The Holy Father has a special devotion to this persistent and loving saint-mom.
On the August 27 feast of St. Monica, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of St. Augustine in Rome and stopped to pray in the chapel dedicated to St. Monica, the Holy See Press Office reported. The body of St. Augustine’s mother rests in this place.
In a video shared earlier on Twitter by the art historian Elizabeth Lev, we see the pontiff descending the steps of this church located in the center of Rome. After this moment of prayer, the pontiff returned to the Vatican, the Holy See reported.
“Went to Sant’Agostino to pay my respects to Santa Monica on her feast day, but someone got there before me. Thanks to a friend for this great video clip! pic.twitter.com/RbX6qc40hM ”
– Elizabeth Lev (@lizlevrome) August 27, 2020
This is not the first time the pope has prayed in this church on the occasion of St. Monica’s feast; he also went there in 2018.
That visit was upon his return from his Apostolic Journey to Ireland; he went to the Basilica of St Augustine to pray before St Monica’s tomb after paying a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, as is his custom.
His visit to Ireland included his participation in the Festival of Families, part of the World Meeting of Families.
In fact, the pontiff has a special devotion to St. Monica (331-387). For example in a 2018 homily about the need to be insistent in prayer (see above), he said:
Think of St. Monica, for example — how many years she prayed, even with tears, for the conversion of her son! And the Lord, at the end, opened the door.
During his Roman sojourns, Cardinal Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis), who stayed at the nearby “House of the Clergy,” regularly visited the church to pray before the relics of St. Augustine’s mother.
On August 28, 2013, the Supreme Pontiff celebrated Mass in this church on the occasion of the feast of St. Augustine and the opening of the General Chapter of the Augustinian Order.