St. Monica trusted that “God’s time will come” and prayed for more than 20 years that her son, a future doctor of the Catholic Church, would open his heart to the Catholic faith. Her prayers were answered, and, at age 29, St. Augustine of Hippo was baptized and his conversion began.
While we all can’t be as patient as St. Monica, a group of men and women steadfastly pray for St. Monica to intercede to God to hear their prayers and bring their wayward children and relatives closer to God at St. Dominic Parish in Lakeview.
The St. Monica prayer group meets the first Wednesday of the month after the 5:30 p.m. Mass, and the third Saturday after the 8 a.m. Mass to pray the St. Monica chaplet and daily novena prayer. Many members also pray at home.
“We have a lot of people who ask us to pray for their children, their sister,” said group leader Marilyn Turner.
The chaplet they pray at meetings asks St. Monica to intercede as they join their “tears” to hers against the spirit of despair toward the spirit of hope, turn the spirit of anger toward the spirit of love, the spirit of blame toward forgiveness, the spirit of suspicion toward trust, the spirit of doubt toward faith and the spirit of fear toward the spirit of peace.
Turner said the group came together a year ago after she went to confession, lamenting that her children never mention their Catholic faith. Father Mike O’Rourke, pastor of St. Dominic, suggested she start a group that prayed to St. Monica – the patron saint of abuse victims, alcoholics, homemakers, married women, mothers, widows, disappointing children and victims of adultery.
Prayer has opened hearts
Several success stories of people returning to the church after prayers have been said for them have been reported to members. One gentleman returned to the Catholic faith and registered his children for CCD classes. Another reported that his children started attending Mass again.
Another said a friend of her daughter’s was intervening to bring her back to the fold. A parishioner who makes St. Monica chaplets for the parish told another member that his mother’s prayers for him were powerful enough to call him back.
“There is hope, so we keep praying,” she said.
“I pray for not only my kids but for all the children of the world,” another said.
“The world is calling our children – the world of television and music,” Christina Arceneaux said, and that’s not a positive force. Her heart was telling her to start attending the meetings and pray.
Another at a recent meeting was praying for her children – all who attended Catholic schools and were raised Catholic – whose busy lives have pulled them away from Mass. Another offered that once these adults who leave the church have children, they often return.
“You’ve got to pray for them,” she said.
In addition to regular meetings, the group prays a nine-day novena before St. Monica’s feast day Aug. 27.
Nancy Colome, whose birthday happens to be St. Monica’s feast day , said she was drawn to St. Monica to pray for her children. Her youngest started attending Mass again and she’s hoping another follows.
Members encouraged Turner as she continues to pray for her daughter and brother.
“I’ve got St. Monica beat,” Turner said, in reference to the number of years she has been praying for her relatives.
“Wouldn’t it be something if this would grow,” Cynthia Schulin said.
“It’s a very simple thing, yet it can do so much good,” Colome said.
Turner can be reached at 828-2291.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.