Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

This is the first Mothers Day I have faced without a mother on earth

On this Mother's Day I mourn the loss of my earthly mother Ellen and draw strength and hope in reflecting on Mary, the Mother of the Lord, my heavenly mother. I believe that hat the motherly love which my mother revealed so beautifully to me has now found its fulfillment. I know she is in the communion of love with the Mother of Jesus. I will offer a crown of roses to that dear mother by praying the prayer my mother taught me as soon as I could speak, the prayer we call the Rosary. Somehow, I know it will help to ease the sorrow and point me in the right direction, the triumph of love.

Mother working with her children

Mother working with her children


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

5/12/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Mothers day, mary, Mother, Rosary, Hail Mary, death, Moms day, Motherly Love, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - It is Mothers Day and our hearts and minds turn to the woman who gave us life and showed us the beauty of steadfast love throughout our entire lives. This is the first Mothers Day I have faced without a mother on earth. On Tuesday, March 4, 2013, my beloved mother Ellen died in her sleep. She had struggled for months as her aging body ran out of steam.  She never fully recovered from the loss of the love of her life, her husband and my father, Duval who died in 2001. She died the day after his birthday.

I remember her last question to me the day before when we spoke over the phone, "Keith, when can I go home?"  She barely had the strength to speak. Her body was unable to support her on legs which simply seemed unwilling to cooperate any longer. It was so hard to hear her ask me when she could go home. I knew she meant that the little cinder block house where she and my dad lived. The home where they raised Derek, my youngest brother who was born the year I left home. I also knew that was not the home to which she would go to when Love finally called her.

On the day before she died I told her on the phone that Laurine - my wife whom she loved as her own daughter - and I would be coming to visit with her again on Easter weekend. She took comfort in the thought. Sadly, I knew her short term memory was not working well. I hoped she would remember. I was able to pray with her over the phone. I will forever remember that precious experience. I looked forward to the opportunity to hug her again, kiss her, and pray with her in person as I had done at Christmas. 

Over Christmas, knowing she was nearing that final chapter of life, my whole extended family drove, from all over the country, to be with Ma, or Nana as the children and grandchildren called her. I did not know how physically depleted she had become in her last illness before that last visit. After all, she always had that reassuring and happy voice, accompanied by that wonderful breathy laugh, whenever we spoke on the phone.

When we commended her to the Lord and placed her next to my father in final repose, the grief I felt was only slightly relieved by the sure and certain faith I have in the triumph of Love and the final Resurrection. Yet, when I received the first of several well intended E mails this morning from friends encouraging me that she was in the presence of the Lord - which I believe with my whole heart-  I discovered that the emotions surrounding her loss are still just below the surface, only too eager to erupt again.

Grief and love are companions.  I often tell others in my work as a Deacon of the Catholic Church, that the depth of the grief is a sign of the depth of the love; another face of love. Today, I am speaking those words to myself. However, they do not take away the pain. They only help to soften the ground within which they must be planted in order to bear the fruit which all love bears. Jesus said it so simply, "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. " (John 12:24) It will take much more time and care from the Lord to give this loss the growth. I am profoundly sad today and I know the sting of death.

A priest friend captured the mystery and beauty of motherhood so well for me in the days after Ma's death when he wrote "Dear Deacon, she will be remembered today and I will offer a Holy Mass for her soon. I know the sting; it is unique with mother, our life bearer." Mothers are life-bearers. I was privileged this morning to give my dear wife of 37 years, Laurine, a mother's day card. She is such a good mother and grandmother. As we grow old together, that face of love becomes all the more wondrous to me. I love to watch her smile when she embraces our five grown children and six grandchildren. She gives expression to that love which Mother's alone can bring to each of us. It is irreplaceable.

Motherhood is a unique gift from the Lord. Jesus had a mother. It is our mother who gave us life. It is the Mother of the Lord who continues to give us the gift of the One who is Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. Each year as we express the gratitude we feel for our earthly mother, I am increasingly drawn to reflect on one of the last gifts the Lord gave to us before his total gift of Himself on the Cross, the gift of His mother to be our own. May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of the Lord. This is no coincidence.

