In the Catholic Church, being a mother is not just about having children: it’s a calling from God to raise and nurture them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
As Pope Francis said, “Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centered individualism… It is they who testify to the beauty of life” (Amoris Laetitia, 174-175). Without mothers, society would be dehumanized, and the faith would lose a good part of its warmth.
With Mother’s Day coming up soon, it’s a great opportunity to show appreciation for all the amazing mothers in our lives, and to celebrate the important role that mothers play in passing down faith and values to the next generation.
We asked people from across the Diocese of Palmerston North to share some reflections on their mothers, and on being mothers themselves.
Thank you to everyone who provided such thoughtful and poignant reflections!
As a mum myself, I believe that being nurturing, patient, and kind are crucial qualities to have when it comes to being a good mother. Thanks to my own mother’s influence, I have a strong sense of right and wrong and that equal opportunity should be given to everyone.
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned from my mother is that if an opportunity presents itself, take it. This advice has been particularly valuable at work, and has enable me to embrace opportunities to learn, develop new skills and gain new roles. I really admire my mum’s independence and perseverance when things are not going well. Life as a working mother is a constant juggle and perseverance certainly helps!
Watching my mum spend time with her grandchildren and pass on her skills and knowledge to them is something I treasure. My children really enjoy the time they spend with their grandmother, and I think it is amazing they have this opportunity as not all children have grandparents they can spend time with. Love for your children will endure above everything else, and that’s something I’ve learned from my mother.
As a mother, some of my favourite memories include feeding my children when they were babies, sitting with them as they fell asleep, spending quality time with them by going to playgroup, music group, etc.
Our family celebrates Mother’s Day by coming together for a meal and spending quality time together with three generations of family.
Becoming a mum has made me more patient and tolerant of different situations and people, and it has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
A good mother should be tender, warm, and attentive to her children’s needs, demonstrating her love in the way she cares for them.
From my mother, I learned valuable skills such as cleaning, cooking, and household chores that have made me a better partner to my wife and allowed me to break away from traditional gender roles.
Dancing and singing with my mother are some of my fondest memories. Her love for these activities inspired me to pursue my own passions and interests.
As a stay-at-home mum, my mother helped me to learn the values of family connection, good manners, and respect, which have shaped my beliefs and personal growth.
Everything I am good at today, I have learned from my mother. She is tenacious, she doesn’t back down and she is very justice-minded: all qualities I admire, and which have inspired me to stand up for what I believe in and fight for fairness.
As my mother lives overseas, we celebrate Mother’s Day by sharing memories and sending phone calls and small gifts to show our love and appreciation for her. This day is meaningful to us as a time to honour and cherish the bond between mother and child.
For the question on important qualities of a good mother, I would say that a good hugger, someone who builds you up, and who really knows you are crucial for creating a loving and supportive relationship.
From my mother, I have learned invaluable lessons such as how to parent and set up the next generation, the importance of knowing my worth, and what true love in a committed marriage looks like. Additionally, my mother taught me that a good meal can solve a lot of problems, which has definitely come in handy over the years!
When it comes to being a good mother, I think qualities like patience, tolerance, compassion and being a good listener are key.
Growing up we’d always go to mass on Mother’s Day, then gather at someone’s house for morning tea or lunch. We always had lots of extended family around, so my memories of Mother’s Day always involve lots of people, yummy food, and tearing around with my cousins. And presents for Mum of course! I always loved those big family gatherings – now that I don’t live in the same city as my parents or sisters things are a bit different, so we usually catch up over the phone or video chat.
As a Catholic mother, one of the biggest challenges I face is raising my children in a secular society, especially with my husband not being Catholic. It can feel like a lot of pressure to be solely responsible for my children’s faith. To incorporate my faith into my family life, we attend mass regularly, say prayers at nighttime, listen to Christian music, and have discussions around the dinner table. Being part of a Passionist Family Group has also helped us feel part of a Catholic community.
For other Catholic mothers struggling to balance their faith and motherhood, my advice would be to not feel guilty about not doing it “properly”. It can be difficult, especially without much support, so just do what you can and make faith a normal part of your everyday life.
My mother has taught me valuable lessons throughout my life. She was always right about things, especially about people, and her advice has helped me in many ways. She also raised us in baptism and taught us about Christ, which has had a significant impact on my values and beliefs. Losing my brother as a teen has also taught me to treasure family and loved ones.
