For nearly 150 years, Mother Love, has served as an invaluable spiritual resource for generations of Christian Mothers. I am indebted to my predecessors for their contributions to the many previous editions of this beautiful devotional book. We have striven to provide for you, dear reader, the best of those previous volumes. In assembling the current edition, I asked members of the Archconfraternity who have been very familiar with the many editions we have published in English and German since 1880 to draw from them the prayers and readings they found most helpful and to suggest additions as well. We are proud to present to you this current edition of Mother Love, confident that you will find in these pages the formational and spiritual inspiration so needed for the support of your vocation and your family. May Christ our King, true Savior and Ruler of the world, bless and consecrate your hearts and homes! Mother of Sorrows, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
Rev. Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap. Director General
Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers
We are working with the company that produced many editions of Mother Love throughout the 20th century to give you a volume with a beauty and quality befitting the treasures of grace to be found on the pages. Its size, materials, and style mimic those used in some of the very earliest editions of the book. We want it to look and feel like something our great-grandmothers may have used, and something we will want to pass on to our daughters and granddaughters. Some of the physical features include:
Artwork used in the editions of the late 19th century, that has been restored and digitized
Black leather binding with sewn pages
Ribbon page markers
Roughly 4”x5.5” size, perfect for hands and purse
Part I. Daily Prayers and Common Devotions
Part II. Prayers for the Special Needs of a Mother
Part III. Prayers for the Special Needs of the Children
Part IV. Prayers for Marriage and Widowhood
Part V. The Gift of New Life: Prayers for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborns
Part VI. Sacramental Life: Devotions for Confession & Holy Communion, the Holy Sacrifice of the
Mass, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Part VII. Sacred Scripture
Part VIII. Rosaries, Chaplets, Stations of the Cross
Part IX. Suffering Souls: Prayers for the Sick, the Dying, and the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Part X. Litanies
Part XI. Prayers and Points of Doctrine Mothers Should Teach Their Children
Part XII. The Confraternity of Christian Mothers
Part XIII. Other Confraternities and Pious Unions Beneficial to the Christian Mother
Part XIV. Little Book of Instructions for Christian Mothers
Part XV. Indulgences
We are deeply grateful to all of the following patrons of this work: To our predecessors, known and unknown, who created and revised the many earlier editions of this book, and to the Christian Mothers who have gone before us. May their work be counted unto them for eternity, and may they rest in peace. To Mrs. Colleen McDanald, Christian Mother and President of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers in Fort Collins, CO., for your devotion to Mother Love and countless hours scanning, compiling, organizing, editing, and formatting this edition. To Mrs. Leah Turner for your assistance in translating prayers from the German edition. To Fr. Joseph Tuscan, O.F.M. Cap., National Director of the Archconfraternity, for your leadership, encouragement and support. To Mrs. Jill Turok for your long-standing service as secretary of the Christian Mothers Office and persistence and willingness to distribute the new edition. To the Lady National Officers and other Christian Mothers for input and editing. To Mr. Tom Berryhill for restoring and digitizing the original graphics and to Ms. Olivia Miller for contributing graphics. To Raff Printing Co. for your attention to the important details of printing a high quality book. To Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. in Boston for granting your Imprimatur, and to all the other clerics who reviewed and advised us on this work..
Frequently Asked Questions
Why make a new edition?
The new edition is an effort to restore, renew and reorganize the best content from prior editions.
Restoration: Mother Love has a history of being revised about every decade or two since its first appearance in the late 19th century. Some revisions involved minor changes and some were major overhauls. When the last copies of the most recent version began to sell out, Fr. Tuscan decided to commission a new edition with the aim of restoring many of the devotions that had been removed over time, and printing them with high quality materials in a classic style.
Renewal: Why create a new edition instead of simply reprinting an old one? Every major revision, starting with the first ones in 1888-1890, added some beautiful content and cut other beautiful content. Sometimes prayers of a very motherly character were replaced with prayers of a more general nature. We also noticed that some important prayers common to Christian Mothers’ prayers have appeared since the book was originally printed and aren’t to be found in any of the existing editions, i.e. the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, the Fatima Prayers, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We wanted to give Christian Mothers a “best-of” edition that would both restore many of the motherly prayers that had been lost and include a few prayers that are of more recent usage. Finally, since the Holy See has changed the expression and matter of indulgences (in many ways being more generous with granting indulgences), we wanted to offer women clear and accurate information on the indulgences attached to the prayers and good works recommended in the book.
Reorganization: We tried to organize this edition in a way that makes prayers easy to find, avoids duplication, and keeps like prayers together rather than placing them in various sections throughout the book. We also tried to keep the style and formatting uniform and easy to read.
Which older editions contributed to the new edition?
We considered 10 older volumes to form the new edition. The content of the 2023 edition is mostly comprised of texts from the following:
The original, written by a German bishop and published in Germany in 1880 under the title, “The Christian Mother: Her Education and Her Prayer.”
The first known English edition, published in 1888 under the title “Mother Love.”
An edition published in the German language in 1890, partially translated for use in our book. This edition resembles each of the earlier editions in different ways, but it is quite a bit more extensive. It is unclear whether this volume originally appeared in German or if it is a German translation of an English version we have since lost.
A revised edition published in 1926. This edition is much like the 1890 German but also has a wide array of unique features.
A revised edition published in 1960. This edition is substantially similar to the 1951 edition, with much of the same content as the 1926, but again, with its own unique content.
