When I was growing up, there were so many things I wanted to be — a pediatrician, a religious (I was always drawn to the Carmelite order), a Tim Hortons cashier (true story!), a social worker, and my list went on. After attending St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school in the United States, for four years, I continued on to university. I eventually graduated with a degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Toronto, in hopes of one day working with underprivileged children from all walks of life. However, God had other plans for me. He sent me my wonderful husband, Leo, then blessed us with our first child…and then seven more. (So, really, it seems my degree wasn’t that far off after all!) Obviously, ten more years of school was completely out of the question. God called me to motherhood.
I’ll be honest with you, being a mom to so many children, just thinking about the responsibility of raising them as upright citizens — smart, intelligent with the ability to make sound judgements — it was certainly daunting to say the least! Overwhelming even! I had to sit back and look at my life — I had to pray and read and pray some more. I mean, even when someone has an established career, there are always courses or training to keep up with one’s professional development, etc. Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual, and certainly doesn’t have all the courses simply laid out for you. You really have to advocate for your own knowledge and you learn rather quickly that, most of the time, experience is the best teacher. Yes, overwhelming is an understatement. Well, the only way I knew I could get through this was to realize…I am not in this alone.
We, mothers, have the most amazing Model to look up to — wait, not even just to look up to — She’s right beside us, more than we can ever know! If God chose Mary to be His Mother, and then in the most real way, gave Her to us, we are certainly NOT alone. I needed to believe that. I do believe that. It is the only way motherhood could be raised beyond the natural; and the only way I could do my job in this world – to one day give my children back to Him. That is our job — that’s our only job. Mary did just that! She gave birth to her Baby Boy, just to give Him back to the Father…for us! Once I had that ingrained in my heart, everything began to simply fall into place and make sense…every joy, every heartache, every failure, every challenge, every decision; and it became so much easier, as a mother, to face my calling.
And now, here I find myself humbly working for The Fatima Center. When I was first approached, I didn’t give an answer right away. In fact, I have to be honest, I kept thinking to myself: Where will I find the time? How is this even possible, when I’m still homeschooling six of my children? (Yes, I homeschool — we’ll talk later!) I was anxiously debating with myself for over a month. What should I do…?
It was during the week we had our parish’s beautiful pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima in our home, that a certain peace came over me. The decision suddenly became so clear and easy to make. Even my husband, who usually leaves it up to me when it comes to such things, had no doubt in his mind as to what I should do and was actually sincerely vocal about it.
So, I see this calling as a true blessing and privilege. I humbly accepted this call, because how could one not want to work for a place Our Lady holds so dear to Her heart!
However, there is another very important reason I also find myself here — we Catholic moms need to know that we have each other to lean on, especially in the times we’re living in when the very essence of motherhood is being trampled upon. We need to be there for each other; and together, we need to be there for Our Lady — because She is and always will be…right here for us. She will stand by us, just as She did for Her Son at the foot of the Cross.
With such a Mother as our very own, this Mother’s Day — and every day — “Let us run to Her, and, as Her little children, cast ourselves into Her arms with a perfect confidence.” (St. Francis de Sales)
To all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day…from the bottom of my heart. ❤