Motherhood: A Journey to Sanctification

The Mongan family at daughter Kaitlyn’s wedding in June, 2017

I was not a good candidate for motherhood. Had I gone for a “job” interview, I would not have been given the job. If there had been a try out, like for a cheerleader squad, they would not have selected me for the team. I did not have the qualifications, the necessary skills or the “heart” required. I don’t think I even had a desire to apply for the job. However somewhere on my journey God grew within me a “mother’s heart.”

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For the Woman Who Wasn’t There: To All the Moms who Watched Philly From Afar

When we welcomed Pope Francis into our country, I’m sure many of you moms, like me, dreamt of traveling to be with the crowds who were there to celebrate, listen, and pray with the pontiff. Of course, for most of us, it never got further than a fleeting, wishful thought. Read the rest…

A Pope Nails Parenthood: “The Kingdom of Irrationality”

“Nooooooo!” I couldn’t help but cry out as the three year old began to pour the container of salt – the giant Costco container of salt, moreover – all over the kitchen floor. He smiled gleefully despite my dismay, then scurried off as his older brother and sister chased each other through the kitchen, knocking the four-dollar cup of coffee off the counter to spread its sticky sweetness into the dunes of salt on the tile. Read the rest…

Missionaries into the Hearts of Our Families

A recent Friday morning found me at the funeral Mass for a friend’s mother, and I had to take the two youngest with me. We lasted only a few minutes in the main church. My three year old, his toddler voice echoing during the quiet and solemn service, sent us into the vestible. I could hear the readings from the speakers back there, and listened while the kids sprawled at my feet. It was Matthew’s Gospel of the final judgement, where Christ tells of separating the sheep from the goats. I felt my stomach knotting up as I listened. Read the rest…

For Mother’s Day : A Martyrdom of Love

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In January this year I sat in my kitchen early one morning, bleary-eyed after a fractured night’s sleep. (And I’m using the term “sleep” quite loosely.)  The former night’s guilty parties, ages 2 and 5, lounged – in varied stages of consciousness themselves – on the couch, while I clutched a mug of coffee and scrolled through the day’s news stories.  Suddenly I was wide awake, as I came upon the headlines of several Catholic sites: “Pope says Motherhood is Martyrdom.”  Whoa. Read the rest…

Young Mothers Reclaiming Authentic Femininity in Phoenix!

Claire Dwyer and her family.

Claire Dwyer and her family.

In 1995, I was nearing graduation as a student at the Franciscan University with a degree in theology when I learned about the tragic impact of the radical feminist movement in Beijing, China. My father was a lobbyist at the UN conference on Women in Beijing and I remember sitting on the floor of my dorm room as he told me with great concern about their move to redefine gender. I knew this was wrong, very wrong, and I wanted to find out more about what the Church, in her wisdom, had taught about authentic femininity.

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