Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Valentine, pray for us. St. Monica, pray for me.

A patron saint is one who has been assigned by a venerable tradition, or chosen by election, as a special intercessor with God and the proper advocate of a particular cause and is honored with a special form of religious observance.  I was aware that St. Valentine is the patron saint of marriages, but I discovered this morning that St. Monica, mother of the great St. Augustine, is the patron saint of wives. 

St. Valentine also happens to be Mark's confirmation / patron saint he chose for himself upon receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation while he was in high school.  Everyone has heard of this saint because of the February holiday, but many may not know the actual story of St. Valentine's life or why he is a saint as declared by the Church.  According to Catholic Online, St. Valentine was martyred around 270 by the Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus because he continued to marry young couples even though Claudius forbade it. Apparently Claudius thought that married soldiers weren't as good as single soldiers. 

Almost all we know about St. Monica (~322 - 387) is from the writings of St. Augustine.  According to, "the circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism."

Married couples and wives are blessed to have these two fabulous holy people intercessing for us, if we ask them to.  I have personally found it inspiring to read the biographies of saints to learn from them as faulted human beings like myself as we stumble on the path to holiness.  It would do me well, therefore, to read more about St. Monica in being a loving, patient, gentle and prayerful wife.  Any good readings on her about which anyone knows?

We are all called to be saints, and I often pray for Mark and I to be given the grace to become the saints to which we were called to become.  I wonder which cause(s) we could be patron saints of one day?  If you could choose your cause(s), of what would you be the patron saint?  Deep question!  Reflection on it might help you to steer your direction or find your purpose in life.  Hmmm ...

St. Valentine, pray for us!  St. Monica, pray for me!

Valentine's Day 2010

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