by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
St. Peter Church puts on a Mother – Daughter dinner which includes a raffle. Dinner is made and served by the gentlemen of the church. Father David, the church priest, says this is the best event of the year. The church mothers love the dinner, dressing up for the occasion to have male relatives serve them as they relax and visit across tables set with flower arrangements and look over the items which may be coming home with them at the front of the room.
Ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated a day for mothers around their female deities in the springtime, too. Early Christians, following their lead, celebrated a festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the honor of the Virgin Mary. The English, recognizing a good thing, extended the holiday to Mothering Sunday in the 1600s.
Children presented their mothers with gifts and flowers after the prayer service. For the occasion apprentices, servants and employees of all kinds were encouraged to visit, and honor their mothers.
In America the holiday was renewed by Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in 1872 as a way to speak out against war. A half million men had died in the Civil War and many had returned home without arms and legs.
Our Mother's Day, celebrated in early May, was the brain child of Anna Jarvis, inspired by the memory of her own mother, an activist and social worker, who died in 1905. Anna's mother thought mothers should be honored for the contributions they made to the lives of others.
Anna had moved with her mother from Grafton, West Virginia to Philadelphia in 1890. She began her campaign in 1907 by passing out 500 white carnations at the church her mother had attended, St. Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton. The next year the St. Andrew's held a Sunday service honoring mothers.
Establishing the day as an official holiday became Anna's full time work.
In 1912 West Virginia became the first state to adopt the holiday, followed in 1914 by the United States when a joint Resolution was passed by Congress.
Mother's Day draws families together to share a meal and remember the many reasons they love each other. And the fathers, husbands and sons of St. Peter enjoy the light in the eyes of the women they love as they wait the tables in the Parish Hall.