4 May – St Monica: intercessor for children fallen away from the Faith

In the older, traditional Roman calendar today is the feast of the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monnica, widow.  She died in Ostia (Rome’s port) in 387, when she and her family were heading back to North Africa after Augustine’s conversion and baptism by St. Ambrose.  She caught a fever during a blockade of the port.

Yes, you can spell her name “Monnica” which is consistent with her Punic origins.

I have a first-class relic of this marvelous woman as well as one of her son, Augustine and also of Ambrose.


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.”

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.

Also, I’ll remind you of a newish book on Augustine:

REVIEW: The book on Augustine which Pope Benedict would have wanted to write.

Also, if you want a really interesting book on the Doctor of Grace, check out Serge Lancel‘s volume.


BTW… read about how the original epitaph inscription was found by some kids.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Liz says:

    That’s lovely, Father. Would you pray for us, and our loved ones with those relics, especially hers today? Thank you! God bless you!

  2. jsommer says:

    Thank you for the book suggestions, I found a copy of Hollingworth’s book and ordered it this morning. Have read several books about St. Augustine and this sounds very interesting, looking forward to reading it.
    Have you read Augustine Conversions to Confessions by historian Robin Lane Fox, I found it very interesting?

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  4. Gerhard says:

    Wholly endorse this!! When praying the Dolours of our Blessed Mother (the daily praying thereof having the promise attached to it that Our Lady Herself will appear before his death to him who does so, and thus comes *Highly Recommended* for all those who love Our Lady and can’t wait to see Her and be in Her company), the 3rd Dolour (the loss of Our Lord in Jerusalem) is particularly apt for praying for children who have gone astray (a most dolorous suffering), and the 7th Dolour (the laying of Our Lord in the tomb) is fitting for praying for deceased family, our deceased Priests and all those deceased who we ought and/or wish to pray for. On the same topic (of daily devotions), instead of getting discombobulated by “tinkered with” prayers such as the Pater Noster (esp. in French or Italian) and litanies, such discombobulation inspiring the initial reaction of simply giving up because (terribile dictu – how many times have I heard this?!) one knows not whether one is doing it ‘right’, or one can’t remember which is right and which is wrong, how about the faithful being encouraged to discover solid Doctors: St Alphonsus de Liguori (the Doctor of Prayer – see, e.g. the very accessible “The True Spouse”) and/or St Francis de Sales (the Doctor of Charity – see e.g. the equally accessible “Introduction to the Devout Life”)? It’s all there *waiting* for you!

  5. adriennep says:

    As converts, this was our favorite church in Rome, if only because on our first pilgrimage we were able to pray intensely in front of her tomb for all our friends with fallen away family, and bring them back a prayer card from there touched to her tomb. We then went back on May 22 because they held a beautiful special Mass for St. Rita there, everyone with long-stem rose in hand. To live in Rome, you can only imagine being able to “live” in just one of their 900 churches, there is a world going on in each one.

  6. adriennep says:

    Also therein, along with works by Rafael and Carvaggio, is by the front door a lovely statue of Madonna del Parto, Our Lady of Safe Delivery. Many have had miraculous prayers answered here.

    So many churches of Rome, so little time.

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