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 | By Sister Guadalupe Flores, OLVM

The Consecrated Life

Religious Women Are Spiritual Mothers

From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has invited all religious to live the vow of fruitful chastity to create spiritual sons and daughters within the Church. Motherhood, then, is not only a biological matter but also a spiritual one. This living witness of faith was and is a pillar that helps believers uphold and maintain faith in Jesus Christ.

In the history of the Church, there has always been religious life. Spiritual motherhood has a very deep relationship with our consecration. From the beginning of our vocation, we welcome, serve and accompany our brothers and sisters in Christ. In this way, we give life to our femininity for the One who has called us to love without measure. We give ourselves with an open heart in all the situations that our communities and parishes need us, and in what God asks of us.

When people come to us and share their concerns, we listen with empathy and make their problems our own. With a few kind words we can help people feel that they are cherished and loved — we demonstrate God’s peace and hope. God is the one who calls us to develop our motherhood and from this call we can love those in most need. In our walk and our work, we find many who come to us in search of help, those who are unprotected, disconsolate and abandoned. We become their spiritual mothers in the model of Our Lady, the spiritual mother.

To be a biological mother is to be open to receiving and seeing a life growing in the womb, and to welcome and love that life. Every woman who gives life takes on the responsibility to care for the person being formed in her womb.

In a spiritual way, women religious are open to welcome and love all those the Lord puts in our path. We accompany each son or daughter that Christ gives us.

It is our responsibility to know and care for them, and because we have welcomed them into our hearts, we suffer with their pain, we rejoice in their joys and we are present to walk together with them, as a mother does with the son or daughter from her womb.

Women undergo physical changes in their bodies during pregnancy, experienced with joy and hope. By contrast, a woman religious experiences joy in consecrated chastity, which is not a lack of love, but a fullness of love that bears a different fruit in abundance. Consecrated women manifest our spiritual fruitfulness in listening to the voice of God in contemplative prayer. Then, we accompany spiritual children and collaborate in the formation of a new humanity that can commit itself to the construction of the kingdom of God.

Being a spiritual mother is to give oneself unconditionally to the spiritual growth of people. Knowing that we are loved by God, we can transmit this love to everyone. Our life from God, with God and in God makes us capable of freely loving our neighbor. The surrender to Christ of women religious requires us to work for the conversion and salvation of our brothers and sisters. This is the mystery and beauty of spiritual motherhood: giving our lives in service for eternal salvation.

May Mary our mother, who welcomed the eternal Word in her womb, help each of us so that we may be true spiritual mothers in a world divided and broken due to lack of hope and love.

Sister Guadalupe Flores is coordinator of Adult Faith Formation for the Office of Hispanic Ministry. Email her at