Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monica, Mother of Augustine and Friedrich Wyneken, Pastor, Missionary

Today, we commemorate Monica and Friederich Wyneken. According to Wikipedia:

Monica was married early in life to Patritius (or Patricius), who held an offical position in Tagaste (present-day Souk Ahras, Algeria). Patritius was a pagan, though like so many at that period, his religion was no more than a name; his temper was violent and he appears to have been of dissolute habits. Consequently Monica's married life was far from being a happy one, more especially as Patritius's mother seems to have been of a like disposition with himself. There was of course a gulf between husband and wife; her alms deeds and her habits of prayer annoyed him, but it is said that he always held her in a sort of reverence. Monica was not the only matron of Tagaste whose married life was unhappy, but, by her sweetness and patience, she was able to exercise a good example amongst the wives and mothers of her native town; they knew that she suffered as they did, and her words and example had a proportionate effect. Monica had three children: Augustine the eldest, Navigius the second, and a daughter, Perpetua. Monica had been unable to secure baptism for her children, and she experienced much grief when Augustine fell ill. In her distress she asked Patritius to allow Augustine to be baptized; Patritius agreed, but on the boy's recovery withdrew his consent. All Monica's anxiety now centered in Augustine; he was wayward and, as he himself tells us, lazy. He was sent to school at Madaurus. Her husband Patritius subsequently became a Christian. Meanwhile, Augustine had been sent to Carthage, to prosecute his studies, and here he lived dissolutely. Patritius died very shortly after converting to Christianity and Monica decided not to marry again. At Carthage Augustine had become a Manichean and when on his return home he shared his views regarding Manichaeism Monica drove him away from her table. However, she is said to have experienced a strange vision that convinced her to reconcile with her son. It was at this time that she went to see a certain holy bishop, whose name is not given, but who consoled her with the now famous words, "the child of those tears shall never perish." Monica followed her wayward son to Rome, where he had gone secretly; when she arrived he had already gone to Milan, but she followed him. Here she found St. Ambrose and through him she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine convert to Christianity, after seventeen years of resistance.

According to Wikipedia:

Friedrich Conrad Dietrich Wyneken (May 13, 1810 – May 4, 1876) was a missionary, pastor and the second president of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. One hundred years after fellow Hannoverian Henry Muhlenberg brought together the pastors and congregations of colonial America, Wyneken gathered scattered German Protestants into confessional Lutheran congregations and forged them into a closely knit family of churches. It was Wyneken's influence which brought Wilhelm Sihler from Germany to America. Wyneker's missionary experience, method and plan would influence American Lutheran missions for many years to come. He has been called the "thunder after the lightning."

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