A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

St Monica (c332-387). Lutheran Commemoration and Eastern Orthodox and Catholic, American Evangelical Lutheran, USA Episcopal Churches Feast Day for Numidian Berber early African mother of St Augustine of Hippo. She is remembered and honoured for her outstanding Christian virtues, particularly her suffering as a result of her pagan husband’s adultery, and her prayerful life dedicated to the reformation of her son. Monica died in Ostia and Augustine’s grief inspired his book Confessions, which recorded her pious life. Buried at Ostia and almost forgotten, her body was taken during the 6th Century to a hidden crypt in the church of Santa Aurea in Ostia and placed near to the tomb of St Aurea of Ostia. During the 13th Century, the cult of St Monica had begun to spread and a feast in her honour was kept on 4 May. In 1430, her remains were transferred to Rome and many miracles are said to have occurred on the way, the cultus of St Monica being definitely established. Later, the Basilica di Sant’Agostino was built in honour of St Augustine and the relics of his mother were deposited in a chapel by the high altar, the Office of St Monica finding a place in the Roman Breviary in the 19th Century. In Utrecht in 1934, the Zusters Augustinessen van Sint-Monica (Augustinian Sisters of Saint Monica) order was founded, doing social work and offering a shelter for women with unwanted pregnancies or women who were the victims of domestic violence or abuse. The Sisters also started a number of primary schools and had 6 convents, in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Sittard, Maastricht, Hilversum and Arnouville on the outskirts of Paris. Only Utrecht remains as a rest home for elderly Sisters, with Casella, a woodland retreat near Hilversum, for young people’s meditative sojourns. The city of Santa Monica, California, is named after Monica, as in the 18th Century a local dripping spring Las Lágrimas de Santa Mónica (Saint Monica’s Tears, Serra Springs) had been thought reminiscent of the tears that she shed over her son’s early impiety. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism. Major shrine Basilica di Sant’Agostino, Rome. Feast Day 27 August Latin Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, with Church of England Lesser Festival. Patron of married women, difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, conversion of relatives, Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines, Don Galo, Parañaque, Philippines, Santa Monica, California, Saint Monica University, Buea, Cameroon, Pinamungajan, Cebu, Philippines, Sainte Monique Valais, Binangonan, Rizal, Bulacan, Mexico, Pampanga, Minalin, Pavia, Iloilo, Antique, Capiz. Image: p.praymorenovenas.com.

Prayer Praise to you Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of all consolation and hope. Be the refuge and guardian of all who suffer from abuse and violence. Comfort them and send healing for their wounds of the body, soul and spirit. Help us all and make us one with You in your love for justice as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life. Amen

San Ciriaco d’Ancona (St Cyriacus of Ancona, Judas Cyriacus, Kyriakos, Quirico) (dc360). Catholic Church Feast Day for Bishop of Ancona, a converted Jew who had aided the Empress Helena in finding the True Cross, which had been buried at Golgotha after the crucifixion. During a later pilgrimage to the Holy Land, another Emperor subjected Cyriacus and his mother to torture and he died a martyr. His head was sent to Provins, near Paris, where in the 12th Century the Saint Quiriace Collegiate Church was built to contain it. His other relics were presented to Ancona and, on the site of a temple of Venus and the 3rd Century BCE acropolis of the Greek city, Ancona Cathedral (Duomo di Ancona, Basilica Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Ciriaco) was built in the 6th Century CE, rebuilt in the 9th Century to house the relics with those of St Marcellinus of Ancona, and rededicated around the late 12th Century from St Lawrence to St Cyriacus the Martyr. The body lies prostrate and visible in his tomb. Venerated in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Churches. Major shrine Cathedral of San Ciriaco, Ancona. Feast Day 14 April Eastern Orthodox Church. Patron of Ancona. Image: en.wikipedia.org.

Our Lady of the Helper. 3 leagues (10 miles) from Caen, Normandy, where William the Conqueror was buried, was a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Helper but it was destroyed during the French Revolution, before much of the city was also destroyed in 1944 during World War II. In the 17th Century, the Blessed Virgin Mary spoke to the Venerable Mary of Jesus of Ágreda (María de Jesús) OIC (Order of the Immaculate Conception, Conceptionist), the Franciscan Abbess of Ágreda, Spain and mystical spiritual writer known for her bilocation between Spain and the Jumano Indians of central New Mexico and West Texas in the colonies of New Spain. Our Lady said that, if we are solicitous in imitating her, the Most High will manifest Himself to us, so that our souls may possess Him in peace. The Abbess then inspired many Franciscan missionaries in the New World and has been dubbed the Lady in Blue and the Blue Nun, after the colour of her order’s habit. Mary Help of Christians (Sancta Maria Auxilium Christianorum, Nuestra Señora María Auxiliadora de los Cristianos, Maria Mapag-ampon sa mga Kristiyano) had been venerated since 345 and was associated with the defence of Christian Europe, North Africa and the Middle East from non-Christian peoples during the Middle Ages. In 1572, during the expansion of the Islamic Ottoman Empire intended to invade Christian Europe, Christian armies achieved victories attributed to the intercession of Mary under this title. Although the chapel near Caen with its image of Our Lady has been lost, the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians (Basilica di Santa Maria Ausiliatrice) in Turin, which contains the remains of Don Bosco, enshrines a 1903 painted image of Mary Help of Christians, a vision of the Virgin Mary having appeared to John Bosco in a dream there around 1844. Image: pinterest.com.