On motherhood and the Virgin Mary

The night I first saw the film Full of Grace is one I won’t soon forget. It was a night of extreme paradox. We were invited to the premiere by my parents, who had purchased tickets for me and my 14-year-old daughter.

It being a school night, I wrestled with the decision to bring her, but the promise of good media about the faith outweighed the practical concern of homework completion. She seemed elated that I was allowing her a night off. As we left the house to meet my mom and dad, a spirit of joy and anticipation filled the space between us.

Within minutes of arriving, that joyful spirit had all but disintegrated. Unexpected circumstances sent my daughter descending into a spiral of teenage angst, complete with yelling. Surrounding us were people I knew from church.

I felt sure they were watching our exchange and my inability to control the situation. I felt sure they thought I had no place at a film about the Mother of God when, at present, I was actively earning my title as “Worst Mother Ever.”

As the film was about to begin, she took off to find a seat far away from me. I wanted to leave. While stewing in this emotional soup of anxiety, embarrassment and self-doubt, I heard a still, small voice within that told me to stay put.

Due to plain exhaustion, my usually stubborn self listened and stayed. It didn’t take long to figure out why I was meant to be there.

The film portrayed the Church, ten years after the resurrection of Christ, standing at a crossroad. The disciples were faced with new challenges and confounding arguments.

All looked to Peter for answers, for leadership and yet he felt he had none to give. With the advent of adolescence in my home, I too felt myself to be at a crossroad. Daily I faced new challenges and confounding arguments. Continue reading

  • Lisa Lohenry Gilligan is a wife and mother who has been employed in parish ministry for over 20 years.

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