It was the feast day of Saint Monica at the end of last week. We have several such women as she was named by the Church as Saints, holy women, wives and mothers. The liturgical common texts for these great Saints come directly from the last chapter of the book of Proverbs, one of the most beautiful parts of the Bible:
“A man who has found a vigorous wife has found a rare treasure,Proverbs, 31: 10-31
brought from distant shores.
Bound to her in loving confidence, he will have no need of spoil.
Content, not sorrow, she will bring him as long as life lasts.
Does she not busy herself with wool and thread, plying her hands with ready skill?
Ever she steers her course like some merchant ship, bringing provision from far away.
From early dawn she is up, assigning food to the household,
so that each waiting-woman has her share.
Ground must be examined, and bought, and planted out as a vineyard,
with the earnings of her toil.
How briskly she girds herself to the task, how tireless are her arms!
Industry, she knows, is well rewarded, and all night long her lamp does not go out.
Jealously she sets her hands to work, her fingers clutch the spindle.
Kindly is her welcome to the poor, her purse ever open to those in need.
Let the snow lie cold if it will, she has no fears for her household;
no servant of hers but is warmly clad.
Made by her own hands was the coverlet on her bed,
the clothes of lawn and purple that she wears.
None so honoured at the city gate as that husband of hers,
when he sits in council with the elders of the land.
Often she will sell linen of her own weaving,
or make a girdle for the travelling merchant to buy.
Protected by her own industry and good repute,
she greets the morrow with a smile.
Ripe wisdom governs her speech, but it is kindly instruction she gives.
She keeps watch over all that goes on in her house,
not content to go through life eating and sleeping.
That is why her children are the first to call her blessed,
her husband is loud in her praise:
Unrivalled art thou among all the women that have enriched their homes.
Vain are the winning ways, beauty is a snare;
it is the woman who fears the Lord that will achieve renown.
Work such as hers claims its reward;
let her life be spoken of with praise at the city gates.”
Most if not all of us will have had the experience of a woman such as this in our lives, and thanks be to God for that.