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Celebrating our mothers and Our Mother

Once again people in many parts of the world will celebrate Mothers’ Day today. You do not have to remember the date. The media, the shopping malls, businesses remind us with their advertisements touting the different ways to celebrate this day. Expensive gifts and grand banquets are common ways to mark this day dedicated to mothers. 

There is an interesting story behind the tradition of celebrating the Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May in the United States of America (US). It was in 1914 when the untiring advocacy of a woman from West Virginia named Anna Jarvis,  persuaded the then-US president, Woodrow Wilson, to designate a national day to commemorate mothers. 

Ironically, towards the end of her life, Jarvis—who never married and never had children—was totally upset with the commercialisation of  the celebration. In one quote attributed to her, she expressed her distress at the use of printed Mother’s Day cards: “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” she said. “And candy! You take a box to mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.” Anna Jarvis died in 1948.

The commercialisation of the day dedicated to celebrating and expressing gratitude to mothers is more rampant now than ever. We live in a time when grown up children find their ageing parents a burden, and more and more elderly seek refuge in old age homes, Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day celebrations have become a convenient way for otherwise busy sons and daughters to express their love and care for their parents! 

In this struggle, though, Catholics may have an advantage—the Church has been celebrating a sort of Mother’s Day at this time of year since its early years. The fourth Sunday of Lent, or Laetare Sunday, was traditionally a time to celebrate mother Church—and naturally one’s own mother. 

The Month of May is specially dedicated to the devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.  God, the creator of the universe, chose to put himself—tiny, needy and helpless—into the nurturing and watchful hands of a human mother. Since then, every act of mothering—both physical and spiritual—in every time and every corner of the world recollects Mary’s motherhood. Hence, Mothers’ Day calls on Catholic mothers to take Mary as their model in nurturing their children. It also reminds the faithful to find refuge and comfort in the motherly care of the Blessed Mother. 

A similar sentiment of gratitude with a loftier vision was expressed by Pope St. John Paul II in his 1995 Letter to Women. He told mothers that the unique experience of pregnancy “makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.” 


We celebrate with gratitude the motherly care and love of all the mothers in our lives, both spiritual and physical. Be resolved not to forget to pray for them and to appreciate and respect them today and everyday! SE