Monday, May 13, 2013

A Special Calling

It’s the mid 1970’s and the women’s movement is gaining significant traction across the country. Ms. Randall teaches the kindergarten class at Oxhead Road Elementary School in Centereach, New York (part of Suffolk County in Long Island). Theresa Perez is a student in the class. During the week, Ms. Randall has impressed upon her students that they can accomplish anything they want in life and that no one should tell them that they can’t do anything if they set their minds to it. Although her message was for everyone in her class, she especially wanted to bring this message to the little girls. You see, some folks might describe Ms. Randall as a women’s libber.

At one point after much discussion about career opportunities, the children were asked to draw a picture of what they would want to become when they grew up. Students got busy drawing pictures of an astronaut, fire fighter, police officer, doctor, judge etc. It was a fun day and the kids rightfully felt good about what they had drawn.

That night, Theresa’s Mom, Mrs. Perez went to work in her nursing job covering the 11pm – 7am night shift. Arriving home the following day after her shift, she soon received a call from Ms. Randall. “Mrs. Perez, I need you to come in for a conference. It’s about Theresa”. This didn’t seem to be very good news so Mrs. Perez quickly went over for this meeting. She wondered what kind of problems that Theresa could be having in school.

When she arrived, Ms. Randall explained to Mrs. Perez about the message that she had conveyed to each student throughout the week, particularly the girls. And she told her of the assignment. You know, to dream big and draw a picture of what they wanted to become in life. It was then that Mrs. Randall said, “Mrs. Perez, I need you to see the picture that Theresa drew. She turned in this!”Mrs. Perez looked down and saw a picture of a young woman with a protruding stomach. Ms. Randall then said, “Mrs. Perez, I have no plans to ever have children…..but if I did, I would want YOU to take care of them. “

Ms. Randall went on to explain that she had questioned Theresa about what she had drawn. Did Theresa mean that a woman couldn’t become a judge, police officer, doctor etc.?   Theresa said, “No, I know we can do these things. It’s just that I want to be just like my Mom. She has always taken care of me and is my very best friend. “

Now almost 40 years later, Theresa is Mom to two beautiful little girls of her own.  With her husband Aaron, she lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is employed there as a Senior Financial Analyst. Theresa’s Mom is a member of St. Paul’s parish. Among her many volunteer hours, she assists at the Alpha Center which provides free services to anyone with a problem stemming from pregnancy.

When reflecting on Motherhood as a special calling, let’s bring our thoughts and prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. God once called upon her to fulfill a mission that was far beyond any career that we could ever imagine. Mary became blessed among women, carried and nurtured a child named Jesus who became the Savior of all mankind. In her response to Our Lord, she was strong in protecting her child yet meek (gentle) to a baby who needed so much love and attention. Mary became the physical mother to the Messiah and the spiritual mother to us all.

For all mothers and grandmothers who have inspired us to fulfill our purpose in life which includes oneness with God, Best Wishes for a Very Happy Mother’s Day!  J.G.

This theological reflection courtesy of the parishioners of St Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida: