St Monica, whose feast we celebrate today, is who I think of whenever I hear anyone say that no matter how much they pray for their children who have fallen away from their faith, it does not seem to be working; God just doesn't seem to be listening.
This great woman of prayer, tears and sacrifice knew all too well what it was to have a child and a husband not believe in God, at least not according to Christian principles. She spent some 30 or more years praying for her son, Augustine, and God did hear her prayers and He also seemed to gather her many tears and use them to wash the error from Augustine's eyes so that he was able to convert. Not only did he convert but he became bishop and one of the greatest minds the Catholic Church has ever known, but more on the is saint and Church Doctor later. So God did hear and answer Monica's prayers, but in His perfect time.
There are so many parents, spouses siblings and friends of those who have strayed far from their faith, or who have never believed in God. May St Monica be the role model for them and for all of us who pray for our loved ones to return to God. Our prayers are heard and will be answered in God's perfect time. All He asks of us is perseverance in prayer and love.