Two years ago I enrolled in the confraternity of Christian Mothers. Aside from partaking in the benefits and instructing me in the preferred ways of raising our children in the Faith, it has been a way to meet more like-minded mothers and get advice from more seasoned mothers about any particular parenting challenge I may be going through; all while joining each other in prayer for each others families.
It’s my hope by sharing the following excerpts to promulgate knowledge of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers and hopefully to spur more wives/mothers to join. Today more than ever we need direction, love, grace and knowledge to fulfill our duty as Christians and lead our children in the one, true, faith in a world full of muttled ideals and priorities.
So I wanted to share the benefits of joining this confraternity. Even though it is hundreds of years old, if you don’t have this in your church you can be the one to set it up! One of my dear friends did this only last year for her parish (I might add she wanted to join, but didn’t want to be the one to set it up) and it is a huge hit!
The following is from the book, Mother Love, A Manual For Christian Mothers.
(As a side note, the following pages apply very much to myself. I am not intending this to be a “letter from me pointing a finger”, but a good reminder and reading, especially for myself, in hopes to animate all of us with the love of God and to live truly Christian lives.)
The Confraternity of Christian Mothers
It is Chiefly to mothers that God has confided the training of His little ones. They should, in consequence, regard the task as the principal duty of their life, and in its discharge mutually encourage, assist, and console one another. If several mothers, animated by the Spirit of God, bind themselves by promise to mutual assistance, and place themselves under the direction of enlightened ecclesiastic, they become thereby a society of Christian Mothers. For years past , hundreds of such associations have been established throughout the world, and have been raised by episcopal authority to the dignity of Confraternities. The Holy Father has in several places erected them into Archconfraternities, enriched with numerous graces and indulgences, in all of which the branch Confraternities equally share.
The Necessity in Our Own Day for Solid Christian Training
- Nothing is so necessary as to believe in Jesus Christ, to love Him, and to serve Him. He who, through his own fault, has no faith in Jesus Christ, or who apostatizes from that faith, cannot be saved. Again, he that believes in Jesus Christ, but does not accomplish His divine ordinances, has just as small a chance of salvation as they that have no faith. The one is as certain of eternal damnation as the other. There is no hope of salvation for either one or the other, without a return to the faith and its holy practices, the living faith in Jesus Christ. Despite this fearful certainty, religious indifference and unbelief, with their consequent sin and depravity, are at the present day sadly on the increase. Our youth, although during their school days they may have been faithful to their religious duties, are not rarely soon deeply infected with the poison. Many of them, after leaving school, forget the teachings of their Holy Church, to follow the perverse maxims of the world. They find the Christian law too constraining. They sigh for the pleasures of earth, and for them barter those of heaven. They live as enemies of the cross of Jesus Christ; they renew His Passion by their daily crimes; and they heap up for themselves, against the Day of Judgement, mountains of indebtedness and everlasting punishment.
- In almost every case, early training is the cause of their ruin; and in most cases, the fault may be traced to the ignorance or the want of piety in the mother. It is upon the mother, then, that we ground our chief hope. Could all mothers be made thoroughly Christian, the world would be saved.
- Therefore it is that we exhort all mothers to unite with Mary, the Immaculate Virgin and Mother of our Lord, with Mary, their model and patroness. We exhort them, by earnest prayer, to enter into living and active communication with the blessed parents and children of heaven, with all the mothers of good will upon earth. Let them, under the guidance of an ecclesiastical director and with mutual love and assistance, learn to be animated by truly Christian sentiments, to form their children into valiant Christians, able to resist the world with it’s allurements and the flesh with its corrupt inclinations–Christians who will love the cross of their Master and carry it faithfully until death.
Special Duty of a Member of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers
- Before all things else she keeps in view the special object of the confraternity, viz., the strictly Christian, strictly Catholic training of her children. Her whole aim, therefore, the most earnest desires of her heart, must tend to sowing in the young hearts of her little ones the seeds of a pious Catholic education.
- To reach the end view, she must fully and conscientiously comply with the rules of the Confraternity. She must with deep devotion recite daily the prayer marked for the Associates, attend meetings regularly, listen attentively to the instructions of the Director, and zealously follow his advice.
- She is to regard her Sister-Associates with special affection, not those only of the particular branch to which she belongs, but those of all the other branches throughout the world. As she and her children share in the prayers and good works of all the Mother-Associates far and near, so is she to remember, in her Confessions, Communions, Masses, prayers, and other good works, each and all of the vast Confraternity.
