Mother’s Day, Mary and the Bread of Life

May 10, 2012

Food for Thought

This Mother’s Day marks one year since my mother succumbed to cancer.  I miss her and think of her often. When I think of my mom, my mind usually turns to food or the family gatherings that were surrounded by food.  Once, while in high school,  some friends stopped over to my house. Before they could leave, my mother had emptied the entire refrigerator! She would not let them leave until they ate something! In the world of food pushers, my Mom was the Godfather or should I say the Godmother! I guess mothers and food are forever linked in most of our minds.  But the food we receive from our mothers is much more than food.  Our mothers are our first teachers and the nourishment that they give to us is counted in greater terms than calories.

When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.
Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009

Yes we have a great gift from our mothers as they teach us who we are, who we have been and who we want to be.  May is also the month of Mary and on May 31st we will celebrate the great feast day of the Visitation.  In the same way our mothers taught us – OUR mother Mary teaches us through the food of life that she brought to the table – Jesus Christ. In times of prayer we turn to mother Mary to be taught the same lesson of who we are, who we have been and who we want to be and it is through Christ, the bread of life, that these things are revealed.

When looking through our church cook book I came across one of the most beautiful stories that illustrates this connection between our mothers, food and the bread of life.  The dedication in the cookbook includes a story from Father Kevin Finnegan.  It goes:

My mother, Evie, took delight in having a day off from work so she could dote on her children and bake bread! Several loaves would be gone within minutes of getting home from school. Several months after my mom died on May 22nd,1983, my family came to a deeper appreciation of mom, the bread baker.  My sister was looking in the freezer for something to cook for dinner when she came across a loaf of her bread. She brought it into the kitchen, and one by one she was joined by my father, my brother and me. We placed the bread on a cutting board and practically watched it defrost. Then we shared it among us, recalling with great affection the devotion which our mother loved and served her family.

“They recounted what had taken place on the way and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the Bread.”  Luke 24:35

My own mother was a kolacky maker, but I will include Evie’s batter bread recipe below.

What memories of food are forever connected to your mother?  Share them in the comments section below.

EVIE’S WHITE BATTER BREAD
1 c. milk                   2 pkgs. active dry yeast
3 T. sugar                1 c. warm water
1 T. salt                    4 1/2 c. unsifted flour
2 T. margarine

Scald milk. Stir in sugar, salt and margarine. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add milk to mixture. Stir in flour (batter will be fairly stiff). Beat about 2 minutes.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45 min. It will more than double in size. Stir batter down, beat vigorously for a minute. Turn into a well greased 9x5x4 in. loaf pan.  Bake in preheated oven at 375* for 50 min.  (Reprinted with permission from Divine Mercy Family Cookbook)

Honor your mother this Mother’s Day with food and stories about family, whether your mother is with you in this world or with the heavenly bread of life.

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About Sharon O'Connell-Wilson

I am a wife to my husband Dave and mother to my children Courtney and Gabe. I have a degree in education and have worked as a teacher, in advertising, radio, retail buyer and in youth advocacy – I even rode an elephant in the circus once! I am a “cradle” Catholic who didn’t really know my faith until my adulthood. On fire with my faith and love for God I dove into parish life at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Faribault, Minnesota. Once I dove in, I began to realized I needed to learn how to swim! Patient priests and friends as well as the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute helped me to learn the strokes. I love talking about my faith and learning more about the great gift of being Catholic. Find me at www.sharonagneswilson.com

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