Group calls upon St. Monica to bring loved ones back into the church

stained glass window

stained glass windowGREENVILLE—St. Monica is revered for her patience and perseverance as she prayed for 17 years for her son’s return to the Catholic Church. It might be a centuries-old story, but to Carole Harris of Greer, the example set by St. Monica in the fourth century is still relevant today.
Harris is a member of the Sodality of St. Monica at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. A mom herself, Harris said the St. Monica holy hour, celebrated on Wednesdays, is an opportunity each week for her to find a few moments of peace in her life.
“It’s a very wonderful, quiet time,” Harris said. “It’s a very quiet time to spend in prayer and reflection.
“St. Monica was such a good example as a mother,” she said. “Kids today, so many of them, no matter how hard we try, some of them fall away from the church.”
The Sodality of St. Monica was founded at Prince of Peace about two years ago, according to Msgr. Steven Brovey, pastor, who said he and others in the parish wanted to address concerns that “so many have drifted away from the church.”
Msgr. Brovey said it’s his hope that, through prayer and the intercession of St. Monica, “it will stir in their hearts the desire to come back.” He said the parish’s sodality has about 50 members who come to the weekly gathering for a variety of reasons.
“Their concerns — it could be their children or a spouse,” he said. “We begin by praying for them. We encourage them to come to Mass. We want them to know the church is still concerned about them.”
When she was alive, Monica followed her eldest son Augustine from Rome to Milan, where he was baptized after 17 years of resistance, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Harris said the sodality focuses on prayer and personal outreach through witnessing to those who have left the church, or who have stopped worshiping altogether. But she said it’s important to be patient, not strident, in the effort.
“With these young adults, you alienate them if you tell them too much,” she said. “We have to look inside, be introspective.”
The group meets from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the chapel, which Harris described as an intimate setting, and conducive to prayer and reflection.
The meetings begin with a rosary and include Mass and reconciliation, and end with a novena to St. Monica.
Harris finds that it’s a good time to examine her own faith.
“As Catholics, it’s important that we do revere the saints,” she said. “They anchor us in our faith in this crazy and haphazard world.”