A Renewed Mother's Day: Mothers Day History and Real Meaning
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Mother's Day is around the corner and once again, America is missing her children. Only this time, it is much worse. Nothing has changed the demographics in our country as much as abortion has. The loss of life has far exceeded that of our civil war by almost 100 times. We need a renewal of Mother's Day. We need to recognize that we are casualties of the war with ourselves: Father turned against mother, mother turned against father, parents turned against their own children.
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Staten Island, NEW YORK (Priests for Life) - At its founding, Mothers Day was more than a sentimental day to honor our mothers with cards and tulips. It grew out of an effort to bring about healing and reconciliation to mothers on both sides of the battle lines who had lost their sons, brothers and husbands to the violence of the U.S. Civil War.
In the 1850s, Ann Reeves Jarvis started mothers clubs in what is now West Virginia to help address public health issues, and to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination," according to National Geographic. With the outbreak of the Civil War, which led to the separation between West Virginia and Virginia, the groups began tending to wounded soldiers in the North and South.
Undoubtedly, mothers nursed wounded and dying men as if they were comforting their own sons and husbands, praying that somebody was doing the same for theirs. The number of deaths attributed to the civil war is, conservatively, more than 600,000. These women witnessed death and devastation that not only did not discriminate between North and South, but changed the demographic of the country for at least two generations.
The country had never seen loss quite like this before. Post-war families were reeling from the wounds of division and war. America was grieving her lost children. There was a sense of desperation to bring healing, peace and reconciliation between Union and Confederate families. Ann Jarvis initiated a Mothers Friendship Day in about 1870 to try to bring about this reconciliation.
When Ann Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter Anna Jarvis sought to initiate a nationwide Mothers Day. In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May for the holiday.
Through the years the holiday was commercialized and Anna Jarvis felt it had lost its meaning. She believed it had become a day of capitalizing on sentimentality for financial gain and she began a campaign to reform the holiday. But despite her efforts to reclaim the holiday from what it had devolved into, Mother's Day was here to stay.
Mother's Day is around the corner and once again, America is missing her children. Only this time, it is much worse. Nothing has changed the demographic of our country as much as abortion has. The loss of life has far exceeded that of our civil war by almost 100 times.
The sense of desperation today is compounded by shame and silence. Because, unlike war, which is very public, abortion is often a secret loss. These children died by the choice of their parents. There is no doubt that so much death by abortion has adversely affected our nation. Our culture is experiencing hidden regret and grief that our society refuses to validate.
We need a renewal of Mother's Day. We need to recognize that we are casualties of the war with ourselves: Father turned against mother, mother turned against father, parents turned against their own children.
We need a resurgence of the kind of Mother's Day that recognizes the lie we have bought into and that gives voice to the loss that has affected us all. We need to bring back Mothers Day where we reach across the aisle to our bereaved sisters and brothers and help them find peace, healing and reconciliation.
To find resources for healing after abortion, visit www.AbortionForgiveness.com.
Victoria Garaitonandia Gisondi is the Public Outreach Associate of Priests for Life and a Mother of five
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