Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why I love St. Monica Even More This Year

I've always loved St. Augustine. It was on the Memorial of St. Augustine that Kevin and I got engaged, my first job out of college was at the Augustine Institute where Kevin attended graduate school, and my maiden name is a form of Augustine. But this year it is the Memorial of St. Monica that holds an extra special place in my heart. 

It all started with our trip to Rome for the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. It's not very often that your husband gets to go to Rome for work, and it's even less often that you are able to come with him. When the opportunity arose we knew we had to take it.

Around the time of this trip I was finally ready to lay to rest our secondary infertility struggles and Rome seemed to be the perfect place to let go of this intention with peace and trust that God would take it from there. In Rome there is a statue of Mary at the Basilica of Sant'Agostino (St. Augustine) that many couples have taken their infertility difficulties to and in prayer have asked Mary to intercede on their behalf for a child. Surrounding the statue are hundreds of medallions and pictures offered to Mary in thanksgiving for her intercession. While I took the intention of another child with me everywhere in Rome, I was particularly interested in entrusting it to Mary at Sant'Agostino.

The Statue of Our Lady in the Basilica of Sant'Agostino
On our first full day in Rome we had some time for pilgrimaging, so we headed to Sant'Agostino. After spending some time with Mary, we went to explore the rest of the Basilica and realized that tucked in the front was the tomb of St. Monica. I was eager to share my intention with St. Monica, who as a fellow mother would surely understand my request, but unfortunately (odd as it is to say) Mass had just begun and we were not allowed to go to her tomb. We prayed outside of the side chapel and vowed to come back again.

The next day we did manage to squeeze in some time to visit Sant'Agostino and successfully made it to the tomb of St. Monica where I laid down my request again and then popped over to Mary to reminder her to talk to Jesus about getting us another baby, as if she needed a reminder. 

A few days later while Kevin was in meetings, a fellow FOCUS wife was looking for someone to go show her how to get to Sant'Agostino. Having already gone twice I thought I had the route down, but it still took a few wrong turns to get there. So, for a third time I found myself before our Lady and St. Monica with my special request. At that point I figured I had it covered and secretly hoped we'd be coming home with more news from Rome than just the standard reports on how beautiful the churches are and the health of our Holy Father.

See if you can find us in the crowd!
Well, we came home with no such news and I was ready to live life assuming we would not be having any more biological children. Three months later, we found out we were expecting and due about one year after I made my triple request to Our Lady and St. Monica!

So St. Monica, here's to you on your Memorial Day, thank you for being a model of a mother and for understanding my prayer!

Be saints, it's worth it!


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