Monica, St.

Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (painting from 1846)
Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica by Ary Scheffer (painting from 1846)

Saint Monica (alone?, to advise?) (332–387) – In Christian legend, patron of married women and mother of St. Augustine. Feast, 4 May. Her story is found in her son’s autobiography, The Confessions.

Although she was a Christian, her son Augustine was not brought up in the faith. She prayed continually for his conversion. One day she had a dream. Augustine writes,

“She saw herself standing on a certain wooden rule, and a bright youth advancing towards her, joyous and smiling on her, whilst she was grieving and bowed down with sorrow. But he having inquired of her the cause of her sorrow and daily weeping . . . and she answering that it was my perdition she was lamenting, he bade her rest contented, and told her to behold and see where she was, there was I also.”

Eventually the prayers of Monica were answered, and her son was converted. She died at Ostia on the way back to Africa with Augustine after they had been to Italy. In Christian art she is often portrayed with her son, wearing either a black or a gray habit of a nun.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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