn-about”, this triple conversion, this triple miracle of grace?   What did she do?  As future members of the  “Saint Monica Sodality” let us follow in the footsteps of our foundress!  

1.    TRUST IN GOD AND NOT IN SELF!  Monica did not nag or constantly rebuke her husband, Patricius! Useless!  Some of her women friends would fight with their husbands who were drunk and violent and would end up with black-eyes or something worse!  For her part, Monica would practice silence, pray for her husband, and suffer and offer her sufferings to the Lord!
2.    PRAYER!  Like the Parable of the insistent widow of the Gospel, Monica stormed heavenly constantly with her prayers, day and night!  Many mothers first decide to change their wayward sons/daughters by mere force of verbal coercion or nagging!  A futile effort!  Monica relied more on God than the best of her human efforts! For Monica it was “God-reliance” and not “Self-reliance”!

3.    TEARS! Monica wept a river of tears for the conversion of her family, but especially her wayward son Augustine. Indeed she lived out the Beatitude: “Blessed are those who weep, they will be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4)   Her tears were not  of futility, much less despair, but rather of deep sorrow due to her sons’ offending the Lord, but trust that the Lord, in His time and through the power of grace, would convert him.
4.    HUMILITY AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTION.  Monica decided that she would not keep her anguish to herself,  she decided to consult church authorities, among which was a famous and holy—better yet saintly Bishop, Saint Ambrose.  This great man of God and Doctor of the Church, moved by the tears of Monica, consoled her assuring her that a woman having shed such copious tears would be heard by the Lord!  The Lord saw her tears and had compassion on her broken heart!
Saint Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, who baptized Augustine
5.    PATIENCE!  In an incessantly “fast-pace” society, most of us want patent and quick results. Like the woman that prayed fervently and insistently to the Lord: “Lord, give me patience and RIGHT NOW!”  Many suffering mothers have embraced what might be termed“Micro-wave” spirituality! That is to say, a spirituality that wants it now, instantaneous, no-waiting, in the micro-wave for 45 second, cooked and done!  That is not the way the Lord works and Monica knew this. After a long 30 plus years her son Augustine was converted. This was primarily, of course, the work of God’s grace. However, Monica was the catalyst that brought down God’s grace!


As a summary as we initiate our new group or Sodality or Association, “The Saint Monica’s sodality”, let us recall the weapons that she used for the conversion of her family—her husband, her son and her mother-in-law!  She placed an unreserved reservoir of trust in God and His Divine Providence, then, prayer, fervent, faith-filled, frequent---fiery darts launched up to heaven piercing God’s loving heart.  Tears, but not crocodile tears of sentiment and despair, but tears of sorrow for sin and the sins of her loved –ones and humility and direction. No one is an island unto himself; we are in it together, all being part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Last but not least should exercised an infinite patience. Monica did not impose her “clock” and time-frame on God, but patiently waited for God’s time, which is always the “best time!”   Well, Mom’s time to enlist!  Sign up for “The Saint Monica’s Sodality”!