In my quiet time reading today, I spend a good bit of time pondering the life of St. Monica, whose feast we celebrate today. If you head over to her page at Saints.SQPN.com, you’ll find that she’s invoked as the patron of everything from alcoholism to “disappointing children”, and all varieties of unhappy marriage as well. But I think we moms can claim her as our patron in a special way, owing to the years she spent fervently praying for the conversions of her spouse (who doesn’t appear to have been a very nice man) and her son St. Augustine. In fact, I love this particular painting of St. Monica because it depicts the way she probably looked for many of her years. I feel that haggard quality in myself some mornings when I’ve been up for hours on end contemplating my own sons and their lives and adventures.
This morning, I caught part of my favorite Catholic radio show, The Catholics Next Door. I heard a portion of my good friend Jennifer Willits’ heartfelt testimonial about the years she spent separated from her faith and of her mother’s valiant prayers on her behalf. It’s hard to imagine that Jennifer, one of the nicest and holiest Catholic moms I know, could have been that much of a wild child. But the fact is, in her youth she wandered away from the gift of a faith her parents had instilled in her and chose a different path. Her mother faithfully prayed for Jennifer and was likely the most overjoyed person in the world when Jennifer ultimately made the choices she did to embrace Jesus and live a faith filled life.
Many moms know St. Monica’s heartaches as their children stray from what they have been taught, or reject it altogether. I don’t know what the future holds for my own sons, but I would hope to have even a tiny portion of St. Monica’s faith were I walking a mile in her shoes. We moms worry – it’s what we do. We can have the nicest, most wonderful children, and we will still find reasons to fret and obsess. But we need to remember that we are never alone in these concerns. We have a Blessed Mother to whom we can turn, as well as St. Monica who is the perfect intercessory friend on our behalf.
I love the following quote, attributed to the Patron Saint of Mothers:
Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled. – Saint Monica, about the conversion of Augustine
Let’s remember to follow her example in praying daily for our children and spouses, regardless of their station in life. And let’s also remember to hold one another up in prayer, in good times and in bad. If you feel lonely or desperate in your mothering vocation, I hope you will reach out to others for support and encouragement. If we can help you bear this load, please feel free to leave an anonymous comment below so that we can keep you in our prayers. St. Monica, Patron of Mothers, Pray for Us!