The initiative brings together groups of mothers who pray for each other's children, their husbands and their families. There are groups in many countries where we are
On 16th May in Oviedo (north west Spain), at an event organized by the Asociación de Madres Cristianas Santa Mónica and Editorial Ciudad Nueva, two books by Fr Manuel Morales OSA - Tus hijos volverán (Your sons will come back) and En familia con Santa Mónica (In family with St Monica) - were presented. The event, held in the auditorium of the parish of the Heart of Mary, had a markedly family atmosphere. It was attended by about 60 people, not just mothers but also young people.
After the opening welcome by Marta Riol, promoter of the "choirs of St Monica mothers" in Oviedo, Ana Hidalgo, editor of the two books and representative of the publishing house, introduced a short video in which the author, Fr Morales, presented his work. She also dedicated a few words to Fr Santiago Insunza OSA, who collaborated on the Santa Monica both, with chapters on Augustinian spirituality and on the figure of St. Monica through the Confessions of St. Augustine.
A family life of prayer nourishes the Church with vocations
The main part of the event was dedicated to the testimony of parents who, thanks to their faith and prayer during years of trial and tribulation, have won from heaven the conversion of their son, who is now a priest.
There followed a brief presentation on the Association of Christian Mothers Santa Monica in Oviedo by Marta Riol, with a lively discussion and questions from the audience. It was a well-received event.
Fr Manuel Morales’s book Your sons will come back, is a collection of mothers’ testimonies. His engagement with the Mothers-Monica group, he says, was originally “to commemorate the four hundred year anniversary of the Augustinians in Cadiz, in 2017, when we had the idea of promoting the groups of Mothers-Monica in the parish. In a short time, we were able to see that the idea was an inspiration, that the 'Cause' was developing and extending beyond our expectations. First, Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa María, Jerez, Campo de Gibraltar... Then, through friendships and connections, always in agreement with the parish priests, Madrid, Córdoba, Gerona... This of mothers 'coming down from the altar' to St Monica, holding her hand, and praying with her for the family and the faith of their children, feeling her to be a sister, intercessor, wife and exemplary mother, is clearly fruitful, current, pleasing to God.”
And this work continues. Not just with the perseverance of Fr Morales but also with the Order's Commission for Apostolate and Evangelisation which is now getting involved in order to make Mothers-Monica known where it is not yet known and to help to set it up where it has not yet taken root. “The communities of Mothers-Mónica are a priceless treasure that we must nurture," affirms Javier Pérez Barba, coordinator of the Commission, "because they carry out an admirable exercise of faith. They keep the Lord as their priority, and put prayer and the grace of God in their rightful place in a world where, as one of the mothers said to me, prayer is almost never the first resource we call on to face the next step in life, usually the last."
"An extra layer of prayers"
One of the key points made by Fr Manuel chimes with the experience of Gema Sáez, a mother in one of the Madrid groups: "It is a precious gift that allows me, personally, to rest secure in the knowledge that my children are being prayed for by other mothers who are in the same position as me, with their day-to-day difficulties. .
"I am very moved by the story of St Monica. Previously, for me, she was just the mother of St Augustine. But when I became a mother myself, I understood her true role. Until you experience for yourself what it is to be a mother you can't understand the dimension of prayer for your children and for the other children in the group. It has meant an enormous personal and spiritual growth for me, and has helped me to witness how persistence and constancy in prayer bears fruit … My heart is Augustinian. We have him very present in our hearts. And as for St Monica, she is for me in the top five of all the great saints.”
"An experience of total belonging to the Church"
Pray, if possible, in front of a Tabernacle with the names of the persons prayed for; share appropriate films, books and special activities during Christmas and Holy Week, or to travel to Rome, the Holy Land or Fatima - these are some of the activities that the group of Mothers-Monicas of the Augustinian Nuns of San Alonso de Orozco has encouraged and supported, according to member Marisa Puente.
"There are seven of us mothers, and each day of the week it is the turn of one mother to pray for the children of the group", Marisa tells us. "Mothers-Monica helps us to be better mothers, better wives, and better Christians. We help each other, we pray for each other, and we attend to the needs that may arise".
When asked about the community bonds that are generated in these meetings and prayer networks, Marisa acknowledges that "there is a deep friendship".
"For me it is an experience of total belonging to the Church. We have to live our faith in community. Without community, it is very difficult. Knowing that there is someone who is always praying for our children every day is something very great, where we can feel the great power of prayer.”