In every village throughout Latin America, no matter the size and history, it is most common to find a small park with a statue of a mother and child. It is always called “The Mothers’ Park” and throughout the year there are different celebrations there. Often the park has a fountain and flower gardens.
Each May, before Mothers’ Day, the parks are cleaned and the statues repainted and refreshed so that there can be a formal celebration in honor of the mothers, living and deceased. Throughout my years living and traveling in Latin America, I have enjoyed looking for these parks and especially noticing the art work, often exquisite, by some local artist rarely known beyond the community.
It is a simple fact that the family and home are kept intact by the heroic efforts, extraordinary resourcefulness and brutally hard work of the Latin American women. Anyone familiar with their difficult reality realizes that it is by the sheer will and force of these women that society goes forward each day.
Here, in the United States, the unique and special gifts of women are evident in our own public square as well. Not only are women in leadership in every arena but also many women heroically balance careers with an active family life. In our own community, examples are legion. Every week, I see women who are caring for a family, serving in the parish, attending an aging parent, working full or part time, caring for one who is sick, contributing to life in the community, getting married, giving birth, going to school and on and on. The women of our parish, as in parishes everywhere, are the engines that make things happen!
Whenever I have spoken with women about their lives in these days, it is common for many of them to recall their life growing up and their own mother. Over and again I have heard them say something like: “I don’t know how my mother did it!” The reality is, they “are doing it” every day of their lives, as well.
On this Mother’s Day let’s take the time to give thanks to God for our mothers and pray for them. Husbands, take the time to appreciate the mothers of your children and teach your children by your example how to appreciate their mothers for their selfless generosity and loving presence in your home. Though we do not have parks, fountains and flowers in honor of our mothers in Charlestown, we can build our own monuments to our mothers by our words, actions and love this day and throughout the year.