From Christ in the Home by Father Raoul Plus, S.J., 1951
A young mother–very true to her role of mother and at the same time very artistic–got the idea of comparing her role with that of cloistered sisters.
Between her washing, her cooking and the care of her youngest, she managed to compose “The Psalm of Young Mothers” which appeared in the 8 November issue of “Marriage Chretien.” It is full of love, full of spontaneity. Every young mother will recognize herself in these passages we are quoting:
“O my God
Like our sisters in the cloister
We have left all for you;
We have not imprisoned the youth of our faces in a guimpe
and under a veil,
And though we have cut our hair, it is not in any spirit of
Deign nevertheless, O Lord, to cast a look of complaisance
On the humble little sacrifices
Which we offer You all day long,
Since the day our groaning flesh gave life to all these little
We are rearing for You.
Our liberty, O God, is in the hands of these little tyrants
who claim it every minute.
The house has become our cloister,
Our life has its unchanging Rule,
And each day its Office, always the same;
The Hours for dressing and for walks,
The Hours for feeding and for school,
We are bound by the thousand little demands of life.
Detached by necessity every moment from our own will,
We live in obedience.
Even our nights do not belong to us;
We too have our nocturnal Office,
When we must rise quickly for a sick child,
Or when between midnight and two o’clock,
When we are in the full sleep we need so badly
A little untimely chanter
Begins to sing his Matins.
We practically live retired from the world:
There is so much to be done in the house.
There is no possibility of going out anyway without a
faithful sitter for the little ones.
We measure out the time for visits parsimoniously.
We have no sisters to relieve us on another shift.
And when the calls for service reach high pitch for us
We have to sweep, to wash the dishes, scrape the carrots
for the stew, prepare a smooth puree for baby and keep
on going without stopping
From the children’s room to the kitchen and to and fro.
We do big washings we rub and we rinse
Aprons and shirts, underclothes and socks
And all the baby’s special things.
In this life of sacrifice, come to our help, O Jesus!
“The wise mother, having an eye to the future, will seek to initiate her daughter into the mysteries of housekeeping. Most young girls are interested in domestic affairs, and are never happier than when allowed to have their finger in the domestic pie; but in this as in other things a thorough grounding is the most satisfactory. It is a woman’s heritage.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1893
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