Mother’s Day

At our parish on Mother’s Day, we have a tradition of honoring all women, whether they biologically have children or not. I am always deeply moved by this tradition, because it allows us to honor women who “mother” even if they do not have children of their own.

Mother's Day cookieAs all women stand in our parish, I can barely hold back the tears as I survey the room and the beautiful array of women who stand with pride. This tradition allows us to honor the religious sisters of our parish, who nurture people by tending to their needs and faith lives. It allows us to honor the women who were never able to have children or who chose not to have children, yet still have profound impacts on the lives of others. They, too, are mothers in my eyes!

When I stand up, I most certainly stand with a full heart of love for having the opportunity to love my two children. As I stand, though, I cannot help but think of all the other women in my life that make me the woman I am today: my own mom, my grandmothers, my sisters-in-law, my aunts, my cousins, my friends, colleagues, my mom’s friends who are like second moms, women at our parish, some very dear religious sisters, and on and on. These women create a circle of support that provides strength and courage in my own mothering.

St. Ignatius says, “Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words, and love consists in sharing what one has and who one is with those one loves.” The act of mothering allows us to do this every day. This Mother’s Day, I invite us to be thankful for all the women in our lives who have shown us the meaning of St. Ignatius’s words.


  1. Maria, Lynda, Helen, and Robin,
    Thank you so much for your responses! Sharing your experiences opened my eyes a bit more to a pastoral response on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I appreciate your honest responses so much!
    All of your comments remind me of both the many struggles we face (loss, exclusivity) and the multitude of ways we can experience love.
    I hope all of you had a special day yesterday as you remembered and celebrated the special women in your lives (living or deceased) . And thank you, again, I will take your comments with me and reflect on them more.

  2. For those of us who lost mothers as children and lost children as mothers, it’s a tough one no matter how you look at it. In the past I have generally stayed far away from church on Mother’s Day. This one will be a fake-it-till-you-make it kind of year.

    • A custom I remember, because I lost my mother when I was 3, is that a white carnation is worn for deceased moms, and a red carnation for living moms. I felt like you about not liking mother’s day too. Even if I did wear a white carnation. Being a mother myself has lessened that blow. Took me a long time to forgive her for leaving me.

      • I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I like what Becky says; perhaps if we were all encouraged to think of the many women who care for us as our mothers, the loss of one in particular would not sting quite so much on this particular day. And the same goes for the women who do not have children of their own. Perhaps.

  3. While not every woman is a mother, every woman has a mother. If we celebrate our own mothers, no one can be left out.

  4. Celebrations like Mothers’ Day can exclude so many and it is good to hear that all women are honoured in some parishes. The people that we are depends on the influence of so many others whether they are mothers or not. The same applies to Fathers’ Day – no one should be excluded.

  5. This reminds me of what has happened in my parish. Some years ago our parish priest gave a daffodil to all the mothers and grandmothers. Having some left, he invited the religious sisters to come forward. As we left the church only two women didn’t have a flower, my friend and I who were unmarried and childless. (Writing that now I wonder if there were others, maybe younger women who hadn’t yet had children, but that was how it felt at the time.) The following year we told the priest how excluded we had felt. Since then every woman has been included.


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