Painting by Henry John Yeend King ~ (English: 1855-1924)

From True Womanhood by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly

There is no such thing as natural heartlessness. Cold as certain grown-up women, as well as men, seem to be by nature,—we may be certain that neither nature nor its Author is to blame for this lack of genial warmth and affection.

No child is born without the disposition to love and the power of loving warmly: this may be not so apparent at the surface in some children as in others, or exist in the same degree of energy; or, again, this coldness in some may be only such as contrasted with the passionate and impulsive fervor of others.

But let mothers rest assured that the heart is there, with its natural and essential powers of returning love for love, and of practicing, not only the virtue of supernatural charity so indispensable to the sanctity and salvation of the adult Christian, but all the other charities of private and public life, with the many virtues which never fail to adorn the soul in which true charity reigns.

Indeed were it possible (which is not so) that any human being could be born without natural affection, the Creator Spirit, coming into the soul in baptism, would most surely repair the defect.

But comparatively feeble (and we use this expression most reluctantly) as the power of loving maybe supposed to be, — it is there in the soul for the mother’s tender hand and fostering charity to nurse into fullness of life, into perfect bloom and fruitful maturity. And God’s abundant and unfailing help is secured to the mother in this training of her child’s heart.

But the real heartlessness which shows itself so offensively in the girl and in the woman is, you may be sure of it, the result of neglect in the parent, or of a training in every way vicious. For this heartlessness is but undisguised selfishness obtruding itself upon us in all its own repulsive deformity.

The mother’s eye had failed to detect this weed in her child’s soul, or allowed it to grow up during infancy and girlhood, under the delusive hope that the good qualities in her girl’s nature would choke out the bad when she grew up to womanhood. But it is the contrary which happens, unless God should interfere and perform a miracle in favor of the neglected or petted child.

Selfishness is pretty sure, when continually ministered to and nursed by all around it, to absorb and draw to itself all the vital energies of the soul.

In the tropical forests,—in the West Indies particularly, there is a formidable species of parasite creeper whose power becomes fatal to the mightiest trees in the forest. It first shows itself like a little green plant on a sturdy branch of the forest tree, or a hole in the trunk, whence it sends down thread-like feelers to the ground.

There they take root and reascend along the trunk, increasing in number and size, till not one feature of the parent-tree is visible. The whole is now enclosed in a network of serpentine forms so firm, so robust, and so vigorous, that the tiny plant has become a giant, strangling in its embrace the generous trunk which fed and supported it, and hanging high in mid-air, above the topmost branches of its dead benefactor, its brilliant clusters of flowers.

Thus does selfishness prosper and flourish!

The wise wife recognizes her need of God. Frequently she tells Him of her insufficiency. To inspire her husband, to be patient, to be unselfish and loyal, to be the dozen and one other wonderful things a desirable wife must be –all this postulates the presence of God always at her side. – The Wife Desired, Fr. Leo Kinsella

Where I discuss the dynamics of Catholic family life that helped them to form their children into God-fearing, joyful Catholics.

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A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!

A very beautiful book, worthy of our attention. In it, you will find many pearls of wisdom for a woman striving to be the heart of the home, an inspiration to all who cross her path. You will be inspired to reconsider the importance of your role of wife and mother! Written by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly in 1894, the treasures found within its pages ring true and remain timeless…

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