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Known as the patron saint of abuse victims, wives, alcoholics, and widows, St. Monica was born in what is now Algeria in 322. She was raised Christian but married off to an ill-tempered, abusive pagan with whom she had three children. St. Augustine of Hippo was one of those children. She prayed for her husband to find God, which he did just before death in 370.

Monica was challenged greatly by Augustine. Her son was so difficult to convert she prayed for 17 years for him causing some priests to avoid her. She prevailed, though, with St. Ambrose, her spiritual father, baptizing Augustine in 387. Augustine went on to become one of the pillars of Christianity.

Death came to Monica in 387 while traveling from Ostia, near Rome, to North Africa. She was canonized by Pope Siricius and general acclaim in the late 390s. Her feast day is Aug. 27

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