The Impact of Monica in Augustine’s Life and Conversion

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA ・1 Sources

Augustine chronicled his conversion journey in a highly personal and passionate manner. For centuries, readers have read the wonderful confessions. Unfortunately, the personal nature of these writings, as well as their passion, remain barriers to comprehension. His words are difficult to comprehend for undergraduate students. Augustine penned a lengthy prayer to the Almighty. Many passages refer to places and times that are unfamiliar to today's students. This paper aims to address these concerns. His Catholic mother played an important role in his success. St. Monica prayed for a better life for her children. She lived in what is now Algeria. Her husband was a savage druid. Perpetua, Navigius, and Augustine were the names of their three children. Perpetua and Navigius were straight forward.

The Influence of Monica in Augustine’s Life

Augustine lived a different life. His companions introduced him to promiscuity in the teenage years. At an early age, he had a mistress in Carthage. Monica always condemned his actions and this brought differences between them. Augustine once said that his mother’s faith was affecting their relationship. Both of them would have no issues if Monica dropped her faith. Monica arrived at a point of desperation and even consulted a bishop. He told her to remain patient. He told her that her son would take long before accepting her faith. Monica decided to stay close to her son. The lady fasted and prayed for the conversion of her son. At the age of 29, Augustine started teaching rhetoric in Rome. Monica followed him there. A bishop in Milan could have brought Augustine closer to God. God finally answered the prayers of Monica. Augustine developed an interest in teachings of the New Testament. He was undecided on whether he should become baptized. His soul wanted to convert, but his body kept on resisting. The readings of Rom 13:13-14 guided him to make a decision. He decided to resist pleasures of the flesh. In his confessions, he told his mother that her long struggle had come to an end. Through his mother’s prayers and guidance, he was able to become a priest at 41 years. Augustine was a prolific writer. He mainly wrote writings in the catechism. All this happened because of his mother’s patience and persistent prayers. (Augustine 90)
The writings of Paul in Rom 11:29-32 reflect Augustine’s life as that of change. Monica had the character of the Canaanite lady in the gospel. Her prayers were denied three times. Just like the woman, Monica’s prayers were not answered for 20 years. At the right time, her persistent prayers were answered when Augustine Converted. Some people ask why her prayers were not answered quickly. Why did she have to go through much agony for a long time? The question has no concrete answer. Human suffering can be termed as a mystery. No one has distinct responses to it. Believers say that their creator tests their faith through trials. Monica matured and gained strength in the twenty years. If God had answered her prayers immediately, she would not have become a finer person. People are advised to endure trials. (Augustine 133)
St Augustine is an excellent doctor. St Monica is a mother figure in the church. Augustine could not have influenced people without the intervention of his mother. The lady did more than giving birth to him. Her perseverance did not only convert her son but also made him the best leader in the early church. Despite being married to a pagan of high temper, she remained patient and obedient. Monica applied the Christian principles she had learned from her parents. The lady followed an example of gentle conduct. Augustine was influenced by his mother’s character to convert to Christianity. The young man (i.e. Augustine) was only 17 years of age when his dad succumbed to illness. The young teenager underwent a moral and intellectual crisis. Monica was severely distressed when she learned that he had joined a cult. His mother fiercely prayed for him to realize that he had made the wrong decision. (Augustine)
St Augustine began to doubt the doctrine of Manichean teachings and that is why he decided to teach rhetoric. Following their story, readers can realize how people become saints. Monica would not be a saint if she never bore a wayward son. The church refers to her as a saint because of perseverance and trust in God. Many individuals have become better Christians because they were once concerned about someone close to them. Such circumstances act as a channel for people to become spiritual. From her experience, believers know that their misfortunes do not mean that God has deserted them. God allows downfalls and failures because he can also convert evil to good. Augustine had a significant role in Christianity. God allows his providence in trials. If there were no Monica, there would be no Augustine, and this means that many people would have gone to hell. Sad situations give a believer reasons to hope. God allows some cases to draw people closer to him.
A few other people had influence in the life of Augustine. Alypius was one of the closest friends of Augustine. He was born in a leading family. Alypius was Augustine’s student. He arrived in Rome earlier. The two of them met later in Milan. Augustine embraces Alypius’s decision to remain single. Alypius followed Augustine when he joined Manichaeism. He also converted to Christianity when Augustine converted. Both of them became baptized together. Alypius appears in several confessions of the saint. Just like Monica, he supported Augustine. Augustine lived with his mistress for more than 14 years. Bothe of them had a son named Adeodarus. When Monica came to Milan, she insisted on sending Augustine’s concubine away. Monica wanted her son to marry a woman who would help him advance his career. The lady moved back to Africa. She never got married to another man. Augustine confesses that they had mutual love. Separation must have affected him. Augustine writes that his son had a talent which amazed him. He wished that the young man could surpass him. (Augustine 150)
Another guy named Ambrose was influential in Augustine’s conversion. Ambrose was a bishop in Milan. Augustine was amazed by Ambrose’s sermons. The bishop was eloquent and also convincing. He was instrumental in defending the Old Testament. Ambrose welcomed Augustine as a son. The bishop was generous and kind to him. It was Ambrose who baptized Augustine. Valorius, an old bishop, recognized Augustine when he converted. Valerius was in the meeting where force ordained Augustine. Augustine became nurtured by Vilarius. Possidius was among the best followers of Augustine. Possidius became a priest in Calama. The priest made sure that writings of Augustine became saved. He wrote a Biography of this saint. Possidius referred to Augustine as a friend because of his efforts. Augustine’s and Monica’s work is known to modern day Christians. Another significant contributor to Augustine’s success is Jerome. In his Confessions, Augustine referred to Jerome as a learned man. (Augustine 155)


Among his friends and Family, Monica had an enormous contribution to his success. From the whole experience, she learned the importance of perseverance and trust in God.

Works Cited

Augustine. The Confessions. Ed. Henry Chadwick. Oxford University Press, 2008.

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