Happy Mother’s Day

Carol Flinders writes in Enduring Lives, “There are families in South India that trace their ancestry back through the maternal line, and a friend who grew up in one of these clans used to swear that right along with the DNA, spiritual awareness flows down the mother-line…‘like a river.’” (p. 3)

Think of that lineage in Christianity. It includes some formidable women who came before us and cheer us on: Esther, Deborah, Mary Magdalene, Lydia, Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Dorothy Day, Thea Bowman. They are a powerful “cloud of witnesses” that understand the human struggle and support us through it. Each represents, within her own time and culture, a flowering of compassion, generosity and creativity that mark her as a descendant of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. “Like mother, like daughter.”

Now we continue this flow of abundant grace and virtue. The support of other women has contributed significantly to the contemporary flowering of women’s art, poetry, music, drama, enhanced roles in science, politics, medicine and business. While advances in those fields garner most of the attention, quieter support systems also thrive: a mother telling her daughter she needn’t endure an abusive husband, a friend who fills in for the mother of an autistic child, giving her a much-needed break, women whose gifts take the form of listening intently, parenting well, being a faithful friend or spouse. The rallying cry of black women in South Africa describes their community: “You have struck the women; you have struck the rock.”

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