Wednesday:) What An Interesting Fact About Mother’s Day (Notre Dame)

14 May

Mitch Albom

“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”


I know Mother’s Day has come and gone, but I forgot to share this little bit of trivia about the special day. I receive occasional emails and info from The University of Notre Dame, as my eldest son is an ’03 graduate. And, there are a lot of views and credits of who really started the tradition of starting an official Mother’s Day. Mothers have been celebrated since ancient time, and deservedly so.

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

The Mother’s Day holiday in the United States wasn’t born out a desire to simply treat mothers to a day off or buy gifts. It essentially began as a women’s movement to better the lives of other Americans.

The creation of a national Mother’s Day is primarily attributed to three women: Ann Reeves Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, and Ann’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis.


BUT….. here’s something I read on the Notre Dame site. The part I loved was how the professor handed out postcards to the students so they could write to their mothers once a month. “One day a month is Mother’s Day.” What a thoughtful idea! Seeing since Notre Dame literally means Our Lady, honoring The Blessed Virgin Mary, and their school song is “Notre Dame Our Mother,” how appropriate.


Notre Dame’s Connection to Mother’s Day

Our Lady’s University has a connection to the founding of Mother’s Day, thanks to the advocacy of an alum who helped build support for creating the holiday more than a century ago.

An action-oriented Renaissance man, Frank Hering earned two degrees from Notre Dame, coached several sports, served on volunteer boards, and is probably best known for his involvement with Notre Dame football. As a student, he played quarterback and served as both captain and coach. As an alum, he gave a speech at the dedication of Notre Dame Stadium and later served on the Rockne Memorial committee. But it was as a faculty member that he got the idea to help celebrate mothers.

The story goes that he was visiting a colleague’s class, noticed the professor handing out penny postcards to students, and asked what they were writing.

“Anything at all as long as it’s to their mothers,” his colleague replied. “We do this every month in this class. One day a month is mother’s day.”

The idea stayed with Hering, who used his leadership position with the Fraternal Order of Eagles to spread it beyond Notre Dame. In a Feb. 7, 1904 speech in Indianapolis, he called for the “setting aside of one day in the year as a nationwide memorial to the memory of Mothers and motherhood,” and he continued lobbying for it in the years to come. So did his fellow Eagles, who organized festivals around the country to build support for the idea.

Hering, who was later called the “father of Mother’s Day,” was among several advocates across several decades who supported the idea of honoring and celebrating mothers. Anna Jarvis, a contemporary of Hering’s who is often called the “mother of Mother’s Day,” partnered with retailers in the early 20th century to campaign for celebrations across the country. By 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson set aside the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, the holiday was already widely celebrated in many cities and states.

In 1925, the Society of War Mothers honored Hering for his role in helping to create Mother’s Day. A plaque still stands in the Indianapolis opera house commemorating the moment where he first called for the holiday.

Back to Mother’s Day Novena page>>

GO IRISH!!!!!!

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