Saint Monica

few mothers have had as great a biographer as Saint Monica, but few sons have had as great a mother as Saint Augustine. In fact everything we know about Monica comes from her son and most of it in the context of his own biography. The odyssey of their lives was closely intertwined for over thirty years. Some have seen her intervention in Augustine’s life and her steadfastness as typical of a domineering mother, but Augustine in retrospect chronicles her heroic struggle to bring him not to herself but to Christ.

Monica was born a Christian at Thagaste, North Africa, around the year 331, the daughter of devout parents who educated her in the faith. Augustine gives only one incident from her youth, obviously relayed to him by Monica herself, of how she was in danger of becoming a wine bibber, but was corrected when her secret sips in the wine cellar were discovered and a maid, in a moment of anger, called her a “drunkard.” This stinging rebuke prompted her to change her behavior and develop perseverence. Perhaps this is why recovering alcoholics are among the many groups who intercede to Saint Monica.

bluemonicaiconHer marriage to Patricius, a pagan Roman official, does not appear to have been a particularly happy one, but it was peaceful and stable due mainly to the patience and prudence of Monica. Patricius was often a volatile man, and though he was often unfaithful to Monica, at heart he was a good father to Augustine and, with Monica, made many personal sacrifices to educate their promising son. This cooperative effort probably brought them together and we know that Patricius became a Christian before he died. When her circle of friends asked her how she lived with such an excitable man and not be battered, Monica replied that there were two things necessary for domestic peace: firstly, she recalled the matrimonial contract which they agreed to; secondly, she counseled silence when the husband was in a bad mood. Augustine adds that those women who took her advice found peace and better treatment from their husbands.

Monica had two other children, Navigius, who appears occasionally in Augustine’s writings, and a daughter, Perpetua, who became the superior of a convent of nuns. Augustine in the Confessions dwells more on his own inner experiences than on the factual data of his life. His preoccupation with his mother’s long concern for his spiritual rebirth is a natural because it plays an important role in his final turning to Christ in the year 386.

Monica was a woman of great inner resources buoyed up by a profound faith, but it did not go untested. She never abandoned the desire to see her talented but wayward son a Christian. For almost eighteen years this preoccupied much of her thinking and action. She had persuaded Patricius to have Augustine enrolled as a catechumen, but it seems that neither she nor her husband was overly concerned about baptism. She was rightly indignant, however, when Augustine was unfaithful to the catechumenate, having joined the Manicheans. She stoutly refused him entrance into her home, until after a dream where she was assured that one day Augustine would be a Christian.

Monica’s whole life, as well as her sanctification, “was inextricably bound up with Augustine’s, her faith, hope, and love were heroically tested and proved pure in the crucible of suffering.” One bishop told her that she should be consoled because the son of so many tears could not be lost to Christ. Such occasional consolations gave her new courage to press on. Augustine was strong-willed, stubborn, and not infrequently deceitful with his mother, Monica. It is understandable that Augustine at the age of twenty-nine did not relish having his mother accompany him to Rome, where he was to teach rhetoric. But one cannot excuse the deceitful way in which he escaped. He intimated that she should go back to the inn, because he wanted to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he sailed away. When this became known to Monica, she wept; she continued to pray for Augustine’s conversion. Later, she followed him and joined him in Milan, and it was here in 386, due in great part to Saint Ambrose’s preaching, that Augustine finally converted and was baptized in the spring of 387.

Monica knew here a double and unexpected joy. Not only did Augustine become a Christian but also he decided to devote his life to the service of God. The latter did not happen immediately, but the little group of Augustine and his friends, gathered at Cassiciacum in the fall of 386 with Monica as housemother, was a type of community that held an immense attraction for Augustine. At any rate, there Monica manifested a new and surprising facet of character.

Augstine and his friends were one day discussing what made for happiness in life (the dialogue is recorded in Augustine’s book The Happy Life). Monica happened to come in during the discussion and gave it focus, at the same time showing her own depths. The group had resolved that to be happy a person must have the things he desires. Monica made an important distinction: “If he wishes to possess good things, his is happy; if he desires evil things, no matter if he possesses them, he is wretched.” Augustine rightly told her that she was a masterful philosopher and compared her to Cicero himself.

monicaMonica did not live long after Augustine’s baptism. They had already decided to return to Africa. After a time in Ostia, near Rome, while waiting for passage to Africa, Augustine tells of the moving spiritual experience they shared as they sat at the window overlooking the garden. It was here that Monica expressed the profound peace she enjoyed and her conviction that her life’s task had been completed. Very shortly afterward, she fell ill with a fever. She died two days later and was buried at Ostia. Friends told Augustine that she would not grieve over dying and being buried in a foreign land, and she had added, with a touch of humor, that she was sure God would remember where she was buried and raise her up. She had previously told Augustine and his brother Navigius: “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” Such consummate trust in God’s providence was a characteristic virtue of this great fourth century lady. St. Monica’s remains are venerated in the church of St. Augustine, Rome, Italy.

Like all God’s saints Monica is a woman “for all seasons.” Her advice and her powerful example as a wife can be an inspiration and a model for domestic peace and stability. Monica’s eighteen years of caring and crying, coupled with continual prayer, speak eloquently of her perseverance and trust in God’s providence. Monica did not plead for a miracle; she prayed and sacrificed for the conversion of her son. Her prayers, disappointments, and tears were all means of drawing her closer to God. In her heroic efforts for her son’s conversion, she herself became a saint.

Her feast is celebrated on 27 August, the day before that of her son, Augustine.

Rotelle, John, Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press 2000.
The Vision of Ostia by Álvarez Sotomajor.

Become an Augustinian

Augustinians Currently in Formation

Those in Formation, California Chapter 2015

The young men above are in various stages of the formation process in the Province of St. Augustine – “The Augustinians in California.”

These are the Graduate Theology Augustinian Friars, and their Formation Friars living at the Augustinian Friary in Chicago, IL

Santa Monica's College 2014-2015

These are Augustinians from around the world who live in Rome, Italy, and study at St. Monica International College.

 


 

NickStPetersSmall

Bro. Nick Porter, OSA

Bro. Nick, 32, is a Southern California native who grew up in the Los Angeles area. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego he began a job as a software engineer. He enjoyed the creativity, the mathematics and the logic in programming that the work entailed. Yet it was not enough. Shortly after graduation, while he was still new in his job, Nick began discerning his vocation to the religious life, a four-year process that culminated in entering the Augustinian pre-novitiate program at the St. Rita House in September of 2010. In the fall of 2011 he began his Novitiate year at the in Racine, WI.

Read More about Bro. Nick Porter, ᴏsᴀ

 


 

Robert

Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA

Bro. Bobby, is from Batavia, NY, which is near Buffalo, NY. His family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, FL in the 1980’s. Robert speaks of being involved in church activities, social groups, and having a supporting family. After high school he studied hotel management for two years at Palm Beach State College and began a career working in many US cities and several foreign countries. This first career was pursued for approximately seventeen years. During that time Robert speaks of spiritual discoveries and a growing focus on God and where he felt God was calling him to grow.

Read More about Bro. Robert Baiocco, ᴏsᴀ

 


 

Max

Bro. Maxime Villenueve, OSA

Bro. Max, earned his Bachelor’s  Degree in Religious Studies at San Diego State University. While there I was very involved in the leadership of the SDSU Newman Center. After graduating he entered the Diocese of San Diego priestly formation program in a year of discernment. During that year he studied philosophy at the University of San Diego and was able to discern that he didn’t fit the independent model of diocesan life. He left the diocesan program and worked for two years as Director of Faith Formation at Blessed Sacrament Church in San Diego. During that time Fr. Mark Menegatti, OSA began inviting him to dinner at the Augustinian Friary at St. Augustine High School where “I felt the warmth and feeling at home of the friars in that community pulling me toward the Augustinians.”

Read More about Bro. Maxime Villenueve, ᴏsᴀ

 


 

Philip

Bro. Philip Yang, OSA

Bro. Philip, became acquainted with the Augustinians while studying graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago IL as a Maryknoll student. Becoming friends with Augustinian graduate theology students he felt a tug from the Holy Spirit to inquire about the Augustinian Villanova Province. During his novitiate year he felt another tug to request permission to enter the Province of St. Augustine in California, allowing him to live near his parents in the Los Angeles area.

Read More about Bro. Philip Yang, ᴏsᴀ

 


 

Bro. Dominic Smith, OSA

Bro. Dominic was born in San Diego, CA.  His family later moved to Riverside, CA. and then again to Lake Havasu, AZ., where he graduated high school. He went to Northern Arizona University where he studied Communications…

Read More about Bro. Dominic Smith, ᴏsᴀ

 

 

 

 

 


Bro. Adnan Ghani, OSA

Bro. Adnan grew up In the City of Gujrat (Lalamusa) Pakistan. After completing his high school studies from St Joseph Catholic School he joined, Our Lady Of Lourdes Minor Seminary Rawalpindi in 2002.

Read More about Bro. Adnan Ghani, ᴏsᴀ

 

 

 

 

 


Bro. Sarfraz Alam, ᴏsᴀ

Sarfraz was born into a Christian family in Pakistan who trace their Christian faith back to Saint Thomas.  St. Thomas, one of the original 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, brought the Christian faith to the Indian subcontinent.  Although majority-Muslim, Pakistan has a Christian minority of about one million.