A revised edition published in 1989.
Also consulted were editions published in 1951, 1971, 1999, and 2007.
How did you select the prayers for the new edition?
We did this through prayer and seeking the will of God and the opinions of Christian Mothers.
Prayer: Over the course of several years, through many of the ordinary and extraordinary times of motherly joy and sorrow, we used and compared many editions of Mother Love to guide our prayers. Countless times, the prayerful yearnings of our mothers’ hearts were beautifully expressed by prayers we read on the pages: at home, at Mass, at Adoration, at Christian Mothers’ meetings. We made Mother Love our primary devotional book and began to identify those prayers that seemed uniquely suited to the cares and situations of motherhood and family life.
Will of God: The discernment of which prayers to include in the new book was a careful process of examining the prayers that were available, using them in our own prayer, and also praying to our Lord, our Lady, and our patron saints about them. In some cases we prayed for weeks or months for help with a single word or prayer. We have submitted all of our work to His will alone, and we have obtained ecclesiastical approval. We hope and believe that the result is a prayer book that gives Him honor and glory and aids Christian Mothers in their vocations as they love and lead the precious souls entrusted to their keeping.
Christian Mothers: Many Christian Mothers have been consulted in selecting the prayers for this edition - not the least of whom are our patrons and motherly ancestors, whose prayers are found in previous editions! As Fr. Tuscan has traveled and served many local Confraternities throughout the United States and beyond, he has brought us great feedback from Christian Mothers about what they love about the older editions and what they would like to see in the new one.
Where did the "new" prayers come from?
One of the main governing rules of our content selection process was simply that we only wanted to pass on what had been handed down to us in previous editions. We made very few exceptions to this rule, so if you identify “new” prayers, chances are that they actually come from a much older edition.
The major exception to that rule is that we added an entire section of Sacred Scripture. Since Mother Love often becomes a mother’s daily prayer book, we chose passages that the Church uses in Her daily prayers - the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours - as well as lines that speak to the particular vocation of motherhood and verses meant to lift a mother’s heart in thanksgiving and praise.
There are a few other additions - the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, prayers from the visions at Fatima, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary and some others - that seemed worthy and appropriate to add for those who wish to have them.
Why do the indulgences look different?
Mother Love has always included information and teachings on indulgences. In 1968, the Holy See changed the expression of partial indulgences and offered expanded plenary and partial indulgences for some prayers and acts, while reducing those for others. While some women really appreciate the older expressions, many of them are no longer valid (anything offering a partial indulgence in terms of a period of time, for example). We want to encourage mothers to take advantage of the vast opportunities for gaining indulgences that are available to them every day, so we imitated our predecessors by presenting teachings on the doctrine of indulgences and identifying those prayers and good works for which mothers may gain indulgences.
I go/don't go to the Latin Mass - will this book be good for me?
Yes! Like the first Christian Mothers who started the Confraternity in France after the French Revolution, Christian Mothers today are faithful, devout Catholic women who are committed to bringing up holy, happy families in a world full of darkness and sin. One of the richest blessings of the Confraternity is that each Christian Mother is united in prayer and good works with all other Christian Mothers across the globe and throughout time.
We have kept this unity at the forefront of our minds as we prepared the new edition of Mother Love. We want all Christian Mothers to find treasures within it that suit their motherly devotion. We understand that not all women will be drawn to all of the devotions, but we hope that all women will find an abundance of fruitful devotions suited to their own joys and cares, and beneficial to the children.
Why doesn't the new edition use Elizabethan English?
While many women like to pray using the Elizabethan English (“Deignest Thou, we beseech Thee, O Lord…”), others do not. As early as 1951, if not earlier, most of the prayers of Mother Love have been translated in a classic, poetic, feminine style with common English, and we have made our best efforts to maintain this style. We have attempted to avoid extremes in this matter, neither making the language of the prayers archaic and difficult, nor modernizing them with too simple and banal terms. We have maintained the Elizabethan English where it seemed most warranted, such as in the Our Father, Hail Mary, and other prayers where it is still most commonly used. We encourage mothers who love to pray with the Elizabethan English to make the mental translation as they pray.
Finally, we would just note that the issue is unique to English, so it is not a question of one or the other being intrinsically more reverent, nor did the old English forms of address (Thee, Thou…) originally express a more formal or elevated style than the common forms (You, Your…). Many scholars would argue that the former style was originally a more familiar form of address, which became a popular usage in prayer due to the widespread use of the King James Bible.
Why is the Book of Instructions shorter?
Many older editions of Mother Love devoted up to one-third or even nearly one-half of their pages to the Book of Instructions. We love so much of the wisdom in these Instructions, but we found that we could offer many of the important principles without sacrificing so much of the space needed for the many beautiful prayers and devotions we thought you’d love and value.
We know that conscientious Christian Mothers are working to address modern problems with their kids using many modern resources. We thought it best to avoid trying to tackle modern problems in this book, lest it quickly become outdated. The 2023 Book of Instructions offers timeless wisdom and principles that mothers of all generations can learn and use. Most of the text actually comes from the very first edition, in a mildly abbreviated and adapted form.
We have discussed the possibility of creating a companion to the Mother Love devotional book that would include a lengthier Book of Instructions and more of the statutes and resources of the Confraternity. We might also try to make some other versions of the Book of Instructions available electronically. More on this in the future.
Is Mother Love available electronically?
We are working to develop an electronic version of Mother Love.