May 13, 2018

Friends,

Fr. Charles, myself, and the staff of the Blue Hill Collaborative wish all of the women of our parishes a very happy Mother’s Day. This time of year, which brings good weather, blooming flowers, and high hopes, also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the presence of women in our families, our Church and our world.

Years ago, we were very conscious of the differences between males and females. We assigned roles to each gender according to our expectations and stereotypes. So there were certain jobs/professions that were unavailable to women, and other careers that were assigned to them by society. Many of those barriers to women’s progress have been shattered in our lifetime. Along with that discovery, we also looked at men’s roles in society and reassessed their responsibilities as well. 

My father worked nights at the U.S. Postal Service and my mother was home with me and my two siblings. Once my younger brother started school, my mother got a part-time job at the local “5 & 10,” I remember her telling us not to tell anyone and I wonder why to this day. Was she embarrassed that we needed that extra income? Was she breaking a stereotype that was unacceptable? Did she believe that she should remain at home?

My parents did not share a lot of their decision making process with their children. I’d like to have listened in on the conversations they had about my mother taking this major step in those days.

Looking back, I realize how blessed we were to have parents who respected each other and raised us together. They each had their strengths and encouraged one another in their role as parents.

My mother was one of five and my father was one of six. My father’s parents were together and we used to visit their home on Sunday afternoons in Roslindale. My mother’s parents were divorced (another subject that was never to be mentioned) and her mother died young, so I never had the privilege of knowing “Nana.” I now know how that woman sacrificed for her children, having to relocate often during those turbulent years in their family life. Her name, picture, and memory were sacrosanct in our home. She was born in Italy and I’m not convinced she ever spoke English, other than minimally. When my grandfather left the family, she had to find work, and like many Italian women, became a stitcher in a factory. I’d say she was a true matriarch and the admiration and devotion of her children testified to that. Looking at it from my perspective today, I’d say my mother lived her life as a tribute to her mother. It’s now my turn.

Enjoy life!
Fr. Coyne

 

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