Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs…”
~ From the original Mother’s Day Proclamation, 1870, by Julia Ward Howe
by Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Years ago on the Pax Christi USA website, I wrote how it was indeed my mother, Cathy Zokovitch, who first taught me of “charity, mercy and patience” — how she planted the seeds that led me to embrace working for justice and peace in our world. Through almost 30 years in Pax Christi USA, it has been my great fortune to be mentored, shaped and often times corrected (!) by so many other mothers in our movement. These women have answered the call of Julia Ward Howe decade after decade, striving to make that world “whereby the great human family can live in peace”.
I imagine that for so many of us, we started this journey of peacemaking because of the influence of our moms and those mother figures in our lives.
On this Mother’s Day, to all of those strong, brave, persistent women who shaped us into peacemakers and seekers of justice, we say thank you for your faithfulness and your leadership, and for being our first teachers in learning “the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42).
Happy Mother’s Day!