The feast of Mary Magdalene coincides with the anniversary of my mother’s death, a fitting intersection given the spiritual inspiration I’ve gained from each woman.
Like Mary Magdalene, my mother’s faith ran deep and her life served witness to that faith. My mother was at the foot of the cross many times in her life, but her faith always trumped those challenges, an attitude that more than once puzzled her cynical, sceptical only daughter.
I was always close to my mother and, as her health failed, I began to worry about how I would cope without her. The evening of her death, however, offered me a moment of profound illumination. As the family gathered around her bedside in prayer, I had a growing awareness that, as Isaiah tells us, we are carved in the palm of God’s hand and that we would not be forgotten. We would grieve our loss, but our faith would, indeed, carry us forward — including my own.
The last words I heard my mother speak were those of the Our Father. As I watched her pray I realized that, over time, I had embraced the faith she had worked so hard to pass on to my brothers and me. This reality was her last gift to me.
At her wake, many people I’d never met approached me to tell me stories of my mother’s kindnesses and of how she had been a beacon to them. I nodded, because I was able to say the same.
Suddenly aware of the depth of my own faith, I decided to go back to school, receiving an MDiv from St. Mike’s, here in Toronto, a few years later. That led to involvement in parish ministry, including RCIA work, and my job here with Novalis, editing Living with Christ.
In Luke’s account of Easter morning, Jesus asks Mary Magdalene, “Whom are you looking for?” It is a question that is asked of all of us. I now realize how blessed I was to have a mother who could lead me to the answer.
-Catherine Mulroney, Editor of Living with Christ