- For the Mother-Associates who may stand in need of it, she shall do still more by devout intercession before God, by the offering of Holy Communion, by whatsoever assistance her tender heart may prompt, and by material alms as far as her means permit. In every suffering or abandoned female, be her misery corporal or spiritual, let the devout Mother recognize her Divine Savior and imagine that He implores of her an act of corresponding mercy.
Advantages to Be Derived from Membership in a Confraternity of Christian Mothers
- The first and chief advantage accruing to the members is the actual presence of our Divine Lord with His graces. For this we have his own inviolable promise: “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”
- Hence flow innumerable graces to the Mother-Associates; for where Jesus tarries there does He dispense His favors, and wherever He is present by special invitation His graces are more profusely lavished.
- These multiplied and powerful graces will descend chiefly upon prayers and good works performed by the Mother- Associates in obedience to the rules of the Confraternity and the guidance of its Director. For this, too, we have our Savior’s own words. He says, “If two of you shall agree upon earth concerning anything, whatsoever they shall ask it shall be done for them by My Father, who is in heaven.”
- His holy Mother cannot be far distant from the dwelling of her Divine Son, and with them both, the inmates of heaven love to tarry. The confidence of the Mother-Associates in choosing Mary, Most Sorrowful, as their chief Patroness, and the blessed parents and children of heaven as their special helpers, will obtain, as it deserves, their very particular protection and powerful intercession.
- To the preceding advantages must be added the benediction of the Holy Father and of many venerable Bishops. They are our ghostly Fathers, the vicegerents of Jesus Christ. Their desires for the salvation of souls cannot fail to be fulfilled by their Master.
- The next advantage is the care exercised over them by the spiritual Director, the daily intercession of the united Mother-Associates one for another, and the good example of the many. Whenever a Mother-Associate prays for herself and her children, all the other Mothers and their children partake of the fruit of her petition. It is the same with regard to all the good works. Every Mother-Associate has as much share in the merit of the good performed by the others as if it were, to a certain extent, her own individual work; and this union of love, prayer, and merit follows the departed Mothers beyond the grave.
- Plenary Indulgences are as follows.
On a letter dated Jan. 17, 1968, the Sacred Penitentiary granted the following plenary indulgences to those members of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers who fulfill the normal conditions for gaining an indulgence and make or renew, even privately, their promise to faithfully observe the rules of the association.
- On the day of solemn reception
- On the feasts of: Holy Family, -Annunciation- Queenship of Mary – Our Lady of Sorrows – St. Gerard Majella- Christ the King – St. Elizabeth
- On four days appointed by the Director. Conditions: Prayer according to the Holy Father of Holy Mother Church.
- As often as members are present at conference lectures
- For the recitation with a contrite heart of the Christian Mother’s Daily Prayer for the Children.
- For every good work performed according to the object and rules of the Confraternity or in its behalf.
Object of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers
- The only aim of the statutes of a Confraternity of Christian Mothers is to attain with more security the object for which the Confraternity has been formed; viz., the Christian education of children, according to the evangelical precepts of the Holy Church, that they may become true Christians and faithful Catholics.
- The Mothers associated in the Confraternity shall, by adherence to it’s regulations, become imitators of Mary, the Mother of Sorrows. She was the first servant of Jesus, she was His most faithful companion. She is now the dispensatrix of His graces, the spiritual Mother of all the children of Holy Church. In like manner, all Christian mothers, regarding in their children the image of Jesus Christ, should be His humble handmaids and imitators, the dispensatrixes of His graces to their children, and the mothers of their spiritual life. For that purpose they do hope for the maternal assistance of the Blessed Virgin, and to receive from her the richest blessings. They make choice of her, according to the law of the Confraternity, for their principal Patroness under the titles of “Mother of Sorrows,” sorrows which she endured through love for her Divine Son; and call upon her daily to make intercession for them.
- In addition to the Mother of all mothers, the members of the Confraternity honor and invoke the holy angels and all the blessed parents and children of the heavenly court. Among them the mothers choose as special secondary patrons St Joseph, the virginal spouse of Mary and foster-father of Jesus; Joachim and Anne, the holy parents of Mary; St. Elizabeth and her holy son, St. John the Baptist; St. Monica and her holy son Augustine, the great Doctor of the Church; and , lastly, America’s loved patroness, St. Rose of Lima.
- Thus intimately united with their celestial helpers, let the Confraternity of Christian Mothers enter joyously and hopefully upon their noble work of training and sanctifying the young souls entrusted to their charge.
If you are interested in joining The Confraternity of Christian Mothers, check with your parish to see if there is an existing one, and if not I strongly urge you to meet with your priest to set one up!
Thanks for reading.
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