Notes for the Mothers Day Blog Post I Would Have Written

Notes for the Mothers Day Blog Post I Would Have Written

St Catherine of Siena receiving the stigmata from the Dominicans Interactive blog
St Catherine of Siena receiving the stigmata from the Dominicans Interactive blog

Somehow it seems I’m never able to find time to sit down and write my thoughts while they are still timely. I think too often I don’t ever post at all because I feel like by the time I have time to write everything has already been said or people will think I’m lamely late to the party. And yet, I really want to write them out even if they are a bit late. So I’ve decided that this week I’m going to go ahead and post the rough drafts of the blog posts I wish I’d had time to post even if I am coming late to the party. It’s my blog and I can be out of step if I want to.

I really wanted to write a Mother’s Day post, but Sunday was too crammed with doing stuff. First, Sunday our parish had it’s traditional May crowning with all the first communicants returning in their pretty white outfits to walk in procession to the crowning. We had already returned the dress Bella borrowed from her cousins– her cousin wanted to wear the veil for her confirmation in the traditional Latin rite. Still, Bella walked in the procession and enjoyed it very much.

Then, as I mentioned, Sunday afternoon’s confirmation was in Latin with Cardinal Sean celebrating, but was not a full Mass. Instead there was Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after the Rite of Confirmation. It still took more than two hours. The music was beautiful, even if the kids did think the brass was a bit too loud. Everyone was thrilled to recognize Tantum Ergo, and O Salutaris Hostia, which they know from our monthly homeschooler’s adoration.

Anyway, back to the morning’s Mass. As I was praying after communion and thinking about all the saints who are mothers who inspire me in my vocation I started thinking about two virgin saints who inspire me with their spiritual motherhood: St Catherine of Siena and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Precisely because they were not natural mothers, these two beautiful women’s spiritual motherhood shines through in their biographies and they inspire me in my vocation as a mother, helping me to see more clearly some of the qualities I wish to cultivate in myself. The motherhood of St Catherine of Siena and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and so many other virgin saints reminds me that all women are called to spiritual motherhood, no matter what their state in life or vocation: single and married and consecrated religious, those who have children and those who are infertile and only have children of the heart: all of us are called to be mothers.

One thing that stood out for me in Sigrid Undset’s biography of St Catherine was that in her later years when she was traveling around and calling popes to task, Catherine was constantly surrounded by a group of followers, today we might call them “groupies” or refer to them as her “entourage”. They all called her “Mama,” even those who were much older than she was. Catherine cared passionately for the well being of each soul she encountered, she made amazing sacrifices on their behalf because what she wanted most was that each person she encountered know Christ and enter into His kingdom.

And then there is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, whom I and just about everyone else still think of as simply “Mother” Teresa. Like St Catherine, she was passionately committed to showing Christ’s love to each soul she met. She wanted most of all to tend for the dying so that they would not die alone and unloved but instead know before the end that they were cherished sons and daughters of the king.

And of course I also thought about the many wonderful saints who were married with children and all the ways they demonstrate how the vocation of motherhood is a path to sanctity: St Gianna Molla, Venerable Zelie Martin, St Monica, St Margaret of Scotland, St Elizabeth the cousin of Mary, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Frances of Rome, St Bridget of Sweden, St Adelaide, and St Rita. I think it’s sad that I’m always seeing complaints about there not being enough married saints. While I agree that it would be lovely to know more, I think it’s sad more people haven’t dug into the treasury of the saints we already have who are mothers.

I felt like I had so many more thoughts I wanted to tease out about motherhood and vocation. But I’m going to let it lie and publish the post as is. Instead, read Calah’s excellent piece, Hulk Mommy Contemplates Mother’s Day, which captures something beautiful and true about motherhood that my thoughts would never have reached.

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  • I appreciated Calah’s post. As someone whose motherhood doesn’t really look like anything that Hallmark produces, it is sometimes hard when “legitimate” motherhood is represented by things you never do. The important thing to remember is that true motherhood is about relationships and not a to-do list.

    • I think few if any moms think their family looks like a Hallmark picture. It only looks that way from the outside to people who don’t know us well. From the inside, I suspect every family looks messy.

  • Oh sure. Most families are messy and don’t look like a Hallmark card. There are unrealistic expectations of what family life *should* be instead of what it actually is. But what I am referring to is the general consensus around motherhood:

    Mom as primary care giver
    Mom as household cook
    Mom as cleaner-upper
    Mom as chauffeur

    Like that article before Mother’s Day saying we should picture Mary wearing an apron so she can help us with the housework, laundry and dinner. Well this mom doesn’t do any of that.

    It’s not that these characterizations are bad or wrong, just different from how I live so I understand feeling like a fraud when it comes to talking about the vocation of motherhood. I strive to have a healthy relationship with my children. They know I love them even when I’m not there. I do things with them that I might not do if I were home with them all the time, but I have not fooled myself into thinking quality time is better than quantity time. Children need both.