On Wednesday, the day the Church remembers Saint Augustine, Pope Francis will make a private visit to the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, in Rome, and preside over Holy Mass.
The church houses the mortal remains of Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine, whose feast day is today (August 27). Her remains were brought to the church, which is also home to paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, in the 13th century.
Augustine refers to his mother throughout his ‘Confessions’, attributing to her his rescue from an heretical life. Today she is often referred to as the patron saint of ‘mothers of awkward sons’.
According to the Prior General of the Augustinians Father Robert Prevost, Pope Francis has had a special devotion to Saint Monica for a number of years.
“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,” said Fr Prevost.
“He stayed near there and he would visit the Church and pray especially to Saint Monica. We celebrate both of them, one after the other. It’s a beautiful occasion to understand how significant the relationship between Saint Monica and Saint Augustine was and continues to be”.