Book Review: St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer

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I had been eyeing this book St. Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer by Mike Aquilina and Mark W. Sullivan at The Catholic Company for a little while. I was drawn to it for two reasons. One, St. Monica is my Confirmation Saint, two I was intrigued by the “persistent prayer” and how it relates to St. Monica.

The book starts with a brief biography of Saint Monica and Saint Augustine. It is the best concise biography I’ve read of the two of them. It did an excellent job of giving an overview of their lives, major points and milestones and generally how the two of them interacted. It was detailed enough to be very informative, yet at the same time it was short enough to read in one sitting. I’m all about getting to the end of chapters or sections in one sitting, as opposed to the two or three it sometimes takes when reading with young children in the house. 🙂

The remainder of the book is broken up into chapters that deal with different aspects of Saint Monica’s spiritual/prayer life and how it relates to Saint Augustine. For example the first chapter is titled Do Prayers Go Unanswered? which deals specifically with the length of time (seventeen years) Saint Monica prayed for Saint Augustine to be converted to Christianity. The authors do a wonderful job of bringing in a modern day, relevant example (usually in the form of the matriarch of their family, “Nan”) to the question/problem posed in the chapter title.

Each chapter concludes with a brief meditation which includes a selection of Saint Augustine’s writing, followed by a Resolution – something to change or to do based on the chapter and ending with a Prayer.

I loved this book. I don’t think I can really say how much I enjoyed reading this book. Each chapter was 4-5 pages long, which made it extremely easy to pick it up when I had a few minutes (always a plus!). But it was more than that. Many of the issues presented in the book are things that I have been struggling with and/or learning how to do in my own life. I think what it really did, was it allowed me to put words to these specific struggles, something I haven’t always been able to do very clearly. On top of that it has felt like a lifeline, almost a “how to overcome these struggles”. Not that it would necessarily be easy (it hasn’t been), but the feeling that I’m not alone in this, that others have been there before and overcome.

I will be keeping this book within easy reach for now.

~Ruth Anne

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Monica and the Persistent Power of Prayer.  The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

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