A few weeks ago there was a guest speaker at the Mothers Group at my parish. The speaker was Sister John Mary of the Sisters for Life. She grew up in this parish, we see her mom and dad every week at Mass, and actually her dad gave a very moving talk about Catholic parenthood at our baptism prep class. Man I love our parish! Anyway, Sister was actually home visiting them, but also stopped in to talk to the mothers who meet each week.
She talked about her own vocation story, how she discerned her call to be a Sister of Life, and also about how we as mothers could help our children be open to a vocation. She also spoke at length about the mission of the Sisters of Life and what they do each day. Which is amazing. Read more about them if you don’t already know!
One of the things she talked about that really spoke to me and I want to remember, was that they (the community of sisters) often pray about Mary’s life between the Annunciation and the Visitation. I love those two decades of the Rosary for that very opportunity, Mary’s human-ness is so evident. And I am always inspired to be obedient to God’s plan and to seek opportunities to serve like she did. Sister John Mary said the sisters try to see their life as swinging back and forth between “annunciation” experiences of God’s presence in prayers, and “visitation” experiences such as their apostolic life, out serving unwed and pregnant women as well as giving abortion healing retreats and doing whatever they can at the service of others. Classic religious live “ora et labora” work and prayer going on there, but in a specially feminine and relatable way. She was reminding us as Mom’s that this is something we can probably learn from and imitate in our own daily life.
She made lots more points that I want to remember and I was frantically trying to scribble down, such as:
- The power of the prayer of mothers. She said a number of times that mothers prayers do not go unanswered.
- She implored us to make time for “annunciation” experiences of God through prayer and not to spend all our time “visitation-ing” each day
- At birth the father needs an introduction to his child but a Mother does not because of the deep communion of pregnancy.
- Mothers: God uses your very self to give new life to the world.
- Critical ages of vocational discernment. 6, 16 and 26. And no matter what vocation each one of us, and each one of our children discerns, its never easy: “Whatever vocation you have, there is always laundry”
In conclusions, we have such a vital role in setting the stage for God’s plan in the way we love and prepare our children to hear and respond to God.
The big takeaway? Living together peacefully and generously is the foundation of every vocation.If we carry the presence of Christ in our hearts that that is what we can give to others, especially our children.