My mother has shaped my values and beliefs by showing me the power of prayer and the importance of faith. When I have been doubtful in faith and trust, or in grief, sadness, or sickness, I have found some peace at times and hope. As I have grown older and had my own children, I have become more like her and value her opinions and presence.
I admire my mother’s love, care, and acts of service, as well as her faith and passion for sharing her knowledge. Her actions have inspired me to be more loving and compassionate towards others.
I remember as a kid on Mother’s Day bringing mum breakfast in bed, cooking her a meal, or doing the cleaning. I think one year we put chickens in her room!
I always believed the saying no one is perfect. But when I held my newly born baby girl I remember beaming and saying, “She’s perfect! She’s perfect!” I truly felt so in love with her.
Motherhood has changed me in so many ways; I’ve experiened so much joy and love through my children. I also feel the presence of loved ones who have passed away through my children, which has been incredibly rewarding.
As a Catholic mother, I have faced the challenge of wanting to get my children baptised but my partner not sharing my beliefs. We say prayers before dinner though and sometimes at bed time. My children want to know about Jesus and I want to teach them: I think my mother is one of the best people to help tell the children about faith. I want to incorporate more when I can and keep attending church – the children love going to church. Being in a mother’s prayer group as a new mum was very valuable.
To me, the most important quality of a good mother is the ability to express love.
My mother taught me to keep going and stand on my own two feet. She raised four children on her own after the death of my father, and she showed me that sometimes in life you just have to dig deep and carry on. She also taught me the importance of having cold drinks!
The most significant memories I have with my mother are the two big road trips we took with my sisters (you couldn’t write a script more entertaining if you tried).
When I became a mother, I thought I would stop caring so much about work, but it turns out I still work just as hard. The rewards are plenty at the moment, but the challenges will come in about ten years.
As a Catholic mother, the biggest challenge I have faced is the pressure to conform to certain expectations and identities within the Church. It can be a confusing space to navigate without losing sight of my own beliefs and values.
In my opinion, the most important qualities of a good mother are unconditional aroha, kindness, empathy, and the ability to teach your child about life.
My mother taught me that I am a special human being and that God made me for a reason. Life is a gift, and I need to make the most of it by making the world a better place, being a good person, and taking care of my family. She also taught me to help people if I can because not everyone else has someone to do that. God is always there in good times and bad times; never give up because there is always hope.
My favorite memories with my mother include coming home from school to find that she had afternoon tea ready for us, doing the church flowers with her, going on a holiday to Sydney together, and spending time with her when she came to live with me for two months while building her home. These moments were significant to me because they were one-on-one moments where we could chat about life and bond.
Some of my mum’s best sayings are: “If you think strongly about something, do something about it” (social justice); “Birds of a feather flock together” (choose your friends carefully); “If something is worth doing, do it properly” (always work hard). These values have carried me well in my life and still do today.
My mum said that being a mum was such an amazing thing that she treasured. I always felt loved and valued. That is amazing as she had five children!
I admired my mother’s amazing faith and belief in God. Her high standards and expectations made me achieve things beyond my imagination. She taught me that education was everything and that I should always try my best. I admired the way that she reached out to people in need, and I try to do the same. My mother always helped me no matter what, and her kindness and generosity continue to inspire me to this day.
I celebrate Mother’s Day in my heart. My mother has sadly passed away, but if she were alive, we would have a special afternoon tea with all her beautiful china. I go to Mass and always keep her in my prayers. At home, I light a candle in her memory, because as a child mum always had 20c for me after church to light a candle and say my prayers. I thank God I am a mum, and I also thank God for my mum (although I do this regularly). I tell my son why being his mum is so special to me.
Being a mother has been the best experience of my life! I only have one child and he is a gift from God. The most rewarding aspects of being a mum are seeing my child grow, reach new milestones, and be happy! When he tells me he loves me, I feel like I am on top of the world. Family is priceless, and I appreciate being a mother every day. I never take being a mum for granted.
As a Catholic mother, I have faced challenges from people in my life who do not understand why sending my child to a Catholic school is so important to me. They also do not understand why going to Sunday Mass is such an essential part of our family life. Sometimes, non-Catholics make fun of our practices, and that can be hurtful.
My faith has influenced my approach to motherhood in a profound way. We try to live each day by the ‘Greatest Commandment’ and make the most of the gift of life that God has given us. We pray for people in our lives. We reconcile with each other if things have gone wrong and we ask for forgiveness. We thank God for what we have in our lives. We go to Mass on a Sunday as a family.
