Blessed be mothers

This month can prompt us to be generous with the time we give to accompany others, and to pray for mothers and the maternal figures in our lives.

I’ve always found the month of May to be a particularly nostalgic time in the liturgical year. Mother’s Day sits in the middle of the calendar with the opportunity to acknowledge and thank our mums and maternal figures.

For Catholics, this time of reflecting on parents is tripled. We begin the month by celebrating the Feast Day of St Joseph the Worker (only one of his names from a long list of titles we give to Joseph, stepfather of Jesus). We then have the entire month traditionally set aside to honour Mary, the mother of Jesus. Pope Francis has reflected that to “celebrate Mary is to celebrate the closeness and tenderness of God who is with His people, who does not leave us alone, who has given us a Mother who cares for us and accompanies us.” (1)

In our faith tradition, the saints are not given to us as distant figures. Rather, they are personable intercessors who accompany us in the spiritual life. Mary and Joseph can model parenthood for us in a way that ‘fills in the gaps’ for anything lacking from our own families. Their example also gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own role in accompanying others.

I appreciate that there are so many ways to receive and model motherhood that includes physical parenthood but also expands on it. May, and this centuries old tradition of honouring Mary, reminds us of that. “Both spiritual companionship and spiritual motherliness are not limited to the physical spouse and mother relationships, but they extend to all people with whom woman comes into contact.” (2) Hopefully this month serves as a reminder for us to thank all those who have been a companion to us at some point in our lives. Perhaps it can also prompt us to be generous with the time we give to accompany others.

I’d like to invite you to pray for mothers and the maternal figures in your life, with this prayer from the ACU Book of Prayer:

A Mother’s Day Litany (3)
Blessed be mothers and mother figures in our lives.
Blessed be our mothers who have passed.
Blessed be all new mothers.
Blessed be mothers who will never be.
Blessed be all mothers who find mothering difficult.
Blessed be mothers who struggle with addiction or mental illness.
Blessed be mothers who make mistakes.
Blessed be mothers who are homeless.
Blessed be mothers in war zones.
Blessed be mothers separated from us.
Blessed be mothers for their love, their inspiration, their sacrifices,
their care, their guidance, their struggles and their pain.
And, blessed be Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother.
Be with us Mary, Mother of Jesus.


Please feel welcome to collect a copy of the ACU Book of Prayer from your local Campus Ministry.

A spiritual reflection from Campus Pastoral Associate (students) Ellen Ringrose-Voase, Canberra campus.

  1. Castellano Lubov. D, ‘Pope: To celebrate Mary is to celebrate the tenderness of God’, Vatican News, 2023.
  2. Stein. E, ‘The Collected Works of Edith Stein: Essays on Women’, ICS Publications, vol. 2, 1987.
  3. ACU Book of Prayer, North Sydney: Australian Catholic University, 2021, (prayer by India Mitchell-Fletcher, Master of Teaching (Primary) p.13.

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