St. Monica, before the birth of the great St. Augustine, dedicated him by frequent oblations to the Christian religion, and to the service and glory of God, as he himself witnesses, saying:
“That he hath already tasted the salt of God in his mother’s womb.” This is a great lesson for Christian women to offer up to His Divine Majesty the fruit of their wombs, even before they come into the world; for God, who accepts the offerings of a humble and willing heart, commonly at that time seconds the affections of mothers; witness Samuel, St. Thomas of Aquin, St. Andrew of Fiesola, and divers others. The mother of St. Bernard, a mother worthy of such a son, as soon as her children were born, took them in her arms, and offered them up to Jesus Christ, and from thenceforward loved them with respect, as things consecrated and entrusted to her by God; which succeeded so happily to her that in the end the whole seven became very holy.
But when children begin to have the use of reason, both their fathers and mothers ought to take great care to imprint the fear of God in their hearts. The good Queen Blanche performed this office fervently with regard to the King St. Louis, her son; she often said to him: “I had much rather, my dear child, see you die before my eyes, than see you commit even one mortal sin.;” which caution remained so deeply engraved on his soul that, as he himself related, not one day of his life passed in which he did not remember it, and take all possible care strictly to observe it. Families and generations in our language are called houses; and even the Hebrews called the generations of children the building up of a house; for it is in this sense it is said that God built houses for the midwives of Egypt. Now, this is to show that the raising of a house or family consists not in storing up a quantity of worldly goods, but in the good education of children in the fear of God, and in virtue, in which no pains or labors ought to be spared, for children are the crown of their parents. ~ St. Francis de Sales.