If you’ve ever wondered about Mother’s Day history, it all began with a prayer by Ann Reeves Jarvis:
I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life.”
A Movement of Families and Peace
Ann was a social activist who organized Mother’s Day work clubs in the 1850s “that worked to reduce infant mortality and improve sanitary conditions for mothers and families. During the Civil War, these groups also cared for wounded soldiers from both sides.” After the war, these women continued to meet. Their efforts shifted to promoting peace and to heal a still sharply divided country.
Saving and protecting children’s lives may have been an especially important issue to Ann. She lost 9 of her 13 children before they reached adulthood. During this time period “15 to 30% of infants in that Appalachian region died before their first birthday…largely due to epidemics that were spread by poor sanitary conditions…”
Ann’s 12 year old daughter Anna Jarvis was inspired by her mother’s prayer. She went on to do big things. Anna complete seminary and eventually became Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance’s first female advertising editor. All the while, she maintained close contact with her mother, Ann.
Three years after Ann’s death, Anna honored her mother and all mothers by celebrating the first official Mother’s Day at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. She sent 500 white carnations for each attendee…
…to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying…”
Mother’s Day history was made…
…when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation on May 9, 1914. From then on, the second Sunday of May became “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
As you celebrate this day, remember Mother’s Day history. It’s not just a day to honor your own mother, but every mother.
Today is a special day because it’s my wife’s first Mother’s Day. Much like Ann instilled her values and strengths into Anna, I’ve seen how Kristen’s mom has done the same for her.
Anna’s mother set up Mother’s Day work clubs. Ann went on to create the first official observed Mother’s Day. Kristen’s mom was Miss North Carolina in 1982. Kristen went on to win Miss USA in 2009.
Passing along the faith
The most important correlation I’ve seen in the lives of these women, however, is how the mothers passed along their faith to their daughters. October is the set month for Kristen’s first major book release. The book is a faith-based book called The Sparkle Effect. It will impact the lives of young women everywhere. Many of the lessons Kristen will pass along to other young women were lessons she learned from her mom. But the most important life my wife will teach is our daughter, Aurora. Today, something special may come forth to a daughter listening to her mother’s prayer.
Happy Mother’s Day.