As women, as mothers, as wives, we should choose our role models with care.
Why have a role model? I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a , well, different home..but through the books I read as a child ( think Little House on the Prairie, Pollyanna, Swallows and Amazons, Meet the Austins, Ballet Shoes…) , through these books I gained a vision of family life. Of what being a woman could mean.
I read An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden in Year Ten, at age fifteen and was drawn, as the child in the book is drawn, to the image of Our Lady. As a non Catholic, the role of Mary fascinated me. I saw Mary as a strong woman and I had already chosen the idea of being strong , a strong woman, as something to which I aspired.
Only later did I become a Catholic and also see Mary’s gentleness, her faith, her prayerfulness, her obedience, her love.
So, by the grace of God, I , almost by accident, chose my role model well.
Watching Dr Who last night ( the last episode in this series!) I realised that the companions of the Dr that I like are also strong women. Women who can be trusted to do their job, who won’t crumple or weep or play unfair, who are not perfect but who care, who are strong without being mean.
So, again, it must be no accident that my patron saint for this year was chosen for me, seemingly at random, when pulling a name out of a basket at our parish Women’s Group.
Bl. Zelie Martin, feast day, with her spouse, Bl Louis Martin, July 13. Tomorrow.
Some of the virtues of Bl Zelie? Some I need to emulate? ( Bl Zelie, pray for me, as a wife and mother..).
Bl Zelie had a great love for purity. She wanted to see her children pray, she did not spoil the children. They did not get away with bad behavior. She demonstrated personal holiness and prayerfulness.
And practiced obedience to her husband ( ouch!) .
Zelie would not excuse herself from the Church’s regulations regarding fasting even though she was ill. ( Ah, that strength!)
And was suspicious of being too happy in this life. She thought it was a bad sign when things went very well because this is a valley of tears.
Finally, Zelie abhorred detraction especially in mentioning the faults of priests. (Mmm, Leonie) And prayed intensely for her children to have vocations to the religious life but wouldn’t say the prayer out loud. She didn’t want to exert overt pressure.
Above all, Zelie demonstrated a love for the poor in tangible ways, the fruit of her prayerfulness being the virtue of charity.
What a role model!