Friday, 7 August 2009

Spiritual Mothers Report: Part 1 USA b) Hawaii and Florida

Hawaii (The Aloha* State)


If you haven't yet linked to Esther's 'A Catholic Mom in Hawaii' blog I really recommend it. Of particular relevance here is her post about a short talk on how she and Easter of 'A Tribute to our Priests', with the permission of their Bishop Larry Silva, founded the Spiritual Moms Apostolate in Honolulu. (Esther gave the talk at St. Stephen's Church , Paterson, NJ).

Esther's post is helpful because it describes a particular way of getting started, outlines a particular model for Spiritual Motherhood groups, and answers some of the questions she fielded from her audience in Paterson.

Like many of us, Esther had been inspired by Cardinal Hummes' document and contacted Easter to ask for her help and support. In January 2008 not long after they had agreed to work together, they went on The March for Life, and 'there and then' approached their bishop, explained their plans and asked his permission to go ahead. This was readily granted after they subsequently supplied him with more detailed information.. By April 24th 2008, yes that soon, all the priests and seminarians in Honolulu diocese had been spiritually adopted by individual spiritual mothers.

If you feel like trying their direct approach, and I think most of us would feel more emboldened with an ally, there is nothing to stop you. If you want to follow in the footseps of Esther and Easter and your bishop is at all approachable, it is probably a better idea in the first instance than writing a letter. Find a friend for support, check the bishop's public appearance itinerary, and off you go!

In a Q&A Session after her talk, Esther was asked what is expected of a Spiritual Mother. Her answer: Prayer and Sacrifice (see her post for details). The issue was also raised about whether the spiritual mother and her spiritual son should be given details of each other so that they can be in touch. In the Honolulu model, the mother is told which priest is her 'son' and it is up to her to contact him if she so wishes. Apparently this has worked successfully so far.

(A similarly successful and open scheme has been set up in the English Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, again initiated by a family of laity. I'll link to this and describe it more fully when reporting on the UK, which will form Part 2 of this series of posts.)

Father Dariusz, the Parish Priest at Paterson asked if the members of SMA could offer financial assistance to their spititual sons. Esther responded that this had not yet been considered but she would bring it up in the SMA forum. She concludes her post by first of all pleading for more devout Catholic Women to consider a call to the SMA. However, she rightly cautions that it is not to be taken lightly. "It is a commitment.......your spiritual son is depending on your prayer and sacrifice." And then she says that if any SM finds she cannot keep to the commitment, to let her know so that a new SM can be assigned to the priest in question.. For me, this raises the important issue of the length of the commitment that SMs promise. Esther does not say, at least I don't think so, whether or not the SMs of Honolulu have been blessed or consecrated by Bishop Silva, as have those in Tulsa by Bishop Slattery.

The Honolulu model is very different from the Tulsa one. I'm sure you will want to reflect on the differences and will probably already know which one appeals to you personally. I hope we can all agree though, that both models have a valuable role to play in the movement of Spiritual motherhood within Holy Mother Church. Please join me in offering a prayer of thanksgiving for the devotion, prayer and hard work of Esther and Easter, and one of supplication for them and their SMA.

Thanks so much Esther for being in touch by email. Do please keep me posted on how things progress so I can update here when necessary.

NB A note about developments in Florida. I know that things are stirring in Miami at least, but in keeping with my promise to protect the privacy of you all where you have asked for that, I need permissions before I can give more detail.

I have learned that in Hawaiian words have spiritual meaning or divine power. Aloha is among the most sacred and powerful and deserves a post all to itself.

Next in this series: Part 1 USA c) Indiana; Kentucky

God bless.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, all I can say is mahalo nui loa Jane for sharing our story with your readers. Easter and I considering asking Bishop "Larry" to consecrate the Spiritual Moms. We need prayers to see where God will lead us in this respect. I will let you know any updates.

    God bless and be assured of our prayers for all spiritual mothers and their spiritual sons, our priests.