top of page

August 27


Saint of the day:
Saint Monica

Patron Saint of Difficult marriages, disappointing children,

victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of (verbal) abuse, and conversion of relatives

Saint Monica’s Story

The circumstances of Saint Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law, and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine, is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy–“all flesh is evil”–and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, Saint Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her. Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter 387, Saint Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of Saint Augustine, especially his Confessions.







(Saint Augustine)

Piazza Sant'Agostino

Rome, Italy

*This church is near Piazza Navona.

*Relics of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine, rest within the Blessed Sacrament Chapel just to the left of the main sanctuary.



We are celebrating with Algerian recipes because our Saint was from Algeria.


Makroud el Louse 

Algerian Almond Cookies  

These easy-to-make, flourless cookies are excellent served with tea or coffee.
They will keep for over a month stored in a well sealed container.

Makes 20 to 24 cookies


  • Almonds, whole, blanched -- 1 1/4 pound

  • Sugar -- 1 cup

  • Eggs, beaten lightly -- 2

  • Water -- 2 cups

  • Sugar -- 1/2 cup

  • Orange flower water -- 1 tablespoons

  • Powdered (confectioner's) sugar -- 3 cups


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely pulverized. Remove to a bowl.

  2. Make a well in the center of the almonds and stir in the eggs with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Then knead the dough with clean hands until smooth.

  3. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions and remove to a floured work surface. Roll one portion out into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. Press down with your palm to flatten the rope to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the rope on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces and remove to an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  4. Bake cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on top. Remove to racks and cool completely.

  5. While the cookies bake, bring the water and 1/2 cup sugar to a rapid boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature. Stir in the orange flower water.

  6. Put powdered sugar in a large bowl. To finish, dip each cookie first in the sugar syrup to wet. Then toss each cookie in the confectioner's sugar to coat well. Shake off the extra sugar, place on a rack to dry and repeat with the rest of the cookies.


  • Add 1 tablespoon lemon zest to the almond dough if you like.

  • If you are unable to find orange flower water to flavor the syrup, try using 1 teaspoon of lemon essence instead.



Algerian Cocas

An Algerian coca is a small turnover filled with frita, a mixture
of bell peppers, tomatoes and onions that are simmered in olive oil.


For the dough

  • 5 cups flour

  • 2 egg yolks

  • ¾ cup olive oil

  • ½ cup water (more or less depending on the quality of the flour)

  • 1½ teaspoon salt

For the frita

  • 2 green bell peppers , seeded and diced

  • 2 red bell peppers , seeded and diced

  • 1 onion (and/or 3 cloves garlic), chopped

  • 8 tomatoes , peeled and seeded

  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the decoration

  • 2 egg yolks , beaten with 1 teaspoon water



  1. Pour the flour into the bowl of the food processor. Make a well and add the olive oil and salt. Knead by gradually incorporating the water. Then, add each egg yolk while continuing to knead. If the dough is not homogeneous enough, add a little water and knead again for a few seconds. Let the dough rest in the fridge for an hour.


  1. Sauté the onions and/or garlic over low heat for a few minutes. Pour all the other ingredients for the frita.

  2. Simmer over low heat for about 1h30 or until the liquids are completely reduced.


  1. Spread the dough with a rolling pin and cut circles using a cookie cutter of about 3 inches in diameter.

  2. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of frita in the center of each circle of dough and shape semi-circle turnovers by folding the dough over. Seal by pressing with a fork or use a special turnover cookie cutter.

  3. Brush each turnover with the egg yolk wash. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350 F oven.






  • 2 to 3 chicken legs or any other pieces.

  • 1 big onion.

  • 2 cloves garlic.

  • 1 handful of chickpeas deceived the day before.

  • 1 carrot cut into small cubes

  • 1 zucchini cut into small cubes

  • 1 tablespoon and a half of tomato paste

  • Paprika

  • black pepper

  • salt

  • 1 glass and a half of small pellets.

  • dried basil (optional)

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil

  • knowing that you can put other vegetables, like turnips, potatoes ...


  1. in a pot, over low heat, fry the chicken pieces in sunflower oil, with the grated onion,

  2. add the garlic cut in 4 on length or shredded if you do not like the pieces of garlic.

  3. then add spices, salt and diced vegetables and let them come back.

  4. Add chickpeas and tomato paste.

  5. saute, then water 2 to 2.5 liters.

  6. let it cook well.

  7. Once everything is tender, add the pasta all at once.

  8. cook for 15 to 20 minutes while stirring a few times so
    that the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

  9. The sauce will reduce slowly as the pasta cooks.

  10. Serve hot, with a few crushed basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

bottom of page