Although motherhood is both misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, Mary's intercession and example of holiness can help restore the appreciation moms need, a Catholic author says.
While writing the book, “Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom” (Ave Maria Press, 2013), Marge Fenelon said that it was not so much her perception of motherhood that changed as it was her “conviction that moms today need more encouragement than ever before.”
In a culture that treats motherhood as either a “commodity or an affliction” the author told CNA May 9 that, “Modern moms are under fire from many directions – society, the secular media, the entertainment industry, the pro-abortion movement, and sometimes even themselves.”
“Motherhood isn’t valued as it should be,” she explained, “and it goes to follow that a society that doesn’t value motherhood won’t value the mother, either.”
As a result, many women just “try to muddle through” it while others simply “give up on motherhood altogether.”
“Moms can be their own worst enemies in the way that they can be overly critical of themselves or compare themselves to other women who they perceive to be ‘perfect’ mothers,” she said. “In fact, they’re better mothers than they think they are.”
Rather than giving into despair, Fenelon explained, mothers should look to Mary to see where they “already have lots in common” while also looking to see where they can “foster and develop new traits that they’d like to acquire.”
“'Imitating Mary' helps modern moms discover within themselves the beauty, holiness and value of the motherhood they’re already living.”
In her research, Fenelon said she aimed to “really make Mary come alive for readers” by examining the “historical, cultural, geographical, and political” circumstances of Mary’s life.
“I was daring in exploring how the circumstances, surroundings, and events would impact Mary as a living, breathing woman with the same emotions and experiences that we face today,” she said.
Although the book is geared towards the “modern mom,” Fenelon said men can benefit from reading the book.
“Yes, Mary has feminine qualities, but she also has human qualities – qualities that can be admired, studied, and imitated by men as well as women,” she said.
Writing the book has helped to foster a deeper relationship with the Mother of God, Fenelon said – something that she hopes those who read it can experience as well.