Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo, was born in the year 332.
Thagaste is given as her birthplace, and this is based less on historical evidence and more on the presumption that she was raised in the district where later she wed.
During her infancy, Christians were just emerging from the period when they kept their religion secret for fear of persecution.
The possibility is raised because Thagaste only became progressively anti-Donatist during the years 348-361, when Monica was aged between sixteen and twenty-nine years.
It is known via the writings of Augustine that some of her relatives were Donatist (and Augustine therefore had cousins who were Donatists).
There is no slightest whisper anywhere in the writings of Augustine that Monica may ever have been a Donatist, nor was there any insinuation of this nature ever raised by any of Donatist opponents of Augustine.
At any rate, she is unlikely to have been completely untouched by such controversies, and the childhood of Augustine - even in a Catholic household - was surely not completely insulated from Donatism either.
When she was about twenty two years of age, Monica was married to Patricius, aged 40 and one of the city magistrates at Tagaste.
Patricius did not follow any religion. He was also violent and loose living.
His main assets were that he was from a good family and could be generous at times.
Following the marriage Monica shared her house with her mother-in-law which was a constant source of friction. Patricius did not change with the marriage.
He continued to be violent, and was not faithful to his vows of marriage.
But Monica resolutely refused to give way to sadness or bitterness.
Instead, she worked towards cultivating a gentle, understanding way with her husband.
He became a Christian shortly before his death about the year 371.
As Patricius was dying, his eldest son, Augustine, was seventeen years old. In spite of all the efforts of Monica to provide a good Christian foundation to his life, he lapsed.
It is a strange paradox that as Patricius began to embrace the Christian faith, Augustine was still rejecting it.
In another part of Augnet, there are more pages about Monica. To see them, click here.