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“Behind all priests there is a spiritual mother who asked God for their vocation. She bears them through spiritual suffering and ‘nourishes’ them by offering to God all her daily activities so that they become holy priests.”

-Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity

What is spiritual motherhood of priests?

“The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is largely unknown, scarcely understood, and consequently, rarely lived, notwithstanding its fundamental importance. It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life.” – Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity

All women are called by God to be mothers and nurture new life, whether that be physical, spiritual, or both. As Dr. Alice von Hildebrand said, “A mother is the very essence of femininity. We have got to be mothers!”

Our Lord is thirsting for us, thirsting for souls to come to Him and draw water from the fountain of life. In these times more than ever, society has rebelled against God, and even many baptized Catholics have walked away from the truth or do not believe in the Eucharist. Our priests are on the frontlines of the spiritual battle taking place all around us, striving to fulfill the command of Christ to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” We all are asked to participate in the beautiful work of evangelization, and for some, this may look like quietly supporting priests in their ministry through spiritual motherhood.

The authors of the Gospels mention women traveling with Jesus and His Apostles and caring for them (Luke 8: 1-3, Matthew 27: 55-56). We can imagine that these same women, including Our Lady, were a huge support for the Apostles, the first priests, as they spread the Gospel around the world. Women who feel led to become spiritual mothers of priests are therefore part of a beautiful lineage of female saints who have consoled the Heart of Jesus through offering prayers and sacrifices for priests, including St. Therese, Blessed Alessandrina da Costa, Venerable Conchita, and several more.

What is the commitment required of a spiritual mother?

The only true commitment a spiritual mother takes on in spiritually adopting a priest is to offer daily prayers and/or sacrifices for him for the rest of her life. The specifics of this are up to the individual. If you feel at any time that you cannot fulfill this commitment, you are welcome to let us know so that we can reassign the priest. Here are some recommendations for how to live out spiritual motherhood of a priest:

  • offer a weekly Holy Hour for him
  • receive the Eucharist and go to Confession as often as possible
  • pray the Rosary for your priest, intentionally praying for his increase in specific virtues before each decade
  • have Masses said or offer the Masses you attend for your priest
  • pray a specific prayer for your priest or all priests daily (here are some prayers for priests)
  • be a Eucharistic and Marian soul and offer up your sufferings for your priest
  • be respectful of all priests and do not speak ill of them

Sign up to adopt a priest!

Links to Prayers for Priests

“Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!” – Pope St. Pius X

“That cry of the Son of God, lamenting that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few, is always relevant. How it tears at our heartstrings. How have you responded to it up to now? Do you pray at least daily for that intention?”

– St. Josemaria Escriva