I recently read a book on St Zelie Martin, mother of St Therese of Lisiuex and I was both warmed and affirmed reading about her mothering style.
You can read this book next month in our Bookclub, click here for more info.
What can we learn from her? A few take home points;
Pray with your kids:
Daily she would pray with her kids, not just in family prayer time but side by side to encourage them in their personal prayer. They learned to say their morning prayers because she was there every morning to pray with them.
Play with your kids:
in this book Celine (Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face) recalled how her mother would sit and play with them! And how they adored her and their father. It was noted she would do this and then be up until midnight finishing her chores while they slept.
Pray for your kids and ask for intercessions from others:
St Zelie was particularly concerned with piety. Her daughter, the author, recounted many times her mother worrying her children weren’t pious enough, in particular Leonie, whom she requested her other daughters to pray for her in several of her letters. You can say for sure those prayers were answered. Don’t be afraid to ask others to pray for your kids. And don’t forget the importance of your motherly prayers for them.
Take the time to be a confidant:
St Zelie did not shy away from correcting her children, but her children did not have an ill word to speak of her, infact they treasured her. So it would be fair to deduce that she did not deliver her correction harshly but communicated it with gentleness, patience and love. It was mentioned a few times she decided to take the time to seek out the ‘confidance’ of each child. She knew her children, and they knew her. She was not correcting them from a pedestal. She had a genuine communicative relationship with each child.
I found this to be such a brilliant example, what better way to communicate our expectations to our children? Then by doing it from a foundation of a loving relationship with them. By taking the time to sit with your children individually, you can develop this loving relationship. They will have the opportunity to share their trials with you, knowing they have your undivided attention. In turn they will be more receptive to listen to you aswell. It becomes a relationship built upon mutual respect and friendship.
St Zelie shrewdly observed the churches teaching and was committed to being subordinate to God’s will. It was noted in the book how she would make a point of not even purchasing an item on a Sunday or take the train anywhere. Anything which pertained to work was avoided. Although she was known to forget herself, to the point of standing and eating a quick meal, (while everyone else sat and enjoyed.) She made a point to observe the day of rest out of love and fear of the Lord.
St Zelie had a living faith and a deep trust in God. She is such a beautiful example to aspire to!
Do not be discouraged. She and all the saints are just as human as you or I.
It is with God, they became virtuous.
About the Author: Mother of 4 beautiful girls and a beautiful boy. Founder of the website and dedicated stay-at-home-mum. "My inspiration for the website was to create a platform for Catholic Mums to be able to connect with each other for support and to facilitate growth. I wanted a safe place to share thoughts on different family issues, with an underlying Catholic value system."