Today is the feast of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, patroness of drunkards, married women and mothers. It was the effect of Saint Monica’s prayers which led to the conversion of her spoiled, wayward, pagan son, whom she followed about, in the tradition of good Catholic mothers everywhere (ahem). She also put up with a drunken pig of a husband and his vile mother and prayed for them until their conversion. How her life mirrors that of so many others….
Here is Reverend Alban Butler, with his engaging footnote on the young Monica’s drinking problem:
Note 1. It is a notorious mistake and misrepresentation, to call this fault the crime of drunkenness, though such a habit insensibly paves the way to the utmost excesses; and this danger of a saint ought to be a powerful warning to deter all persons, especially servants and young people, from a like custom of sipping, how insignificant and trifling soever the first steps towards it may appear. If Monica was awakened before she was brought to the brink of the precipice, this was the effect of a singular grace; and, where she repented, thousands perish, and regardless of every evil, present and future, become the murderers of their bodies, their reason, the fortunes of their family, and their immortal souls. This destroying evil arises from small beginnings neglected. See Dom. Martenne, in his learned and judicious note on this passage, in the late French translation of the Confessions of St. Austin.
And so say all of us.