Saturday, 27 August 2011

Don't raise your glass to St Monica!

Patron of alcoholics, addicts and wayward children

Today is the feastday of St Monica and, as patron saints go, she must be in great demand these days as, among her many attributes, she is the Patron of alcoholics. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to suffer from an addiction to alcohol; pure hell, I guess, so please, say a prayer today for all who are afflicted in this manner but do not raise a glass to this worthy saint.

In fact, she was one herself which makes her patronage all the more poignant. In addition she was married to a foul tempered pagan by the name of Patricius (not the Porta Caeli Patricius - ha, ha! I am sure he is a most even tempered chap). That marriage would have driven anyone to drink but, on top of that she had a wayward, carousing womanising son, St Augustine no less!

Her infinite patience finally won over Patricius and he was received into the Faith and died not long after.  It was then that Monica dedicated her life to God and, in her charity, looked after the poor and the wayward.

She was very obviously, a woman of considerable inner strength as she refused Augustine entry to the family home after he had taken up with a dubious bunch of Manicheans whilst studying in Carthage.
Undeterred, as with so many children, Augustine resumed his debauched lifestyle in Carthage but Monica, like all good mothers, never stopped praying for his conversion. For 17 long and arduous years she prayed and followed him around Italy until he met with St Ambrose who had a profound effect on the 33 year old delinquent.

Little by little, she edged her son back towards the light until the day came when he announced that he was newly converted.

A lesson there for all parents whose children have apostasized!

On Holy Saturday 387 AD Augustine was baptised by St Ambrose himself and Monica became Ambrose's faithful follower.

Within four years she announced to Augustine:

"What I am still to do, or why I still linger in this world, I do not know. There was one reason, one alone, for which I wish to tarry a little longer: that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I die. God has granted me this boon, and more, for I see you his servant, spurning all earthly happiness. What is left for me to do in this life?"
She died about two weeks later at the age of 56, Augustine was then 33.
Her relics are enshrined at St Augustine's Church, Rome near the Piazza Navona.

Here is St Monica's prayer on behalf of alcoholics......

Blessed Lord, Saint Monica was the mother of Saint Augustine and for many years prayed, cried, and did penances for her son. As a result, he became a Doctor of the Church and one of Her greatest theologians. She is the patron saint of alcoholics and other addictions, and children who disappoint their parents, so I ask her to pray for all those I know who are taking a long time finding a true relationship with You, especially those trapped by addictions. I also ask her to pray for all parents. Lord, give them signs of hope. And I offer up my sufferings as penances on behalf of those who most need Your forgiveness.
Saint Monica, pray for us. Amen.

And here is her prayer for wayward children who have lost the faith......

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine,
you perseveringly pursued your wayward son
not with wild threats
but with prayerful cries to heaven.
Intercede for all mothers in our day
so that they may learn to draw their children to God.
Teach them how to remain close to their children,
even the prodigal sons and daughters
who have sadly gone astray.



  1. Brilliant post Richard, God bless you. I'm gonna link!

  2. Linking and tweeting.

    Thank you, and God bless!

  3. Tweeted! Say, Richard, do you have a Twitter account?

  4. Tony, thank you for your kind comments. No, I have avoided Twitter but I'll give it a go. Watch this space.
    God bless.