Themost influential relationship in an individual’s life is often the one with aperson’s Mother. This is the case in the life of St. Augustine who over thecourse of his journey to Catholicism was heavily impacted by the actions of hisMother, Monica.
As a child Augustine as a child resents Monica and theactions she takes in trying to guide him towards Christianity as most childrentend to do. However, as Augustine progresses through his journey he begins tolisten to his Mother’s advice more, and by the end of Monica’s life Augustinecomes to fully embrace and acknowledge Monica’s influence throughout his life.Even when Augustine is mentored by Ambrose Monica’s influence still has agreater impact on Augustine’s actions than Ambrose’s teachings. The developmentof Augustine’s relationship with his Mother throughout The Confessions provides an example of how powerful a Mother is inthe life of her child. Childrenoften resist the guidance their Mother provides them in attempts to seem matureand independent.
Augustine was not unlike these children and often would notheed his Mother’s warnings as they seemed like, “mere woman’s talk, which [he]would have blushed to heed”(St. Augustine 36). To the young St. Augustine Monica is a devout Catholic who uses herfaith to justify telling Augustine how to live his life. She is constantlypushing Augustine into the Catholic faith without providing him the answers tothe questions he desires answers to. It is Augustine’s inability to findanswers in his hometown combined with Monica’s pressures that he is influenced influencehim to leave home in the first place. Monica manages to influencethe life of Augustine in a different way than she initially intends asAugustine’s resentment towards her ideals is what startshim on his journey to becoming the Saint that he is known as today.On his voyage that began out ofresentment Augustine finds his way to the city of Milan.
It is here whereMonica decides to come live with Augustine as she is very worried about hisfaith. In order to arrive in Milan,Monica has to embark on a dangerous journey across the seas. Augustine speaksof her travels with great admiration:Amid the perils of the voyage it wasshe who kept up the spirits of the sailors, though in the ordinary way it is tothem that inexperienced and frightened travelers look to for reassurance. She,however dared to promise them that they would come safely to port, because youyourself had made this promise to her.(94)This is the first instance thatAugustine displays admiration for his Mother. He seems to take pride in how ona very dangerous trip Monica stayed strong with unwavering faith in God; whenany other traveler would have been afraid Monica’s love for her son gave herfaith that God would guide her to safety. Similar to the role that sailors playin an inexperienced travellerstraveler’sjourney, Monica fills that role in this stage of Augustine’s life.
At this partof his adventures Augustine is spiritually lost without a sense of direction,so Augustine looks towards Monica for reassurance and guidance. It is also atthis time that Augustine encounters Father Ambrose and begins to learn from histeachings. However, Augustine does not begin listening to his teachings untilafter Monica arrives in Milan and encourages Augustine to. Her love and guidancekeep Augustine steady on his path towards conversion. It is St.
Monica’s and other Mother’s’presences that serveas an anchorsin their children’s lives that influence the children to continue down the paththey have each chosen to walk. [Office1] Itis unfortunately not until Augustine loses that stability Monica provides himthat he realizes how important she is. After Augustine converts to Catholicismand finds true happiness, Augustine is once again lost with no direction. Once again, Augustine turns to his Motherfor guidance. Augustine leaves his teaching position and returns home to care for Monica who recentlyfell ill. She dies but not before Augustine comes to fully realize theinfluence she had on his life, “Being now bereft of her comfort, so great acomfort, my soul was wounded; it was as though my life was rent apart, forthere had been but one life woven out of mine and hers”(177). Augustine nowrealizes how much he looked to Monica throughout his life for guidance as astabilizing force.
With her now dead he has no idea who he can turn to as thecomfort she provided him through her actions has been lost forever andAugustine is left empty. It is now that Augustine comes to realize without his Mother hewould not have walked the path he did and it pains him that he could notrealize this until after his passing. [Office2] Monica’sactions provided Augustine with a sense of stability throughout his life thathe was only was ableto realize after her passing. St.
Augustine is constantly influenced by his Mother throughout his entire liferegardless of whether he wants to be. She drives him away in his youth andstarts him on his adventure. In the middle of his life it is Monica whoprovides him the love and stability he needs to continue on. Even after herdeath Augustine uses Monica as an example of how a life should be led feeling asense of connectivity with her. These feelings are not unique to Monica andAugustine’s relationship as they are present in most relationships between aMother and her child. The level of depth Augustine reaches with Monica isunlike anything he has with other characters such as Ambrose. Through thick andthin a Mother is always their there to act as a rock in her child’slife and guide them back towards their path.
It may be hard to realize as achild, but a Mother is the most important person in an individual’s life andshould be listened to. [Office1]I see what you are getting at here, but how could you phrase this moresmoothly? [Office2]Where do you see this in the text? What about Augustine’s comment thatMonica has not expired, but lives on with God?