4 May – St. Monica: Intercessor for children who who have 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”, with two n’s 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 fine 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 Monica’s original Latin epitaph inscription was found in Ostia by some kids who wanted to play basketball.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. PostCatholic says:

    I always enjoy your thoughts on St Monica. I did a lot of reading about Manichaeism when working on my master’s degree, but only a bit about Augustine when working on my bachelor’s, and I promise myself that someday I’ll revisit St. Augustine with eyes open to how that religion influenced his thoughts. (I’m aware that has been done to death by academics but still, it could be interesting to make my own judgements.)

  2. adriennep says:

    What years did you live across the street from this wonderful church?

    We discovered it May 2010 on a pilgrimage. It was a joy to find Monica there and a special prayer for the Moms back home to touch our prayer cards to her tomb. Also their sculpture near the front of the Madonna del Parto (Our Lady of Childbirth) was a particular healing shrine for our group. Plus the surprising Caravaggio painting nearby of Madonna of Loreto. We went back on May 22 because of their special Mass for St. Rita (an Augustinian nun) where they handed out long stem roses for all and a huge statue of her likewise to touch. Only in Rome!

Comments are closed.