Thoughts for January 9 from Fr Willie Doyle

Blessed Eurosia Fabris Barban

It is a mother whose gentle care was ever round you, whose arms were open wide that you might nestle on her bosom and tell a mother’s heart your joys and childish sorrows. Well now do you recall the thousand little ways that love for you was shown, the welcome smile, the kindly word, the soft kiss implanted on your cheek.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle clearly loved his own mother and he recognised the importance of this motherly love in his own life. Yesterday was the memorial of Blessed Eurosia Fabris Barban who reached sanctity through fidelity to her vocation as a mother. For a variety of reasons I didn’t get to write about her yesterday, but given the interesting example of her life, we can look at her example today.

Mamma Rosa, as she was called, was born in Italy 1866 and died in 1932. She was from a humble and poor family, and had only 2 years of formal schooling. When she was 20 years old, one of her neighbours died, leaving behind 2 small children under 2 years old. Mamma Rosa took them in and raised her as her own. Soon after this she got married and had 9 children of her own. Her home became a gathering place for the children of her town. In addition to raising 11 children, she became a Franciscan tertiary and was renowned for her care of the poor and sick of the region and through it all managed to maintain a deep prayer life.

There is something refreshing about Blessed Eurosia, as there is about Fr Doyle and many of the other modern examples of holiness – they found their holiness in the midst of ordinary activities. Blessed Eurosia simply served God as a mother. Fr Doyle simply served God as a preacher and spiritual director and in the last years of his life as a military chaplain. In both cases, the fulfilment of the duties that God placed before them gave ample scope for for them to strive for perfection. Yes, the Lord may well have worked many marvels of grace in their souls (this is especially evident in the case of Fr Doyle), but their lives do not exhibit the physical miracles that we often associate with some of the older, more well known saints. As such, it becomes easier for us to imagine that we can follow in their footsteps, if we just had the courage, trust and generosity to do so…

Let us pray today in a special way to Blessed Eurosia for mothers, that they may be faithful to their calling to create loving homes in the midst of a world that increasingly devalues the importance of the family.