If you asked 13-year-old me why I picked Saint Monica to be my Confirmation saint, I would’ve said it was because her name is similar to mine. My full name is Ann Mary Monique (multiple names are standard for Filipinos), but I preferred to be called “Monique” because I already had a cousin named “Ana”, and the name Monique sounded cooler.
Saint Monica may have lived in the third century, but I’m certain a lot of moms can relate to her story. She was a Catholic mother who was married to a pagan. She made every attempt to raise her children with the Catholic faith, especially her son Augustine. The only problem was that Augustine spent his adolescence and young adulthood rebelling against his parents. He stopped going to church and embraced the trendy philosophies of his time to the point that he made his own patchwork of spiritual beliefs and philosophy, picking and choosing what he wanted and ignoring everything else.
It was through Monica’s constant prayers, and the mentorship of St. Ambrose, that Augustine finally started turning his life around. Eventually, he would become a great Catholic apologist, taking on the heresies and trendy philosophies that he used to embrace. As of now, Augustine is a Doctor of the Church. But none of that would’ve been possible without Monica’s unconditional love.
I credit Saint Monica for saving me from some really bad relationships. Like a lot of teenage girls, I was a sucker for the “bad boy” type. If I had gotten more serious with any of the guys I dated in high school or college, I might’ve ended up like her.
Saint Monica taught me prudence when it comes to approaching my relationships and with dating. I asked for her intercession during a speed dating event. While I had a lot of fun, it was also a strange learning experience. To my surprise, I was matched up with a few guys. After I started getting to know the guys I was matched up with, though, I realized that I was looking for something different from what my suitors were expecting. It’s not that none of my matches liked me after getting to know me. It’s that I realized that I was happier being single than I was at the idea of being in a relationship with any of them.
Many times, we want different things out of our relationships. It’s important that we know what we want before we seek out any kind of relationship. This is where the virtue of prudence comes in. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it...It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.” (CCC 1806)
What do you want out of a relationship? Do you see yourself being somebody’s future wife or do you want to take things slow and wait a year or two before getting married? And how are you handling the relationships you have now? Whatever the case may be, I feel like Saint Monica could be a great saint to ask for help when it comes to our relationships. She’s been a wife, a mother, and a widow, so she knows all the hardships that come with each of these roles.
I hope Saint Monica will help you as much as she helped me!
Reflect: Which aspect of Saint Monica’s life do you relate to the most?
Reflect: What’s your current approach on relationships? How do you think the virtue of prudence can help with relationship problems?
Act: If you have any kind of issue with your significant other or a family member, ask Saint Monica for her intercession.