Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving

Barbara Mahany. Abingdon, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5018-2727-3
In her second collection of essays, former Chicago Tribune writer Mahany (Slowing Time) reflects on what it means to be a mother, combining intimate reflections on her own experiences mothering two boys and ruminations on how learning to mother is learning to love radically “as instructed in the Gospel, the Torah, the Qur’an, and every holy book ever inscribed.” Mahany’s journalistic eye for detail and lyrical prose breathe new life into the seemingly simple, almost mundane aspects of motherhood—wet washcloths on feverish foreheads, rainy afternoons spent looking for worms, and cold winter mornings spent stirring porridge. She beautifully captures how mothering—loving deeply day in and day out, even when stretched to emotional and physical limits—can itself be sacramental. Motherhood is a subject that often falls prey to trite tropes and gender essentialism. But Mahany frames the term motherhood as simply the nurturing and selfless care for another, carefully demonstrating that her conception of mothering transcends gender and biology and is open to both women and men. This wonderful book on the beauty of loving well will be appreciated by anyone interested in how mothering can be informed by Christ’s selfless love. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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