Read More about Bro. Sarfraz Alam, ᴏsᴀ

Nick Porter OSA Renews Vows

 NickPorter2015

On July 27, 2015, Bro. Nick Porter OSA renewed his vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience for one year to the Very Rev. Kevin C. Mullins OSA in the presence of the friars of the St. Augustine Community in San Diego, CA. In the Fall, Nick will return to St. Monica community in Rome, Italy, to resume his theological studies.

OSA Saints

Canonized and Beatified Augustinians

Augustinian Mural at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church – Los Angeles, CA.

Blessed Stephen of Bellesini. O.S.A. St. Thomas of Villanova, O.S.A. St. Rita of Cascia, O.S.A. St. Monica Our Mother of Good Counsel St. Augustine St. Clare of Montefalco, O.S.A. St. Nicholas of Tolentine, O.S.A. St. John Stone, O.S.A.

Click on a saint’s image to go to a biography of that saint. In order, left to right, they are:
Bl. Stephen Bellesini, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Rita of Cascia,
St. Monica, Our Mother of Good Counsel, St. Augustine,
St. Clare of Montefalco, St. Nicholas of Tolentine, and St. John Stone.

Art work created by Isabel Piczek (2008).

Click here for larger images of the mural

Parts of this text with graphics are from the Book of Augustinian Saints,
John Rotelle ᴏsᴀ, editor, Augustinian Press 2000.

Holy Augustinians of recent note:

John McKniff ᴏsᴀ

Bill Atkinson ᴏsᴀ

Augustinian Saints and Blesseds

NameStatusDetailsFeast Day
Fulgentius of RuspeSaintBishop (462-527)01/03
Christine of S. Croce sull'ArnoBlessed01/04
Ugolino of Gualdo CattaneoBlessed(early 13th Century-1260)01/08
Veronica of BinascoBlessed(1445-1497)01/13
Christine of L'AquilaBlessed(1480-1543)01/18
Josephine Mary of Saint AgnesBlessed(1625-1694)01/23
Anthony of AmandolaBlessed(1355-1460)01/29
Stephen BellesiniBlessedPriest (1774-1840)02/03
Angelo FurciBlessed(1246-1327)02/06
Anselm PolancoBlessed(1881-1939)02/07
Christine of SpoletoBlessedAugustinian Laywoman02/13
Julia of CertaldoBlessedSecular (1319-1370)02/15
Simon of CasciaBlessedPriest (1295-1348)02/16
Jerome of RecanatiBlessed(d. 12 March 1350)03/12
Ugolino ZefferiniBlessed(1320-1367)03/22
Mariano de la Mata AparicioBlessed(1905-1983)04/05
Andrew of MonterealeBlessed(1397-1480)04/18
Simon of TodiBlessed(d. 1322)04/20
Helen of UdineBlessedAugustinian Laywoman (1396-1458)04/23
Our Mother of Good Counsel04/26
Marie Catherine of Saint AugustineBlessed(1632-1668)05/08
Our Lady of Grace05/08
Gregory CelliBlessed(1225-1343)05/11
William TirreyBlessedMartyr (1608-1654)05/12
Our Lady of Help05/13
Alypius of ThagasteSaintBishop (late 5th Century)05/16
Possidius of CalamaSaintBishop (late 5th Century)05/16
William of ToulouseBlessed(1297-1369)05/18
Augustine of TaranoBlessed(d.1390)05/19
Clement of OsimoBlessed(d. 1291)05/19
Rita of CasciaSaintReligious (1380-1456)05/22
James of ViterboBlessedBishop (1255-1307)06/04
John of SahagunSaintPriest (1430-1479)06/12
Philip of PiacenzaBlessed(d.1306)06/20
Peter of FriedhofenBlessed(1819-1860)06/23
Peter James of PesaroBlessed(d. 1496)06/25
John and Peter Bechetti of FabrianoBlessed(d. 13th Century)07/02
Magdalene AlbriciBlessedVirgin (1415-1465)07/17
Anthony della TorreBlessed(1427-1494)07/24
Lucy Bufalari of AmeliaBlessed(d. 1350)07/27
John of RietiBlessedReligious (1299-1316)08/02
Clare of the Cross of MontefalcoSaintVirgin (1268-1308)08/17
Ezekiel MorenoSaintBishop (1848-1906)08/19
The Martyrs of GafsaMartyrs08/26
Monica, Mother of AugustineSaint(331-385)08/27
AugustineSaintBishop and Doctor (354-430)08/28
Our Mother of Consolation09/04
Angelo Conti of FolinoBlessed(1256-1312)09/06
Nicholas of TolentineSaintPriest (1250-1305)09/10
Alonso de OrozcoSaintPriest (1500-1591)09/19
The Augustinian Martyrs of JapanMartyr(early 17th Century)09/28
Angelo Scarpetti of San SepolcroBlessed(mid-13th Century)10/03
Sante of CoriBlessedmid-14th Century-139210/05
Anthony PatriziBlessed(early 13th Century)10/09
Thomas of VillanovaSaintBishop and Patron of Studies in the Order (1486-1555)10/10
Elias del Socorro NievesBlessedPriest, Martyr (1882-1928)10/11
Maria Terese FasceBlessedreligious10/12
Gonzalo of LagosBlessedPriest (1360-1422)10/14
Magdalene of NagasakiSaintvirgin, martyr (1611-1634)10/20
William the HermitSaintReligious (12th Century)10/23
John the GoodBlessedReligious10/23
John StoneSaintMartyr ( - 1539)10/25
Peter of GubbioBlessed(d. 1306-1322)10/29
James of CerquetoBlessed(approx. 1284-1367)10/31
Gratia of KotorBlessedReligious (1438-1508)11/07
Frederick of RegensburgBlessedReligious ( - 1329)11/29
Martin of Saint Nicholas and Melchior of Saint AugustineBlessed12/11
Cherubin Testa of AviglianaBlessed12/16

