I have never paid much attention to the saints, but that all changed one summer about 10 years ago. It was the summer that my oldest daughter was going off to college for the first time. Her move-in day was scheduled for Aug. 27. It should have been an exciting and fun day for all of us, except for one thing: My son was to appear in juvenile court that same morning due to his impulsive adolescent behavior.
The court date was originally scheduled for an earlier day, but was moved to Aug. 27. I tried to reschedule again, but was not able to. I thought, how am I going to handle all of this in one day? I wanted this to be a memorable and fun day for my daughter, but with the court date in the morning, she was on her own for most of the day.
That morning, the tension in our home was so high, tempers were flaring and none of us was handling the stress very well. I was angry with my whole family and was very concerned and worried about what might happen in court. On a whim, I decided to go to Mass that morning. I thought to myself that I had to find some peace before I could face this day.
The presiding priest was not our parish priest but a visiting Franciscan priest. He began the Mass by stating, “Today is the feast day of St. Monica. She is the patron saint for mothers with wayward children.” Immediately I began to cry (and continued through most of the Mass).
Some days God speaks softly to us, and at other times he needs to hit us over the head to pay attention. This was one of those days that he was hitting me over the head! The priest continued, “Let’s pray for all those mothers who are struggling with their children.” Throughout the rest of the Mass, he referred to and called upon St. Monica. After Communion, I offered up a quiet prayer for my son. I asked God to soften the heart of the prosecuting attorney. I asked that [God] give my son what he deserved as punishment, nothing more, and nothing less. I left Mass that morning with a surprisingly calm and peaceful heart. I literally gave all my anxiety up to God. I thought the outcome of this day is up to him; there is nothing more I could do.
At court that morning, the lawyer met with us first to explain what the judge was going to say. He started out saying the first charge is dropped, followed by the second charge is suspended. In return, he was given community service and to pay back his debt. As our lawyer was reading this to us, I started to cry again realizing that my prayers were being answered right there in front of me! As he continued to read he interjected, “And if Helen keeps crying I will start to cry. too!”
That afternoon as my husband and I were driving to college to help our daughter unpack and get her dorm room set up, I was marvelling at how this day had turned out. I remember sitting in the car, sunglasses on, and with tears streaming down my face. Tears of overwhelming gratitude and basking in the warmth and knowledge that God is great.
Months later, I found out that the prosecuting attorney was ready to give my son the maximum punishment, but after talking with our lawyer, he changed his mind. This exchange took place after I attended Mass that morning.
To this day, I try to attend Mass on Aug. 27 in honor of St. Monica. I will never forget the intercessions of St. Monica!
Helen (last name withheld)
Category: All Saints