The Difference One Mother Can Make
by Fr. Roger J. Landry - January 11, 2008"The vast majority of priests and religious say that the nourishment of their divine vocations began at home. It was in the domestic Church that they first learned about God — who he is, how he loves us, and what he expects of us. It was from their parents that they saw the centrality of God in human life and learned how to pray, how to love, how to forgive and ask forgiveness. It was from example of their faith that they grasped the importance of the Church, the Eucharist and confession, the commandments, virtues and works of mercy. It was also from them that they learned a loving reverence and fascination for the priests, brothers and women religious whom God had mysteriously called to his service and theirs.
While not discounting the contributions of fathers and siblings, in most homes most of the credit for this Christian upbringing goes to mothers. They are the principal masons laying the foundation for their children's future growth in faith. They are the "spiritual breast-feeders," who allow their children to be nourished by their own faith. There's an expression among priests that "behind every vocation stands a woman," and in most cases that woman has their mother's face".
The Mother's of Lu
We have shared this amazing story before from the booklet Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood For Priests but thought it was worth sharing again. It was this story that really moved us last year to start the SM blog for the YOTP. There were many other deeply inspirational stories from the booklet that touched us but this one was the one that really prompted us into action.
The mother's of Lu were not just physical mothers to there children, they were spiritual mothers to there children, taking their stewardship one step further by offering their children back to God not once but over and over, with confidence that He would do something beautiful with them for Himself.
The most generous act we can offer Our Lord is to offer our children back to Him, to be His and His alone, they are the most precious things to us and also the most precious things to Him.
We would like to revive the First Sunday devotion in responce to what these peasant mothers of Lu did, and encourage & remind all women who are praying for priests through the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests devotion to offer their Holy Communion and Mass on the First Sunday’s of the Month in honour of vocations to the priesthood, specifically from our own families by reciting the simple prayer below during their thanksgiving prayers after
prerequisite Mass. It is not a of the devotion but another aspect of it, it is up to you if you would like to.
The little village of Lu, in northern Italy, is located in a rural area 90 kilometres east of Turin. It would still be unknown to this day if some of the mothers of Lu had not made a decision that had important consequences in 1881.
The deepest desire of many of these mothers was for one of their sons to become a priest or for a daughter to place her life completely in God’s service. Under the direction of their parish priest, Msgr. Alessandro Canora, they gathered every Tuesday for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord for vocations. They received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month with the same intention. After Mass, all the mothers prayed a particular prayer together imploring for vocations to the priesthood.
Through the trusting prayer of these mothers and the openness of the other parents, an atmosphere of deep joy and Christian piety developed in the families, making it much easier for the children to recognize their vocations.
When the Lord said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14), we can understand that many are called, but only a few respond to that call. No one expected that God would hear the prayers of these mothers in such a dramatic way.
From the tiny village of Lu came 323 vocations: 152 priests (diocesan and religious), and 171 nuns belonging to 41 different congregations. As many as three or four vocations came from some of the families. The most famous example is the Rinaldi family, from whom God called seven children. Two daughters became Salesian sisters, both of whom were sent to San Domingo as missionaries. Five sons became priests, all joining the Salesians. The most well-known of the Rinaldi brothers is Blessed Philip Rinaldi, who became the third successor of St. John Bosco as Superior General of the Salesians. Pope John Paul II beatified him on 29 April 1990. In fact, many of the vocations from this small town became Salesians. It is certainly not a coincidence, since St. John Bosco visited Lu four times during his life. The saint attended the first Mass of his spiritual son, Fr. Philip Rinaldi in this village where he was born. Philip always fondly recalled the faith of the families of Lu:
“A faith that made our fathers and mothers say,
‘The Lord gave us our children, and so if He calls them, we can’t say no.’”
Fr. Luigi Borghina and Fr. Pietro Rota lived the spirituality of Don Bosco so faithfully that the former was called the “Brazilian Don Bosco” and the latter the “Don Bosco of Valtellina.” Pope John XXIII once said the following about another vocation from Lu, His Excellency, Evasion Colli, Archbishop of Parma:
“He should have become pope, not me. He had everything it takes to become a great pope.”
Every ten years, the priests and sisters born in Lu used to come together from all around the world. Fr. Mario Meda, the long-serving parish priest of Lu, explained that this reunion is a true celebration, a feast of thanksgiving to God who has done such great things for Lu.
The prayer that the mothers of Lu prayed was short, simple, and deep: