Monday, August 26, 2013

Celebrating the Feasts of St. Monica + St. Augustine



Today's post celebrates two outstanding saints that are a mother + son pair. The first that we will celebrate is St. Monica (Feast : August 27) and then the following day, we will celebrate her rather famous son, St. Augustine (Feast: August 28). One of the things I love the most about these two saints is how much they show the importance of family and the passing on the Faith. Without St. Monica's fervent prayers for her son, we wouldn't have St. Augustine, a great saint and doctor of the Church. Without St. Augustine's writings, we wouldn't know anything about St. Monica, the mother who he loved much and attributed his conversion to.

St. Monica was born around the year 331 to Christian parents, and she lived in the region of Tagaste in North Africa (in present day Algeria). Married at an early age to a pagan, Patricius, Monica experienced a trying marriage. Until his dying day, Patricius denied God. However, the first example of her faithfulness and patience was on the day before her husband died when he accepted the Faith she clung so close to.

Her marriage union produced three children, the eldest of which Augustine. While the younger two brought their mother no extra worry, St. Augustine (born in 354) in his early life caused his mother no end of anxiety for the state of his soul. He was brilliant and passionate, but lazy and wayward. He kept a mistress, by which he had an illegitimate child, drank overmuch and was bawdy and rowdy, and to top it off, embraced the Manichaeism gnostic religion. Monica's strong will was put to the test as she prayed and wept over her son for 17 years (!), but her prayers held true. 

At the Easter Vigil in 387, Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in Milan. Monica experienced a cup that ran over as she witnessed this great event. Augustine left his wayward lifestyle and fully and passionately committed to the Church. In 391 he became a priest, and then 4 years later became the Bishop of Hippo. St. Augustine gave the Church many great writings, including his most famous: Confessions and City of God. (I have read Confessions, but City of God is still on my list).

And here you have a shortened version of the story of a mother who faithfully prayed her son into Christianity, and a son who once he saw Truth, threw his whole life into never-ending service. A beautiful story of love and persistence, and of a strong will put to fantastic use.


Saint Monica by Benozzo Gozzoli, 1464–65 Source: Wikipedia

We're excited to be celebrating these Feasts this week! Since I don't have enough ideas for two full days of celebration (and our calendar is booked for tomorrow night), we'll be putting together a Feast for Wednesday's dinner, and splitting the activities + crafts between the two days. I hope you can use some of these ideas to help celebrate these two great Saints!

Food

Here's our menu for Dinner. We'll be going all Algerian on you if you couldn't tell...

Algerian Chicken with Chickpeas + Couscous (from Catholic Culture)
Algerian Carrots (from All Recipes)
Algerian Flatbread (from Epicurious)
St. Augustine is the Patron Saint of Brewers, so the adults will be enjoying a craft brew with our meal.

St. Augustine's symbol is a flaming heart pierced by crossed arrows. We are going to try to combine this symbol with some sort of sweet treat!

If you're feeling creative and ready for a challenge, check out this superb Tears of St. Monica cake from Catholic Cuisine.


Crafts + Activities

First off, as a tribute to St. Monica, pray for the mothers and grandmothers (and greats!) in your life. You could even have your kiddos write a letter or make a piece of art!

In honor of St. Augustine and the power of confession and forgiveness in his life, for adults and older children, go to confession.

St. Augustine is the patron saint of Printers, so we'll be putting our painting and printing skills into full gear. Might as well since with warmer weather, paints can be done outside! Yay less mess.

Here is a pin from my board on Homeschooling Preschool with 52 ideas to get your brain startedHere's another great idea for printing with q-tips from Land of Nod's blog.


To Read





For older children and adults, a passage from one of St. Augustine's books could be read. Right now The Confessions of St. Augustine is free for the Kindle version, and City of God is only $0.99!

I'll be reading to my boys from Loyola Kids Book of  Saints (St. Monica) and Lives of the Saints: An Illustrated History for Children (St. Augustine).


Angelico, FraThe Conversion of St. Augustine (painting). Source: Wikipedia

And a prayer to St. Monica and my favorite quote from St. Augustine to wrap up this post:

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.

"For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee."

St. Augustine
Happy Feasts of St. Augustine + St. Monica, two faithful Christians with passion and perseverance! Enjoy the day however you're able to celebrate!
Sarah

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This post Celebrating the Feasts of St. Monica + St. Augustine first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 26 August 2013



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