Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Mothers Mean to Catholic Charities

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Guest Post from Father John
President and CEO, Catholic Charities

Happy Mother's Day!

Earlier this week, I emailed all of our staff to ask them, in light of Mother’s Day, what do mothers mean to our work at Catholic Charities? Their responses really touched me, and I wanted to share them here with you:

"I currently work in supported employment but over the duration of my career in a people helping industry I have worked with numerous mom’s and many mothers. Mother’s Day to me is a celebration of mothers, women who dedicate their lives, their hearts and minds to nurturing a generation of life and hope. These wonderful women endure hardships, suffering, pain and give unconditionally to celebrate in the successes of a bright and loving future."
-Kristina, Catholic Charities' Kennedy Institute

I guess the best words describing mothers are love, care and faith. That is how I always think of my own mom, how she has been the God’s quiet instrument who will always reinforce His presence in our lives. 
-Rev. Dorsonville, Catholic Charities' Spanish Catholic Center

I have 5 sons who have wives, children and significant others. We all gather at my house every Sunday, so, you see, Mothers’ Day for me is year-round. My mother lives with me and is an amputee with asthma. She had 5 sons also, but has lost three of them. The time she spends with my sons and grandchildren is so special to her. 
In my work, I hear stories of mothers who do not have any kind of relationship with their children. I have invited some of them to our family gatherings. Some have formed lasting friendships with my people and now call them family. I am so lucky and blessed that I just need to share my blessings sometimes. That’s why I bring baked goods, candy, etc to work. It’s a great feeling to share.
-Dorothy, Finance
When I was young, I thought my mother was just like everyone else. She was the sweetest, kindest person I’ve met in my whole life, and that’s something that everyone would say. Her life was guided by kindness, faith and love for her church.
-Debi,  Immigration Legal Services

Mother’s Day is special for first time parents who have been blessed to have adopted a child. What a wonderful gift from God!
-Roselyn, Pregnancy and Adoptions 

We had six kids in our family, and when I was young, I remember thinking that I had to compete for attention, love and affection.  And when I was finally old enough to share those feelings with my mother, she made sure to give me some time and attention so she could explain to me about love. Love, she said, was a magical, wonderful gift.  It was the only gift that never ran out.  It was constantly available and renewable, by anyone who needed more, at any time.  She would have all the love I would need my whole life, not only for me, but for each and everyone in our family, and anyone else who needed it.  And she told me that I too, had the ability to call forth as much love as I would need to share with others.This really is  part of our human nature.  It just isn’t always something we recognize.
-Denise, Adult and Family Services

I am a mother but that’s not what makes Mother’s Day special for me, because prior to giving birth I always felt like a spiritual mother to whomever needed me. Mothers are giving of themselves and I pray I will eternally be a selfless giver to those in need. 
-Natosha, Catholic Charities

When I was a child, there were lots of knocks on our back door from people needing a little food, a little bit of money.  My mother gave something to everyone! When Catholic refuges were escaping Communist Hungary in 1956, she was an official 'sponsor' to anyone who needed a US destination, whether they were a relative or not. She housed them, fed them, did their laundry, taught them English and helped them find a job.
-Barbara, Volunteer under Ignatian Volunteer Corp Program

Who doesn’t feel tears to see the face of a woman in a famine ravaged country holding her starving children – helpless to ease their suffering?  Many of us will never get to a third world county to help those mothers directly.  We have homeless mothers who have nowhere to go with their children and no way to provide for their needs daily.   They too suffer and feel helpless and need others to help them out of poverty and homelessness.
-Sr. Mary Louise, Tenants Empowerment Network

Each woman has the opportunity to act the role of a mother in her life, whether or not she has children. Some women play the role of a mother for our clients; mother for a single father and his children; and mothers of our neighbors.
-Aminta, Refugee Center
When I think about Mother’s Day and what it means to my clients, I think of the sacrifice. A Salvadoran client of mine has been waiting for over 12 years for her immigration case to go through so she can become a permanent resident. Because of government delays, she still has another two years to wait. She recently learned from her family in El Salvador her elderly mother is very ill. My client desperately wants to go home to see her mother before she passes away, but if she leaves, she will abandon her immigration case and have to face a ten-year bar before she can return. She has three children here in the US and five grandchildren she supports. She has to make a choice between abandoning her life here in the US and all the family members who rely on her, or giving up the chance of seeing her mother one last time.This client exemplifies for me what Mother’s Day means to immigrant women – the mothers and grandmothers who bravely and quietly sacrifice so much of their own lives every day in the hopes that their children might have a brighter future. 
-Caitlin, Immigration Legal Services

Mother’s Day is special to me because I remember the VIP women in my family. My mother gave birth me at age 13 years and my grandmother who raised me.
-Tsedale, Hermano Pedro

No matter my age, single or married, or where my parents were living, wherever Mom was, there was Home. The house felt different with her in it in health and in sickness. When she was close by, all of us were well.
-Ray, Facilities and Administration

Mother’s Day is day of pride  and love both for and from your children.  No mother should ever have to feel like a failure.  When we provide a small bit of relief from their crisis, we see the light that should always be in their eyes. I guess Mother’s Day is a chance at rebirth of your love and hopes for yourself and the children you have been blessed with. In a way motherhood means knowing what you need to do for your children and hurting when you can’t provide it.
-Brenda, Southern Maryland Food Bank

Growing up, my mother was a medical interviewer for a study of children with Down’s Syndrome at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I used to go out to the homes of the families with her and play with the children while she interviewed their mothers. At 9 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher of these children when I grew up. I never really considered any career other than special education. My mom supported my dream all the way, and I am so grateful that she did. At 96, she still is my biggest cheerleader and has encouraged me throughout my career.
-Abby, Professional Development
For me, every single day is Mother’s Day - at home and in the workplace, I function unconditionally with love, respect & kindness…always going the extra mile. I do my best even when no one is watching!
-Cristina, Finance

Mother’s Day has provided the Outreach team an opportunity to connect mothers from different walks of life to each other, in this case mothers in need with those who have resources to share. Based on the Outreach Division’s recent visits with programs throughout the agency, we learned about the Early Head Start program at the Kennedy School. This program works with at-risk young moms and their babies who live in the District of Columbia. One of the needs for this program is basic infant and baby items: diapers, formula, books, educational toys, baby proofing gadgets. These are expensive items and many families struggle to provide them for their children. We reached out to a couple of parishes that we know have mothers groups of one form  or another and invited them to be part of this drive.  Not only will we likely have some items to donate to the Early Head Start Program (drive goes through the end of May) but it was a great way let moms in these parishes know about this CC program. 
-Jackie, Outreach Division

More Catholic Charities!

We’re collecting donations of new and gently-used baby clothes, diapers, and more for our “Beautiful Blessings” Baby Goods Drive throughout May!