4 May: Monnica!

In the older, traditional Roman calendar today is the feast of the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monnica, widow.

(Yes, you can spell her name “Monnica”, more consistent with her Punic origins.)

In the chapel of the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue I have a first-class relic of this marvelous woman.


In the post-Conciliar calendar, her feast was moved to be next to that of her son.

As she lay dying in Ostia near Rome, Monnica told Augustine (conf. 9):

“Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord’s altar, wherever you be.”

Read about St. Augustine

She was buried there in Ostia. Her body was later moved to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome across the street from where I lived for many years.

May she pray for us, for widows and for parents of children who have drifted from the Church.

Be sure to pray for the departed. Pray for them! Don’t just remember them. Don’t just think well of them. Don’t just, as the case may be, resent or be angry at them. Pray for them!

Prayer for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.



4 May: Monnica!
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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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10 Responses to 4 May: Monnica!

  1. Jeannie_C says:

    Today is also the day when the Roman Catholic Church in the U.K. remembers the 40 Martyrs and 242 recognized beati in England and Wales of the Reformation period.

  2. Long-Skirts says:

    Fr. Z said:
    “Prayer for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.”


    Five a.m. my coffee
    Rosary in my hands
    All upon my lap-desk
    My soul inhales expands.

    And then I spy the HOLY card
    Upon my desk it lay
    A relic token keepsake
    Memento for the day

    From those who’ve gone before us
    We hope decked out in grace
    And yet so often leave their cards
    Sometimes in strangest place.

    One side…their names and dates
    The other, Christ or Saint,
    Prayers to persevere for them
    Make sacrifice don’t faint.

    So when you spot such HOLY cards
    Behind it is a story,
    That you’ve been chosen, asked to help
    Free souls from Purgatory!

  3. Bea says:

    Loved that poem Long-Skirts.
    I guess even a few Hail Marys for them will help?
    My husband has many Masses said for them in commemoration.
    I only do random Hail Marys when they come to mind or run across their Holy Cards.
    Hope that helps them.

    Fr. Z:
    Brings back memories.
    My Husband, a son and I were so fortunate to visit that very church and prayed before her remains.
    We were escorted there by a most generous, priestly mutual friend: J. O’B

  4. Bea says:

    I have prayed FOR him and TO him.
    We need holy priests/bishops like him.
    May he intercede for the bishops of our country.

  5. Dustin and Jamie P. says:

    Happy Name Day to me!

  6. monmir says:

    Happy name day to me as well and birthday which I am celebrating today because it was actually on Ash Wednesday. I thought God was sending me a special message.

  7. StWinefride says:

    Father Z says: Be sure to pray for the departed. Pray for them!

    Capitals are better!


    Many years ago in Rome, I visited the Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio – very sobering, here’s an example:


    Brother Modestino of Pietrelcina once asked Padre Pio: “Father, what have you to say about the fires of Purgatory?” and Padre Pio answered: “If the Lord were to give permission to the soul to pass from that fire to the greatest fire on earth, it would be like passing from hot water to cool water”. (from “The Holy Souls” by Frate Alessio Parente, OFM Cap.).

    There is another passage in this same book which explains further why we have a duty to pray for the Holy Souls:

    Finally, it is our duty to pray for those who are in Purgatory owing to error on our part. We often think that a sin we commit in a hidden way, unknown to anybody else, has no effect on others. But this is not true. Every sin affects our character, our attitude to others, and life in general. So no sin is personal. What a responsibility this is! And yet who among us can say that he has never committed any act or pronounced any words which have led to the downfall of our brothers, spiritually speaking? You will probably say that it is not always easy to know these souls. This is of no importance! God knows who they are, and it is our duty to remember them in a special way every day, for it is perhaps partly owing to our errors that they find themselves in their present position.

    …..Because of the existence of the Communion of Saints, the Holy Souls in Purgatory form part of our large family. Therefore, our sufferings are theirs and vice versa. Their need of us is immense, given the extent and duration of their sufferings. They continually appeal to our charity. The means we have at our disposal to do this are enormous, so we must not forget them.”

    “The Holy Souls” by Frate Alessio Parente, OFM Cap. (Edizioni Padre Pio da Pietrelcina)

  8. Kypapist says:

    The great saving grace of Monnica is that she put God before her son. She admitted that her son was a sinner and that he needed to repent and change his ways. This is the great example which is so needed by parents today who defend their children and refuse to admit their behavior is sinful, going so far as to attack the Church and claim that the Church is teaching error. They really need to be called to account for this. St. Monnica, pray for us.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Not least in relation to Kypapist’s comment, I have read that this date for the feast of St. Monnica comes from the the calendar of the Austin Canons where it precedes the commemoration of the conversion of St. Augustine on 5 May.

    I have also just learned that St. Augustine refers to St. Monnica as “nostra mater” in his early work De Beata Vita, not just because his brothers also take part in the conversation on his birthday recorded there as well as St. Monnica, for of her he says, “cuius meriti credo esse omne quod vivo”. (I have not yet found an easily accessible complete translation of this work on line…)