Women’s Ministry reflects on Mary’s tender motherhood


Photo by: Lily Fitzgibbons

On the evening of Nov. 14 in the Gentile Gallery, several spiritual mothers well-versed in Marian devotion spoke to a cozy gathering of young women on uniquely intimate ways of forming a relationship with Mary.

The event, entitled Abiding Like Mary and hosted by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Women’s Ministry, highlighted the Blessed Mother’s relationship with God and his children, the baptized faithful.

The night began with a talk from Cindy Costello, mother of four and certified theology of the body instructor, who emphasized Mary’s spiritual and physical protection.

Costello said that Mary is “ever the consolation of those who love her” and that she will always support her children on the path to heaven.

“I’ll be ready to greet (Jesus) as his beloved disciple because I’m Mary’s spiritual daughter,” Costello said, referencing John 19:26-27.

Costello spoke of praying in the mother’s womb. “Place yourself either in her heart or in her womb … she has an immaculate womb,” Costello said, comparing motherhood to mercy. “The Hebrew word for womb is mercy.”

In addition to reflecting on being born of Mary, Costello challenged her audience to find a favorite devotion or title of Mary, whether it be Our Lady of Guadalupe, Undoer of Knots or the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Depending on specific needs, Costello recommended creating a unique name for Mary to use in any situation.

Freshman Kelly Sliker took Costello’s recommendation to heart and said she would be praying to “Our Lady of College … and definitely Our Lady of Stress.”

“I think it makes it a lot easier to just get through your day when you have Mary advocating for that thing (you’re struggling with),” Sliker said.

Women’s Ministry coordinator Sister Teresa Reyes, TOR, spoke about the “mother wound”: an instance when a physical mother’s lack of perfect love leads to woundedness and a twisted idea of the Blessed Mother’s love.

When reflecting on Mary’s seven sorrows, Reyes said, “It hit me that Mary really experienced pain and hardships and suffering in her life and that she can relate to the heartaches that I’ve experienced.” Meditating on Mary’s life, Reyes said, “Just as Mary was not loved less in her pain and suffering, neither am I.”

The final Women’s Ministry event of the semester will be a paint night on Wednesday, Nov. 28.