Friars in Formation

Augustinians Currently in Formation

Those in Formation, California Chapter 2015
The young men above are in various stages of the formation process
in the Province of St. Augustine – “The Augustinians in California.”

St Augustine Friary, Chicago, IL 2014 - 2015
These are the Graduate Theology Augustinian Friars, and their
Formation Friars living at the Augustinian Friary in Chicago, IL

Santa Monica's College 2014-2015

These are Augustinians from around the world who live in
Rome, Italy, and study at St. Monica International College.

Bro. Carlos Medina OSA, 26, is a Solemnly Professed Augustinian. Carlos was born in Colombia, and immigrated to the United States with his family in form.novice.Carlos2000. He was led to discern religious life through his involvement in parish ministries at Saint Bonaventure Church in Concord, CA, and through his father’s persistent advise to dedicate his life to helping other people. Near the end of his second year of college he started attending a discernment group. He contacted Fr. Tom Whelan, OSA after reading a bulletin add from Queen of All Saints Church in Concord, CA. He attended a vocation retreat in San Diego and liked the fellowship and camaraderie he observed among the friars. This led him to seek admission into the Province of St. Augustine Pre-novitiate program in San Francisco, where he lived for one year while completing his bachelor’s degree, graduating with honors in philosophy from UC Berkeley. After his Novitiate year in Racine, WI Carlos professed his Simple Vows on July 31, 2010 and is studying graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL.

NickStPetersSmall
Bro. Nick Porter, OSA, 27, is a Southern California native who grew up in the Los Angeles area. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego he began a job as a software engineer. He enjoyed the creativity, the mathematics and the logic in programming that the work entailed. Yet it was not enough. Shortly after graduation, while he was still new in his job, Nick began discerning his vocation to the religious life, a four-year process that culminated in entering the Augustinian pre-novitiate program at the St. Rita House in September of 2010. In the fall of 2011 he began his Novitiate year at the in Racine, WI.

Read More about Bro. Nick Porter, OSA

 

 

Max
Bro. Maxime Villenueve, OSA, earned his Bachelor’s  Degree in Religious Studies at San Diego State University. While there I was very involved in the leadership of the SDSU Newman Center. After graduating he entered the Diocese of San Diego priestly formation program in a year of discernment. During that year he studied philosophy at the University of San Diego and was able to discern that he didn’t fit the independent model of diocesan life. He left the diocesan program and worked for two years as Director of Faith Formation at Blessed Sacrament Church in San Diego. During that time Fr. Mark Menegatti, OSA began inviting him to dinner at the Augustinian Friary at St. Augustine High School where “I felt the warmth and feeling at home of the friars in that community pulling me toward the Augustinians.”

Read More about Bro. Maxime Villenueve, OSA

 

Robert
Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA, is from Batavia, NY, which is near Buffalo, NY. His family moved to Palm Beach Gardens, FL in the 1980’s. Robert speaks of being involved in church activities, social groups, and having a supporting family. After high school he studied hotel management for two years at Palm Beach State College and began a career working in many US cities and several foreign countries. This first career was pursued for approximately seventeen years. During that time Robert speaks of spiritual discoveries and a growing focus on God and where he felt God was calling him to grow.

Read More about Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA

 

Philip
Bro. Philip Yang, OSA, became acquainted with the Augustinians while studying graduate theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago IL as a Maryknoll student. Becoming friends with Augustinian graduate theology students he felt a tug from the Holy Spirit to inquire about the Augustinian Villanova Province. During his novitiate year he felt another tug to request permission to enter the Province of St. Augustine in California, allowing him to live near his parents in the Los Angeles area.

Read More about Bro. Philip Yang, OSA