I am a card-carrying, Catholic mother.
Because I am also a university instructor and have a Ph.D. in philosophy, some might say that is more “professional” and what should be written on my business card. But what I am most proud of is being a mom. That is what my business card says. Why? Because being an open-to-life Catholic mother is a radical way of being close to Christ and imitating him. If I were a nun, I’d wear my habit with a little swagger in my step (just being honest—I do have “habit-envy”). If I were a martyr, isn’t it right to hope that in heaven I’d wear a crown? (I’m one of those who adores reading stories of martyrs and can’t help but imagine what I would do if I were called to that level of heroism). When we have some way that we give up our lives for the Gospel, we can rejoice! God has called us, and we are answering the call! Maybe falteringly, maybe imperfectly. But still answering!
Catholic motherhood is my way. Six children? I was not sure I wanted any. Always open to life and God’s plan, and never in complete control. I’ve had many unexpected pregnancies that decidedly altered the course of my life. That is one way to experience what Christianity is all about: obedience to God’s call, giving your life away in the service of his will, wherever he leads you. (For a little reading about this theme, see Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Intro to Christianity).
I cannot help but be an academic. I adore philosophy, teaching, and study. But the way I’ve learned the most in life is through Catholic motherhood. My vocation as a mother has taught me to make myself a gift for others. Motherhood has also taught me to embrace crosses. These are the two things that ensure our happiness. And I learned them both through my maternal vocation. That’s why, even to my students in the university, I am a life-learning, card-carrying, Catholic mother.