Monica, St.

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Mother of St. augustine; b. Tagaste, Numidia c. 322; d. Ostia, fall 387. Alhough born of Christian parents, Monica married a pagan official, Patricius (d. 371, a convert); she bore at least three children: Navigius, a daughter Perpetua (not mentioned by St. Augustine), and Augustine, who paints an unforgettable picture of her in his Confessions. She followed Augustine's education and career with motherly pride, and despite an estrangement during his Manichaean period, followed him to Rome and Milan, tolerating his dissipation and attempting to arrange a good marriage for him. This was voided by his baptism and conversion to a celibate life. Monica died and was buried at Ostia on the eve of a return journey to Africa. In 1162 her bones were translated to an Augustinian monastery near Arras in France from whence her cult spread throughout the Church. Other relics, however, were brought from Ostia to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome in 1430. Recently a fragment of her sepulchral inscription came to light in Ostia. She is a patron of women's sodalities.

Feast: May 4.

Bibliography: a. trape, ed., Augustinus, Meine Mutter Monika (Munich 1998). e. clark, "Rewriting Early Christian History: Augustine's Representation of Monica," Portraits of Spiritual Authority (1999) 323. d. wright, "Monica's Baptism, Augustine's Deferred Baptism, and Patricius," Augustinian Studies 29 (1998) 117. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou (Paris 190553) 11.2:223256. l. andrÉdelastre, Sainte Monique (Lyon 1960). a. casamassa, "Ritrovamento di parte dell' elogio di S. Monica," Rendiconti della Pontificia Accademia Romana de Archeologia 27 (195254) 271273.

[j. geiger]