Honoring Mothers and Daughters in the spirit of Mater Admirabilis

Honoring Mothers and Daughters in the spirit of Mater Admirabilis

Every year October 20th is the Feast of Mater Admirabilis, and we couldn’t have been happier to get the chance to come together (both in-person and virtually) as a school community to celebrate Our Lady. Many festivities took place throughout the day, such as a special fourth grade Mater Chapel, an Upper and Middle School Mother-Daughter Liturgy, and of course, a goûter of pink frosted donuts for all. 

A quick refresher on Mater Admirabilis: In 1844, a young painter named Pauline Perdrau created a portrait of the Virgin Mary as a young girl wearing a pink dress. However, because of her youthful inexperience, Pauline’s masterpiece was too vivid for the classic fresco painting technique and her portrait was hidden behind a drape. 

Many years later, Pope Pius IX visited the convent where Pauline’s painting was being stored. After asking to remove the drape, Pope Pius IX found the painting, albeit with one major difference: Time had allowed for the colors to soften, causing him to exclaim in wonder, “Mater Admirabilis!” (Latin for “Mother Most Admirable”).

Pauline’s painting soon became associated with granting miracles and a feast day was established on October 20 to honor the miraculous painting. It is tradition on the Feast of Mater Admirabilis to wear pink, just as the young Mary is doing in the painting, and to celebrate the special motherly figures in our lives who reflect the same sentiments of courage, faith, kindness, and strength as Mater.

During the Mother-Daughter Liturgy, eighth and twelfth grade mothers and daughters were invited to attend in person. The Mass was celebrated by Father Richard Murphy, the associate pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Greenwich. In the homily, Father Murphy talked about the profoundly unique perspective of Mary. 

“Jesus’ entire human nature was taken from Mary,” Father Murphy said, “which is why God calls on mothers to have a primary role in forming individuals.”

A very special part of the Liturgy took place when senior Maddie and eighth-grader Torin made speeches honoring their own mothers and how they shared similar qualities with Mater.

In her speech, Maddie talked about the difficulty of coming to the decision that switching schools late in her high school career in order to become a part of the Sacred Heart community would be the best choice for her mental health and overall wellbeing. She talked about how her mom continuously supported her throughout this journey, even during some especially difficult times. 

“Your willingness to drop everything in your own life and offer unconditional love for me is admirable, and a quality of you that continues to inspire me each and every single day,” Maddie said. “In the same way that Mater does, you offer a purity of heart and commitment toward the things you love. Whether it be by supporting each one of my academic decisions, offering guidance on social situations, or showing up to my every single game--even when I am injured--you have managed to do it all.”

Torin talked about her mom’s resilience and strength in the face of multiple knee injuries. Through her mom, Torin learned about the importance of having faith in God and remaining positive. She related her mom’s own strong belief in God to Mater’s, especially when Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and was told she was to bear God’s Son. 

“Through it all, [my mom] told me that she would ask God for strength. She would ask God to help her work through pain, to help her stay positive and to help her see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Torin said. “My mom said, ‘I would never have gotten through these surgeries without God and faith by my side.’ Although she spent many moments in the hospital by herself, she has said that God was by her side through it all.”

Yesterday’s Mother-Daughter Liturgy was moving, uplifting, and above all else, another great reminder of the many ways in which Sacred Heart Greenwich comes together as a community to expand our personal and active faith in God, combining both Goal I and Goal IV of our Goals & Criteria. Way to go, Heart!

To see photos from the Upper and Middle School Mother-Daughter Liturgy, check out our Smug Mug album here.

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