St. Monica was born into a Christian family in Tagaste, Algeria, across the Mediterranean Sea from Rome, in 332 AD. She married a pagan, a minor Roman government official named Patricius. Christians were few and far between in those days. The marriage was blessed with three children, the oldest and most famous was Augustine.
Patricius was not a model husband yet Monica prayed ceaselessly for his conversion. Her sweet piety, patience, and persistence paid off. One day, Patricius accepted baptism but he died a year after.
Her son Augustine was a constant concern for Monica. Brilliant and likable, Augustine followed the example of his father. He refused to accept baptism and lived a passionate life with his mistress. For years Monica prayed, fasted, and cried silently for Augustine.
God was listening. He heard and finally answered these prayers of this faithful mother. Augustine, abandoning his sinful ways, accepted baptism from St. Ambrose of Milan, on Easter Sunday, 387 AD.
St. Monica is the patroness of troubled parents, battered wives, despondent mothers, widows, and alcoholics. Her feast is celebrated on August 27.