Yes, I know that it’s going to be Father’s Day this Sunday but recently I was trying to catch up on some reading and came across an article in the Catholic Times, our diocesan newspaper. The article, entitled “Dominicans bless gift of ‘peace’,” talks about the Adrian Dominican Sisters marking Mother’s Day by installing a Peace Pole on the grounds of their retreat and conference center. It said in the article that this ceremony was reconnecting Mother’s Day to its original meaning. This had me intrigued. I had assumed that the day was simply meant to thank mothers for all that they do.
Later in the article it said that originally Mother’s Day, proposed by Julia Ward Howe, was “an event to focus on striving towards world peace in response to the death and destruction wrought by the U.S. Civil War.” Howe wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation calling all “women who have hearts” to come together to plan ways to put an end to war. “Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
Somehow over the years this original meaning of Mother’s Day has been lost.
Now we also “allow our [daughters] to be trained to injure theirs.”
Perhaps now, more than ever, as war still rages on, we must revisit this proclamation. But, perhaps this should not only be a Mother’s Day Proclamation. This should also be a Father’s Day Proclamation and a proclamation that we take into our hearts the rest of the days of the year also, teaching (and relearning for ourselves) charity, mercy, and patience on our way to becoming “too tender of those of another country.”