Saint Monica

August 27
There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica…
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Take Wilshire Blvd west all the way to the Pacific Ocean, and just before you crash over the cliff above PCH, you will have run over a white statue that serenely overlooks the bay that bears her name.
Saint Monica statue, Santa Monica, CA

Monica of Hippo was born in Tagaste (present-day Algeria) around 332 AD. She is the mother of St. Augustine, who despite his blessed prefix, lived a life of debauchery and licentiousness almost up until his poor mother’s death.

After her husband died, Monica traveled from Africa to Rome to pay her son a visit.

There is no more pathetic story in the annals of the Saints than that of Monica pursuing her wayward son to Rome, whither he had gone by stealth; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine yield, after seventeen years of resistance.

The Catholic Encyclopedia

At age 33, Augustine converted to Christianity, renounced his sinful ways, and went on to become one of the most influential Christian philosophers of all time. Having fulfilled her greatest hope, Monica began a journey back home to Africa with Augustine. She died on the way, in the town of Ostis. She was in her mid-50s.

On Saint Monica’s Day in 1769, Spanish explorers encountered a Native American village right around the area of today’s Wilshire Blvd, and gave the name to a nearby spring. Or, as a more romantic story goes, the spring’s water reminded them of the tears she shed for her son.

Saint Monica's Statue from above
Saint Monica statue from above

Today in California, Monica’s image watches over wayward children, including those souls who wander just left of the City of Angeles.

(Monica’s feast day was May 4 up until 1969, when the Vatican decided she was more of a summer gal and changed her feast to August 27. St. Augustine’s Day is August 28.)

Santa Monica: A History

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