How would we celebrate without our mothers? Imagine birthday parties without shopping lists full of food, drink, and decorations. Think of a dinner party without clean dishes, candlelight, or the soap dispenser in the bathroom being refilled. Would anyone hear from your family at Christmas time without your mother’s stationary, stamps, and time spent filling out festive cards? All of these things can be accomplished by men, of course, but by and large, they speak to the attention of a woman. There is a reason we talk about homes and special events needing a “woman’s touch.” That reason is that women have a gift for the particular.
On May 13, 2017, it will be 100 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, with a message of peace, but a grave warning as well. Unlike many of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which all are obviously serious in nature), this particular apparition seems to stand out above the others in its intensity and gravity concerning the future of mankind. The world was (and still is) embarking on the path of disaster. The turn of the 20th Century was a time of great progress with the advent of the automobile, moving pictures (cinema), radio, television, aviation, industry, etc. It was a time that brought tremendous change in the way we lived our lives. The so-called “Roaring Twenties” ushered in a time of economic boom and a new type of rebellion, expressed through fashions and behavior. We saw women break from the conventions of the Victorian era (e.g., the flapper) and display a flagrant disregard for social mores through their dress, or lack thereof, in addition to the heavy consumption of alcohol triggered by the Prohibition laws of the time.
My mother began practicing the art of pysanky when I was a kid. I assume it was so she could do something away from us children. Making something beautiful was just a bonus. Pysanky (the word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax) egg decorating is a complex and painstaking process, and I really had no interest in getting anywhere near it in my young parenting years – eggs, hot wax, permanent dye, and small children are one of those combinations that parenting books warn you about. But then one year, my very youngest, very artistic sister came to live with us while she finished up her last year of college. And it just so happened that my small children had, by this time, become sort of grown up children who adored their fashionable and artistic aunt. So, pysanky.
As a prominent Patroness of my diocese, Our Lady of Guadalupe gradually made a home for herself in my life after I saw numerous images of her and heard saintly people asking for her intercession. However, my love for her as my Mother – for this is how she revealed herself to St. Juan Diego – was not truly nourished until I was on the brink of graduating High School . . . with a completely open future in front of me.