What Is Motherhood?

Posted on May 8, 2023 by Published by

While we seem to always think about motherhood in the physical aspect, there is also an aspect of motherhood called spiritual motherhood.

To understand spiritual motherhood, St John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter in 1988 called MulierisDignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) where he says, The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. … This entrusting concerns women in a special way —precisely by reason of their femininity — and this in a particular way determines their vocation. … A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting. (30)

This is an important piece to help us open our minds to the idea that motherhood can expand beyond maternity. Spiritual motherhood is the universal vocation for all women and God entrusts them to help care for humanity — to pray for them, to nurture them, and to be an example to them.

And there is no better example of spiritual motherhood than the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the ultimate mother and as St John Paul II wrote, Mary is the “figure” of the Church: “For in the mystery of the Church, herself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin came first as an eminent and singular exemplar of both virginity and motherhood …The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the firstborn among many brethren (cf. Rom 8: 29),namely, among the faithful. In their birth and development, she cooperates with maternal love.”

Mary offers maternal comfort to those who are struggling with the virtues of motherhood and is an inspiration to us all. She reminds us of the special bond mothers have with their children and that this incredible bond is truly a gift from God always to be celebrated. Let us look to our heavenly Mother as we move forward in both physical and spiritual motherhood.

What Is a Spiritual Mother?

  • One who nurtures others to become who they are meant to be in God’s eyes.
  • Recognizes, affirms, and protects human dignity.
  • Performs spiritual and corporal works of mercy with maternal care.
  • Helps others with encouraging words.
  • Prays for and with others, especially priests.
  • Practices the art of friendship and hospitality.
  • She is a joy catalyst.
  • She keeps Christ close in her heart by imitating Mary.
  • She is a woman of holy influence who raises saints.

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