My advice to other Catholic mothers who are struggling to balance their faith and motherhood is to remember that faith and motherhood go hand in hand. We should live by the ‘Greatest Commandment’ and see faith as a precious gift that we should treasure. Be proud to be Catholic, and be proud to be a Catholic mum! Yes, Sunday Mass can be a challenge, but faith is a challenge if we truly believe in God. I was so blessed that my mother gave me my faith, so giving your child faith is priceless.
A mother plays many roles over the course of her child’s/children’s life. First and foremost it is to love unconditionally – to be there to nuture, listen to, advise and support. My mother has taught me many valuable lessons throughout my life, but two that have stood out are “You don’t always get it right but it doesn’t mean you should give up,” and “Only give advice to adult children when requested – bite your tongue if you disagree with their parenting techniques.” These lessons have been invaluable in my interactions with my own children.
As the only daughter in a family of five siblings, the times I spent with my mother were precious to me. We practiced, refined, and often challenged the expected roles of females in a household of males. In the later years of my mother’s life, it was the friendship that grew through our shared experiences of motherhood that were most significant.
My mother was the glue that molded our family together. She taught me the value of giving, never expecting anything in return. She showed me that it is possible to follow your dreams and still be a loving and loved mother. Her teachings have influenced my personal growth and development in many ways.
I hope my relationship with my mother has influenced my relationships with other people in a positive way. I hope she is proud of both my achievements and the way I interact with others. I’d like to think I view others through the eyes of Jesus and demonstrate compassion, forgiveness and support to all those I encounter.
The thing I admire most about my mum is the way she managed to juggle many roles while still being able to give her undivided attention to her role as a mother. She has certainly been my benchmark when I have felt overwhelmed by the demands on my own time. Just thinking about her in these times helps me reflect on what is important in my life.
Mother’s Day has always been, and still is very much a low-key affair in our family. It has never been about giving lavish presents but more about relationships. As our children have grown into adulthood, married, and had families of their own, it is a day to remember and reflect on and acknowledge the importance of motherhood.
The elation at the birth of my three children, being part of their growth and journey into adulthood, and celebrating with them the highs and lows they each encountered along the way are my favourite moments of motherhood. Also the pride I feel in being part of the development of these well-rounded, hardworking, caring, and compassionate adults.
Motherhood has certainly softened me as a person. It’s about putting the needs of others before your own personal wishes. It has also made me more patient, understanding and compassionate.
I’d like to think my faith has and continues to shape me as a person, whether as an individual, wife or mother. It is my faith that gives me direction – that influences my decisions in all aspects of my life. The greatest challenge as a Catholic mother has definitely been when my three children, as adults, drifted away from the church. While the basic principals and values are still evident in their daily lives, they argue that attending mass does nothing for them.
My advice to other Catholic mothers would be to do what you think is right and ignore the derogatory comments of others. We all do things differently according to the circumstances. It is your life, your faith so stand up for what you believe in.
As a Catholic mother, I have been shaped by the values and beliefs instilled in me by my own mother, as well as my mother-in-law. While my mother may not have had a close relationship with Jesus, she demonstrated love, compassion, and forgiveness in her own way, despite not receiving these qualities from her own mother. In turn, my mother-in-law, who was a convert to Catholicism, inspired me to live a simple faith-filled life and be a loving mother.
Through the challenges of motherhood, my faith has been a source of comfort and guidance, and I strive to incorporate it into my family life as much as possible. My husband and I share the ups and downs of parenthood together and are fortunate to be surrounded by a faith community that instills values of love, compassion, and truth.
One of the most significant rewards of motherhood is the opportunity to create happy memories with my family, such as holidays filled with laughter and fun. Being a mother has also taught me the importance of unselfishness, unconditional love, and finding joy in life’s simple moments.
While prejudices can be challenging, particularly from non-practicing Catholics, I remain committed to my faith and trust in Jesus to guide me in balancing my responsibilities as a Catholic mother.
On Mother’s Day, my family and I prioritise spending time together, often attending Mass and sharing a meal. It is a bittersweet day, as both my own mother and mother-in-law have passed away, but I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with my own children, who are now parents themselves. Ultimately, Mother’s Day is a reminder of the love, compassion, and joy that motherhood brings.