Jesus called her Mother. As one of his last and greatest gifts to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church, he entrusted her with these tender words recorded in the Gospel of John: When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son. Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26, 27)

Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the often called hidden years in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer, every word and every act was redemptive, revealing the very life of God, the mystery of heaven touching earth, and the deeper purpose of our own lives. She was there in those moments whose impact is timeless. They are still as filled with the invitation of grace today as they were when they first occurred.

She was there on the great day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, which we will soon celebrate. She was there as the first evangelizer and disciple who gave the first Christian testimony to her cousin, Elizabeth, and won the first convert in utero in the person of John the Baptist. This event, traditionally called The Visitation, is recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke l: 39-45).

This encounter immediately followed the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:6-38) and is one of the fruits of her humble obedient response. That response was not a onetime reaction. It was the fruit of a life of surrendered love and stretched forward to characterize her whole life on this earth and her participation in the eternal communion of Saints.
Her Fiat ( Latin, let it be done) in response to the visitation from the messenger of heaven, the angel, provides a way to live for each one of us.

Mary said Yes to the invitation to love and she humbled herself. She confronted her own fears and she entered into a way of living. All of this in continued response to an original invitation of love, a gift, initiated by a loving God. Through this response, she assumed a lifestyle of receiving and giving, she became a fruitful woman, a God-bearer or Mother of God (which in Greek is Theo-tokos). She brought forth the Incarnate Word of God!  Her Yes, her humble surrender, reflects a trajectory of love and is a prototype of the vocation of every Christian to bear the fruit of surrendered love in their lives as well.

There is a way of life and love that all men and women are invited into - not just once, but daily. It is the path to authentic peace and the portal to the very mystery of life itself. It is what Christian Scripture calls the more excellent way, the way of love. Mary understood and walked this way with extraordinary humility. (1 Cor. 12:31) Mary, the mother of the Lord shows us the pattern of human love surrendered to God's Love and finding its fulfillment. She also shows us the love of a mother made perfect in Jesus Christ.

Is it any wonder that the early Christians painted her image in the catacombs during their moments of fear, persecution and doubt? They found great inspiration from this woman of great faith. In her yes they came to understand that ordinary people can change human history. They were inspired to add their own yes, their own fiat to hers.

Justin Martyr and other early Christian apologists found in her obedient yes to the angel, the undoing of the no - I will not serve - which had been given by the first woman Eve. They gave Mary such titles as The Second Eve, the mother of a new creation. In her womb she carried the One whom Scripture calls the New Adam. He was born from her as the first born of a new race of men and women who would find a new birth through His Life, Death and Resurrection. In Him we are all made capable of giving our Yes to God. Through Grace we find the fullness of freedom that brings.

On this Mother's Day I mourn the loss of my earthly mother Ellen and draw strength and hope in reflecting on Mary, the Mother of the Lord, my heavenly mother. I believe that hat the motherly love which my mother revealed so beautifully to me has now found its fulfillment. I know she is in the communion of love with the Mother of Jesus. I will offer a crown of roses to that dear mother by praying the prayer my mother taught me as soon as I could speak, the prayer we call the Rosary. Somehow, I know it will help to ease the sorrow and point me in the right direction, the triumph of love.

Happy Mother's Day.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'No more baby parts': How will Congress deal with the alarming Planned Parenthood shooting? Watch

Image of


A shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three people dead last week is only expected to inflame passions of both sides of the political spectrum - as well as giving lawmakers, returning from their holiday break, ... continue reading

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN UTAH? You won't believe what happened to the Body of Christ when it was placed in water (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of


A miraculous bleeding communion wafer has presented itself at a Utah Church. Followers from the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Salt Lake City have claimed the sacrament bled for three days after it was placed in water following communion. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the United States Watch

Image of Mexican drug lord,


Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán leads the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports has the most influence of all gangs in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The DEA released an unclassified report that indicates the ... continue reading

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Pope Francis does the unthinkable following emotional tragedy in ...
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for?
  • 'Body lifted from the ground': Young Central American woman dies ...
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More