Appeared in Spring 1979, Vol. V, No. 1

Readers following Dr. Kristin Popik’s series on St. Thomas’ philosophy of woman may also be interested in a more popular treatment of the “woman question” by the French theologian Rev. Bertrand de Margerie. S.J.  Taking up St. Monica, a holy woman with a profound impact on history, de Margerie examines the qualities of the Christian convert wife, mother and woman concerned with the lives of those in the surrounding community.  Studying the lives of the saints is, of course, one of the best ways to learn how to live out one’s own role in life, and St. Monica provides both women and men a perspective on the Christian transformation of self.

We know that more than ever in our world there is a preoccupation today about the feminine condition, and we know also that each woman is called to be a daughter, a sister, and, either according to the flesh or according to the spirit, a spouse and a mother.  Monica of Tagaste is an extraordinary realization of the feminine condition, a realization which St. Augustine has exalted in his Confessions, in pages that are perhaps not well-known enough.  In reflecting on her life, we find a wealth of guidance on Christian femininity.  We shall see her as a convert, and, through the texts of the Confessions, as a wife, a mother, and a daughter.

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