Mother’s Day, 2022: Honoring Four Models of Motherhood

A Blessed Mother’s Day to all Mothers, Grandmothers, Mothers to be!  And all artists and birthers and co-creators who are also mothers in their fashion.  (I think that covers all of us.) 

Julian of Norwich and her vision of the universe the size of a hazelnut, held together by the love of God. Icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM and sold through Trinity Stores.

I would like to salute four women who offer us needed insight about motherhood at this fraught time in human and planetary history.

First, is Julian of Norwich who lived through the bubonic plague of the 14th century and very likely lost her husband and child due to that pandemic that killed between one of two and one of three persons.  Yesterday’s news informed us that our current plague has currently killed 15 million humans around the world, over one million in the US.  It has also disrupted our lives profoundly from schooling to hospital care to the economy (spiking inflation and unemployment and much more).  Which in turn feeds political unrest.

Julian taught us that “God is delighted to be our Mother” and that “Christ is Mother” and that the essence of motherhood is compassion.  In this way, we are all called to be God-like and practice compassion in that most “nearest, readiest and surest” way that mothers do.  Julian is a leader in deconstructing patriarchy that has taken over western religion and education, law, business and economics over the seven centuries since her time.

“Sister Dot: A Modern Martyr”
Poster by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Second, is Sister Dorothy Stang (“Sister Dot” for those who knew her), born in Ohio and buried in Brazil.  Sister Dot was a champion of Mother Earth, indeed she deserves to be a patron saint for all those defending Mother Earth.  She spent 42 years serving her and the peasant peoples of the Amazon region in Brazil.  She set up schools, worked to empower the farmers and families, women and men, of the rainforest that was so under attack by giant conglomerates committed to destroying the forest.  Sister Dot was gunned down one day while walking alone down a dirt path by three gunmen who ambushed her and left her 72 year old body lying in the dirt and her own blood.  Before they gunned her down she had just enough time to reach into her backpack and pull out her Bible and start reading the Beatitudes to her killers. 

At her funeral, a peasant farmer got up and declared, “Sister Dorothy, we are not burying you, we are planting you.”  She is one of tens of thousands of martyrs in Latin America in our lifetimes who stood up to defend the poor and those without power including the rainforest itself from human and corporate exploitation in South America.  She reminds us that there is a price to pay for loving Mother Earth in times like ours.  That generosity matters.  

To be continued.

See Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 45-58, 102f.  

And Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, pp. 341-343, 443, 448.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Photo of DMMF Team Member, Rev. Jerry Maynard and his mother. Photo used with permission.

Queries for Contemplation

What is Julian saying to you this Mother’s Day?  What is Sister Dot saying to you also?

Recommended Reading

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

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8 thoughts on “Mother’s Day, 2022: Honoring Four Models of Motherhood”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, On this Mother’s Day anniversary, of launching our Daily Meditations, you ask us in our Queries for Contemplation: “What is Julian saying to you this Mother’s Day?” Julian of Norwich who lived through the bubonic plague of the 14th century is giving us confidence that we will recover from our current plague which has currently killed 15 million humans around the world, and over one million in the US. Julian has also taught us that “God is delighted to be our Mother” and that “Christ is our Mother” and that the essence of motherhood is compassion. In this way, we are all called to be God-like and practice compassion in that most “nearest, readiest and surest” way that mothers do.
    “What is Sister Dot saying to you also?” Sister Dorothy Stang, being a champion of Mother Earth, is saying to us that we too need to be champions for Mother Earth. And maybe, just maybe, if we can be mothers of God in our birthing of God, we can be mothers of the earth in our mothering the earth !!!

  2. Avatar
    Marcia perryman

    Yes the journey of motherhood is about faith and be not afraid no matter what. These two women walked one step at a time despite fear and loneliness. Thanks for the inspiration and for the inclusion of all the non biological creators in the world…happy mother’s day everyone.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    For every good thing, there is a time and a season. Some of us are in the gestation phase, some are going through the laborous birthing pains, some have given birth and now must nurture and tend to this birth, some are in various stages of growth and evolutionary development, some are maturing, reaping the fruits of their long standing efforts, some are preserving wisdom gained and mentoring, passing this onto others, some are in transition, ending and entering the rest and mystery of new beginnings. No matter the time and the season… every inherent good thing is, was and ever shall be… unfolding, evolving and emerging… from within!

  4. Avatar

    On this Mother’s Day, and the celebration of the third anniversary of these Daily Meditations I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to you Matthew, for birthing daily!! Meditations that have kept me and many close the beating heart of Creation Spirituality. It is an honor to serve on your DMMF team. Thank you for your amazing gift of drawing from a lifetime of study, experience, abundant curiosity and holy dedication to offer courage, hope and faith in this pivotal moment in our species’ evolution. Thank you for your fearless capacity to face power with truth again and again. Thank you for offering us gifts of The Holy Spirit ever present in your teachings. Thank you for being both father and mother as the post modern voice of Creation Spirituality. Thank you! Ellen Kennedy

  5. Avatar

    Mother’s Day should also remind us all of the Loving Living Creative Source of Mother~ Father Creative Spirit Present with-in All of us on our co-Creative spiritual journeys as compassionate Beings~becoming and evolving eternally with-in one another, Mother Earth and all Her creatures, and our spiritual multiverse Cosmos… our Loving Diverse Oneness Cosmic Christ….

  6. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, I too want to congratulate you on three years of this Daily Meditation. Your wisdom is a guide to many people, and many trust you as our spokesperson for Creation Spirituality. I personally thank you for the opportunity to be a small part of your ministry which is a ministry of “truth telling” to the world. You are our Elder Brother…

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