Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

#LoveOurMothers shows appreciation for moms

First slide
First slide
First slide
First slide
Previous Next

In the lead up to Mother’s Day May 12, the Diocese of Arlington is celebrating mothers via a social media campaign called “Love Our Mothers” that features four especially heroic mothers who have relied on or used diocesan and Catholic Charities programs. In separate sit-down interviews, each mother shares her own story of adversity and triumph.

"Our mothers help form us as individuals, families, and as a Church. Especially in this month of May, we celebrate all mothers for the care and sacrifices they make daily,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. “We thank God for these women whose love for their children reflects the love our Blessed Mother has for her son, our Savior."

Soledad Ortiz, 35, who is pregnant with her fifth child, told of how — despite broken and abusive relationships, an arduous journey from her native Mexico to the United States at the age of 15, and an initially tenuous legal status — her Catholic faith never wavered. 

“I have a statue of Our Lady and St. Jude; I brought them from Mexico,” Ortiz said. “They are discolored and damaged, but thanks to them I am here.”

Prior to finding out that she was pregnant, she worked various jobs to make ends meet, including one at a construction site.

“My last job before getting pregnant, I did not know I was pregnant, and I was working for a month like this: I was working in construction, I was picking up plywood and throwing it away. I had to go up five floors with the trash can and down again,” Ortiz said.                

Without the help of Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas she said she could not have afforded the pre-natal care associated with her current pregnancy. 

“I don’t know what I would be doing now or how I would be paying because the truth is that I can’t afford it,” Ortiz said, who intends to name her daughter Marisol Yalitxa.

Abbie Lenahan, another featured mother, knew before getting married that adoption was the best path toward fulfilling her dream of being a mom.

“When my husband, (Sean), and I got married, we knew we wouldn't have biological children. We were going to have to go down the path of infertility treatments and for us that wasn't really an option,” Lenahan said. “Our hearts were more led to adoption as a way of building our family. “

Her faith is what drew her to working with Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Adoption Services where they adopted her two children, Finn and Molly.

“We picked them (Catholic Charities) because our Catholic faith is really important to us. It's important to me. It's important to my husband, and so I appreciated the fact that they were rooted in that,” Lenahan said. “We really admired that their program was kind of a full-circle support system for both adoptive families and the adoptee, growing up, should they ever need it.” 

The goal of the #LoveOurMothers campaign according to diocesan Deputy Director of Communications Diana Sims Snider, is to share these women’s stories to a broader audience.

“Love Our Mothers is a way to show how we as a church love and honor our mothers, especially those moms who have encountered difficult circumstances,” Snider said. “Using the hashtag #LoveOurMothers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we are sharing the stories of women who do everything they can to be great mothers and who will do anything for their children.”

For Bridget O’Boyle, diocesan social media coordinator, working on this project was an inspiration.

“These short little video bios of the mothers really show the diversity that our diocese offers and the beautiful stories of how we are helping them, but also how they — by opening up about all the challenges and struggles that come with motherhood — are inspiring new moms such as myself,” O’Boyle said.

The two other mothers featured include Emma Grimes, who lives in Catholic Charities St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences for Families, and Oyin Kansola Sowunmi, who benefits from the Gabriel Project, an initiative of the diocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Respect Life that helps expectant mothers. 

 Without transitional housing, Grimes does not know where she would be with her two children, Harmonee Ann and Onyx-Azai.

“Who knows? I honestly can’t answer that question. Maybe in a shelter possibly. I would have of course done my best not to be homeless, but maybe in a shelter,” said Grimes.

Sowunmi, who was pregnant with twins when she fled from a dangerous situation in her Nigerian homeland, found the support she needed through the Gabriel Project. She was paired with a mentor, Angela Nicholson, who provides her with moral support as well as help obtaining needed material goods for her two children, Jeremiah and Jemimah. 

The fifth video is of students from the St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington and Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington sharing why they love their mothers.

“My hope is that people in the diocese — whether they belong to a parish or go to a school here — use this opportunity on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to hashtag #LoveOurMothers and post a photo of them and their moms and a caption as to why they love their mothers. And to tag the diocese, @ArlingtonChurch and CatholicCharities, @CCDArlington, too,” O’Boyle said. 

Diocesan Catholic Charities is also celebrating how it supports mothers at a May 15 event at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019