What is spiritual motherhood?
Spiritual motherhood is a fullness of maternity that God has desired and willed for the heart of every woman. It is a special role and gift given by God to women to nurture, encourage, protect, and to love the souls entrusted to our care. Spiritual motherhood is a huge part of your identity as a woman.
St. Edith Stein says: ““For an understanding of our unique feminine nature, let us look to the pure love and spiritual maternity of Mary. This spiritual maternity is the core of a woman’s soul. Wherever a woman functions authentically in this spirit of maternal pure love, Mary collaborates with her. This holds true whether the woman is married or single, professional or domestic or both, a Religious in the world or in the convent. Through this love, a woman is God’s special weapon in His fight against evil. Her intrinsic value is that she is able to do so because she has a special susceptibility for the works of God in souls — her own and others. She relates to others in His spirit of love.”
What does it look like to live out spiritual motherhood throughout different seasons of life?
“You are called to motherhood right now. Not next week, not next month. I’m absolutely convinced that God has placed people in your path and called you to motherhood. Your task is to love those that are weak, unhappy, helpless, and unloved. Sometimes you can do this just by saying one word. At other times you’ll just have to listen. In every life there is suffering; most people keep it inside. When they feel loved, they will open up and tell you about their suffering. Then you will find that by carrying other people’s suffering your own suffering becomes lighter.” (Alice Von Hildebrand)
The first step is to pray with the Lord and allow Him to first fill you up. Receive the love that God has for you as His daughter and then ask Him who are the people that you are entrusting to my care? This will look different for everyone because we all have different circumstances.
It is super easy to compare yourself to another woman’s journey but in all reality, you and I have completely different gifts and talents and walk in different seasons of life. Ask God who He is entrusting to your care and ask that you can be attentive to their needs. Women have a beautiful gift of intuition where we can really understand people and recognize that there is something deeper.
St. John Paul II always talks about making a gift of yourself to another and that is exactly what you are doing through living out spiritual motherhood. You are making a gift of yourself to the people entrusted to your care.
Once again, spiritual motherhood looks so different for every woman. For example, Meaghan’s love language is gifts; she loves baking and cooking for her friends or sending care packages when a friend is sick. The gift of yourself and giving your presence to others is huge. Being present and listening is so valuable for other people. Encouraging others around you who are doing things well or may be going through a hard time. Ask God where and how He is calling you to serve as a spiritual mother.
What is one piece of advice you want every young Catholic woman to know?
“Must all women become religious in order to fulfill their vocation as women? Certainly not … Whether she is a mother in the home or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind cloister walls, she must be a handmaid of the Lord everywhere … Were each woman an image of the Mother of God, a Spouse of Christ, an apostle of the divine Heart, then would each fulfill her feminine vocation no matter what conditions she lived in and what worldly activity absorbed her life.” Edith Stein