(Vatican Radio ) Hidden away in the heart of Rome, up an elegant flight of travertine
steps lies the imposing Renaissance Church of Saint Augustine.
When on the 28th of August Pope Francis steps into this great Church, which houses a myriad of artistic masterpieces from Raphael to Caravaggio, on a private visit to preside over Holy Mass, he does so on the day the Church remembers Saint Augustine.
But he’ll know too that this Church is linked to mothers in a special way.
First of all to the mother of Saint Augustine, Saint Monica whose feast day is on the eve of the 28th. It is here that her mortal remains were brought in the 13th century, at the request of the Pope of the time, to be entombed in the Chapel of a Church dedicated to her son.
A great mother, born in 332 AD at Tagaste an old Roman City on the road to Carthage, to whom her son Augustine refers throughout his ‘Confessions’, attributing to her his rescue from a wasteful and heretical life. Highlighting the love he had for this mother, today often referred to as the patron saint of ‘mothers of awkward sons’..
A mother, whom according to the Prior General of the Augustinians Father Robert Prevost, Pope Francis has over the years had a special devotion to.
“Many people have a devotion to Saint Monica, including Pope Francis who used to frequent that Church as Cardinal Bergoglio when he would come to Rome. He stayed near there and he would visit the Church and pray especially to Saint Monica whose feast is the 27th of August. So we celebrate both of them one after the other. It’s also a beautiful occasion to understand how significant the relationship between Saint Monica and Saint Augustine was and continues to be”.
I'm Veronica Scarisbrick