"Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!" - Pope St. Pius X
During this Year of the Priest , the Holy Spirit has been moving in the hearts of Catholic women, inspiring them to accept the obligation of constant prayer and sacrifice for specific priests and all priests. In 2007, the Congregation for the Clergy issued a document called "Adoration, Reparation, Spiritual Motherhood for priests" in which they write:
The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is hardly unknown, barely understood and consequently, rarely lived, although fundamental and vitally important. It is a vocation that is often hidden, not apparent to the human eye, but intended to transmit spiritual life...
"...Independent of age or social status, everyone can become a mother for priests..."
The document explores the particular and beautiful role of Mary in the life of her Son, the High and Eternal Priest, and her importance to the growth of priestly vocations and the sanctification of those already ordained. Strongly encouraged is the practice of continuous Eucharistic adoration by those who "may devote themselves to prayer...in a spirit of genuine and authentic reparation and purification."
It's a lengthy document, filled with examples of spiritual mothers throughout Church history; servants of God such as Saint Monica and Saint Therese of Lisieux who said, "Let us live for souls, let us be apostles, let us save especially the souls of priests...Let us pray, let us suffer for them, and, on the last day, Jesus will be grateful." Don't let the length frighten you away. It is a treasure of inspiration and wisdom. Take your time to examine and savor each section.
Since the publication of "Spiritual Motherhood ", women all over the world have been moved to discern their own call to this special vocation. This desire seemed to collectively intensify with the advent of the declaration of the Year of the Priest and many new resources and spiritual communities have begun to appear. Here are just a few helpful resources for those who are interested in learning more:
Spiritual Motherhood for Priests
USCCB Year of the Priest
Honolulu Spiritual Motherhood Apostolate (This is an example of what one group of women has done in their diocese)
Priests in Crisis
Crusade for Priests Spiritual Adoption Program