TULSA: Vocation of spiritual motherhood for priests

I was alerted to this very good item on the website of the Diocese of Tulsa

Bishop Slattery continues to impress. 

You will remember his statement after pro-abortion Catholics Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and VP candidate Sen. Biden (D-DE) made their scandalous gafs about the Church’s teaching on life.

You will remember his strong instruction about sacred music.

Now there is this spiritual approach to give support to priests of the diocese.

Potential Spiritual Mothers Join to Pray, Learn About Roles
Diocese of Tulsa News
Sheila Michie, at center, joins in praying the rosary with other women who are discerning whether to become spiritual mothers to the priests of the Diocese of Tulsa.

10/10/2008 – EOC Staff

Nearly three dozen women of all ages will spend the next three months discerning whether God might be calling them to the vocation of spiritual motherhood to the priests of the Diocese of Tulsa. If they believe He has given them this vocation, they will spend the month of January in spiritual formation, deepening their prayer lives in preparation for their blessing by Bishop Edward J. Slattery on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The women who will begin their discernment traveled from across the Diocese on Oct. 7 for a Night of Reflection at Holy Family Cathedral offered by Father Mark Kirby, o.Cist. The focus of the evening’s prayer and reflection was the relationship that exists between Our Lord and his Blessed Mother, who was privileged to share in a unique way in her Son’s paschal Mystery. Father Kirby explained that from the cross, Our Lord, the Eternal High Priest, entrusted his disciple John into Our Lady’s maternal care, even as St. John assumed his new role of priest of the new covenant.

The vocation of a spiritual mother, Father Kirby said, is to sustain and support the Church’s priests in the same way Our Lady loved and supported her divine Son and her adopted sons like St. John. Spiritual motherhood “has nothing to do with doting on or mothering a priest,” Father Kirby said. Rather, a priest’s spiritual mother would offer herself to God, praying in intercession and reparation for him, spending time in Eucharistic Adoration and becoming “a point though which an abundance of God’s graces might flow to bless the priest and sanctify his work.

“This is the vocation being offered to you this evening. It’s not something that should be taken on lightly or without solid preparation.”

The program of spiritual motherhood is part of a Vatican effort proposed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes of the Congregation for the Clergy to draw on the link between the Eucharist and the priesthood – first, by establishing diocesan centers of Eucharistic Adoration and – secondly, by fostering the vocation of spiritual motherhood, in the example of Our Lady. Cistercian Father Mark Kirby gave two notable examples of consecrated feminine souls who lived out the vocation of spiritual motherhood. The first is the most popular saint of the 20th century, St. Therese of Lisieux. The second is the relatively obscure Margaret Mary Mathers, a widow, who offered herself as a spiritual mother for Padre Pio.

In discussing the program’s practical details, Father Kirby said that the women might never know the identity of the priest or seminarian they adopt, but emphasized that the hidden nature of the women’s commitment adds to its power. “Most likely, you will never lay eyes on the priests you are praying into holiness, but I promise you that you will see their faces in Heaven.”

In discerning the question of whether God has given them this vocation, the women will meet with Father Kirby on each of the four Tuesday nights of January to pray and reflect on the meaning of this life of prayer, penance and loving reparation. Thereafter, the spiritual mothers of the diocese would likely meet “ no more than three or four times a year.”

Among the women present Oct. 7 were Sister Christine Ereiser, O.S.B., prioress of St. Joseph Monastery with Sister Eugenia Brown and Sister Veronica Sokolosky, from St. Joseph’s Monastery, Tulsa.

“A couple of the sisters are interested, and so I came along,” Sister Christine said. “I’m very open to it; we’ll see what God has in store.”

Father Kirby stressed that any mature woman could become a spiritual mother, including single women, married women with children, widows and consecrated religious. For information on the nights of formation to be offered in January, please call 307-4955 or divine.worship@dioceseoftulsa.org


This is the first I have heard of this type of program in a diocese in the USA.   Perhaps there are others, but I have not come across them.

I must say I am grateful for such a powerful initiative.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jim says:

    What a wonderful antidote to the minimalism that surrounds us.

  2. sekman says:

    The Fssp sermon podcast series at http://www.audiosancto.org had a great sermon on spiritual motherhood. Go to http://www.audiosanctor.org scroll down to 2008-06-08 and click on the link to download or listen.

  3. This is something Cardinal Hummes wrote about here. Hope you don’t mind I have copied the article to my blog. Wonderful to see it actually happening.

  4. MLS says:

    Check out Fr. Kirby’s excellent blog, Vultus Christi: http://vultus.stblogs.org/

  5. Margaret says:

    How beautiful! And how necessary– the priesthood is under assault from so many different directions these days.

  6. Lynne says:

    The audio files mentioned above are fabulous!!! And the one on Spiritual Motherhood is based on this document from the Congregation for the Clergy.

  7. Lynne says:

    Oops! There’s 5 documents at that link but the Spiritual Motherhood one is #4…

  8. Woody Jones says:

    I too am a big fan of Fr. Mark’s blog, which has greatly edifying material. Bishop Slattery is really doing a great work up there in Tulsa. I may have to go over the Red River into the boonies of Oklahoma and look into it personally.

  9. Easter A.e says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    Esther of A Catholic Mom of Hawaii and I, Easter A. of A Tribute to Our Priests, are happy to let you know that Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Hawaii unhesitatingly approved our Spiritual Mothers Apostolate here in our diocese in January 2008. It is currently in full swing. Each priest and each seminarian in our diocese has a Spiritual Mother.

    Here is the very first post I did on my blog: A Tribute to Our Priests: http://atributetoourpriests.blogspot.com/2007/12/this-is-so-exciting-and-something-we.html

    Here is Esther\’s post in response to your post today on Spiritual Mothers:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for this post! And God bless you abundantly!

  10. gsk says:

    Just a word to say that this program is thriving here in Providence, RI, thanks to Fr Najim. http://www.catholicpriest.com

  11. Alan says:

    Do you believe that there will come a day when a newly elected Pope will state that he rejects Vatican II? The reason I ask is that it appears that the religious don’t see Vatican II as a problem.

  12. Alan: No. I think that is not possible.

  13. tioedong says:

    When the abuse crisis was at it’s height, this bishop instituted one night a week for adoration in front of the blessed sacrament.

    After about 9 months, only my husband and I were there, but then they changed it from Friday to Thursday, the traditional Bible Belt day of prayer, and said mass first and it revived.

    I don’t know if it is still going on. But it did help.

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