Why Spiritual Motherhood for Priests?

PriestsThe initiative for Spiritual Mothers was established for the good of the Clergy.1 According to the Spiritual Motherhood document, the Congregation for the Clergy has three main goals in mind:

I. An Authentic Renewal of Priestly Life
II. The Fruitfulness of Priests’ Pastoral Ministry
III. An Increase of Vocations to the Priesthood

Pope John Paul II said this in one of his Addresses regarding womanhood and motherhood:

“There are so many mothers today in the same situation as St. Monica. Nobody can thank them enough for what they have done through prayer and sacrifice for the Church and the Kingdom of God. May God reward them for it. If the desired renewal of the Church depends for the most part on its priests, then it will also depend to a large degree on the families and in particular women and mothers.” –May 4, 1987

Jesus willed His Eternal Priesthood in and through a Mother. In God’s providence, that is the way the Lord ordained it to happen and that is also the normal way the Church fosters vocations to the priesthood: Through good family life; through holy mothers!

Although it isn’t an absolute necessity to spiritually adopt a priest as a Spiritual Mother, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy has requested this been done throughout the entire Church.2 In other words, it is by obedience, we as a sodality recommend and are assisting women in their adoption of an ordained priest.3 Spiritually speaking, it is fitting for a woman to adopt a priest because it is done in direct imitation of Mary, who was the physical mother of the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ. Thus, in spiritually adopting a priest, women are simply following in the footsteps of our Lady.

What the Blessed Virgin Mary is by nature (the physical mother of the Great High Priest), women can do by grace (spiritual adoption of an ordained priest, “the Alter Christus”). 

1) Cf. Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, “Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity”, Page 5
2) cf. Congregation for the Clergy, Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity
3) N .B. – Women who request to be a spiritual mother can choose their own priest to spiritually adopt. If they don’t have a specific priest they want to adopt, the Spiritual Motherhood Sodality assigns a priest to them anonymously. This sodality has lists of priests given to them directly, or has received a priest from a “public prayer list” freely available to the community. The Spiritual Mother has no real contact with the priest assigned to her and only knows of his first name.

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