Remember all moms on Mother's Day Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 07, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) is recognized as the "mother of Mother's Day." She never married or had children, but as a child she heard her mother wish that there was a day to honor all mothers, living and dead.

She started the custom of wearing carnations on Mother's Day. White carnations were her mother's favorite flower because they symbolized a mother's pure love. Today, red and pink carnations are given to honor a living mother and white carnations to honor a deceased mother.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, shocked by the Civil War's bloodshed, organized a mother's day for peace. This prepared the way for today's Mother's Day.

One of my sophomore students once wrote, "I cannot find anything wrong with my mother. She is kind, forgiving, thoughtful, and patient. She constantly stresses the need for peace." Often mothers are peacemakers.

Atmosphere of prayer

St. Jean Vianney, patron saint of priests, said, "Virtues go easily from mothers into the hearts of their children, who willingly do what they see being done." He added that his mother "created an atmosphere of prayer that she almost breathed in her family’s life."

My mother had a deep devotion to Mary. She gathered our family like a hen gathers her chicks and led the family Rosary during October, Lent, and May.

She made sure we said our morning prayers, evening prayers, and meal prayers. Missing Mass on Sundays and holy days was unthinkable.

She made sure we did not take God's name in vain. She and Dad sacrificed to send us six children to Catholic schools, which built upon the foundation they laid at home.

Encouraging singer

Enrico Carouso wanted to quit singing after his music teacher said his singing sounded horrible. His mother encouraged him not to quit.

She sacrificed and walked barefoot to pay for his lessons. When Carouso became famous, he carried his mother's portrait with him.

He asked for her prayers before every performance. Her encouraging words lived in his heart and inspired him to become a great singer.

During his January 7, 2015, general audience, Pope Francis said, "Mothers, in their unconditional, sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies of war.

"They are not always listened to or helped in everyday life. Their contributions to society, their daily sacrifices, and their aspirations are not always properly appreciated."

Mothers multi-task

Mothers often multi-task. They cook, clean, and teach values. They become nurses when family members get sick.

They enrich their children and add meaning and beauty to their lives. They offer advice on relationships, trouble at school, or work.

Kate Samperi wrote "Before becoming a mother, I had a hundred theories on how to raise children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved."

A mother was asked which child she loved the most. She replied, "The child who at the moment most needs my love."

A sense of humor

Mothers need a sense of humor. A mother was having a dark day. The washer broke. Her husband was hospitalized. Unpaid bills came. The baby boy was crying. Desperately, she shoved a pacifier in his mouth and she began to cry.

The youngster stopped crying and studied her. Then he took the pacifier and put it in his mom’s mouth. She stopped crying and started laughing. Her day suddenly brightened.

Honoring mothers

Some mothers get the day off on Mother's Day. The family does her chores. They show her that they know how hard she works and love her for it.

When many mothers become older, they are honored with the title "grandmother."

On Mother's Day, we can honor our mother by calling her, giving her a carnation, taking her and our dad to dinner, or showing appreciation in other ways.

If she has died, we can pray for her or visit her grave. We can ask her to pray for us.

On Mother's Day, we can offer up our Communion for her. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!


Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.