Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

September 1, 2009

Woman Warrior of the Month: St. Monica Part 3

She was trained 'in your fear' by the discipline of your Christ, by the government of your only Son in a believing household through a good member of your Church.

In his Confessions, St. Augustine gives some of the most beautiful portrayals of his mother, St. Monica -- this month's woman warrior. Augustine describes his mother as woman who was able to win people over because of her gentleness and patience, and her reputation as a peacemaker. We know that she endured an unfaithful, pagan husband -- who could be gentle or violent. She prayed for his conversion, and she gently shared the Word with him. On his deathbed, he was baptized. She endured the wayward life of her son, Augustine -- about whom St. Ambrose famously told her "A child of this many tears will never be lost."

One of the most beautiful passages of Monica is the account of her death in Ostia - the port city just outside of Rome (which the picture above depicts). While Monica was on her deathbed, she and her son had a conversation fit for these saintly souls. Their conversation about the after-life led them to "the conclusion that the pleasure of the bodily senses, however delightful in the radiant light of the physical world, is seen by comparison with the life of eternity to be not even worth considering." They contemplated together that eternal wisdom that is the Word itself. And when Augustine writes that he 'closed her eyes,' we know that that the Lord took her soul directly to His bosom.

Thank you, Lord for this wonderful woman. May you teach us how to emulate her virtues of perseverance in prayer, patience, gentleness, and the ability to endure the crosses we are given in this life. St. Monica, pray for us!

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