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A Mother’s Day Litany

Happy Mother's Day
Happy Mother's Day

This article originally appeared in the State Journal Register on Saturday May 7, 2022. 


For Mothers. For all of them. For the ones called Mother, or Mom, Ma, Mommy, Mama, or Uma. For the ones not named, remembered, or called anything.

For moms alive, and for those resting in peace. For moms we can visit today, and those we can’t.

For moms who’ve had the family they always wanted, raised children in economic security, sent them to great schools and seen them succeed. And for those who didn’t; who couldn’t.

For cookie-baking moms: The economically secure ones and the ones who work three jobs to keep their kids, and grandkids fed and housed and still bake cookies.

For career moms who teach their daughters and sons responsibility, interdependence, and the satisfaction of sharing their gifts and talents with the world.

For neighborhood moms who attract hordes of little ones with their kindness, spontaneity, and availability. For moms who are the safe place for kids abandoned, neglected, and afraid. For moms who raise children who do the same.

For moms who mourn: infertility, still births, miscarriages, abortions; the deaths of infants. For those who live in dread of losing children to violence, addiction, mental illness, war. And for those who have.

For would-be moms who long to give birth and cannot. For moms who adopt and foster; for moms who relinquish children to the loving care of others. For moms raising children with special needs.

For moms who keep it together—and those who don’t.

For men whose gentleness and wisdom imparts motherly love, too: dads and uncles, grandfathers and big brothers.

For the moms who shield their children from terrors. For refugee moms who flee with their children from war, danger, and abuse. For moms who watch their children die of starvation. For moms who sell their bodies so their children don’t starve.

For moms who are childless, but not without kids to nurture: the aunts and the grandmothers and all the best friends who are there for somebody else’s kids. For the Catholic Sisters who’ve mothered multitudes toward faithful lives, self-respect, good grammar, better penmanship, and the desire to live lives of Gospel justice.

For moms who are teachers, and lovers of art, music, and dance. For scouting moms and ball-game moms who schlep teams in minivans and never run out of snacks—or patience.

For moms securely seated on the pedestal of Social Norm—and those who fell off long ago.

For the teen moms. For moms raising kids with their wives. For their moms who support and love them.

For moms who organize: closets, vacations, and household budgets; neighbors, protests, unions, and shelter schedules. For the ones who put their bodies between children and violence, creating safe passage to school through gang-ridden streets.

For scientist and ecologist moms who know the future of all kids depends urgently on our care and respect for Mother Earth.

For the funny, creative, spontaneous moms who nurture joy. And for the quiet, thoughtful, studious ones. For moms who share their strong faith and deep values. And for moms who struggle and doubt.

In gratitude for and in awe of all moms everywhere, who birth, love, nurture, challenge, heal, relinquish, mourn, brave, live, and die, pointing the way forward on a path of courage, hope, and generative love for the life of the world.


Sister Elizabeth MurphySister Beth Murphy, OP, is the communications director for the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.

2 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Litany”

  1. Maureen Farmer

    This is so beautiful. Thank you, Sr. Beth for such an insightful, inclusive, and kind article.
    Blessings to you on Mother’s Day.

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