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A Tribute to our Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Vocations Team asked some of the Claretians and those in formation to share a little about their mothers.

Fr. Fco. Javier Reyes, C.M.F.

“It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish. Your son will be saved.” This is what a bishop told St. Monica after noticing how much time she expended in constant prayer asking for the conversion of her son Augustine. St. Augustine, in his Confessions also says that his mother prayed for his conversion and she would not give up and eventually God answered her prayers. She expended 17 years in prayer and fasting for the conversion of her son without losing hope. How priceless are a mother’s tears!

My mother’s name is Angelina Rodríguez Marquez. She was born and raised in Valparaiso, Zacatecas, Mexico. She is the 7th of 15 siblings. At the age of 18 she married to my father, Vicente Reyes and together they raised a family of 5. My mother has committed her entire life to her family. Always caring for her children at home and always finding time for God. I can only describe her as an incredible woman, daughter, sister, mother, and friend. I always admire the love that she puts in all she does. Since the first moment I told her that I felt called to the priesthood she became my strong supporter and partner in prayer. She has been there in the ups and downs of my journey responding to God. I have seen tears of pain and joy in her eyes as she walks with me in this adventure. It was in the summer of 2010 when I told her that I was joining the Claretian Missionaries. I saw tears in her eyes as she said: “ay, mijo… haz lo que tengas que hacer. Si esa es la voluntad de Dios.” [Oh my son…do what you need to do. If that is God’s will.] That is who she is and the person I admire the most; always trying to do the will of God and putting other people’s needs before her own.

When asked what advice she would give to a mother whose son is discerning with the Claretians, she said: “our responsibility as mothers is to support and be there as our sons are exploring the difficult questions. We as mothers must trust in God, pray, and do his will. He guides and gives the strength. There is no other way!”

“It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish…” Always grateful to God for my mother who helped me become the man I am today. Happy Mother’s Day!

David Gutiérrez, CMF - Seminarian

My mom’s name is Rufina Gutiérrez. She was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States with my sisters and brother in the year 1983. She is my example of a strong faith and love for the Catholic Church. She prays the rosary daily, reads books related to the faith, and listens to Catholic radio to follow along with the devotions.

When I told her I was discerning a vocation to the religious life she was a little skeptical as it was far removed from what anyone would have thought I would do, but eventually she told me that if it is God’s will, it would come to fruition. She then gave me her blessing and told me to do my part and God would do his.

Fr. Steve Niskanen, CMF

My mother, Monica (nee Bonemeyer) was a major influence on my faith development as a Catholic. She never pushed me in the direction of entering the seminary; in fact, I don’t remember her ever raising the issue of my possibly becoming a priest. But she certainly provided the loving home environment in which my vocation could take root and grow.

Over the years, she shared stories with me and my siblings which helped to center us in a deep belief in God and his goodness. Often, she would tell us of how, from the time she was a little girl, she prayed to God for a “good and holy Catholic husband.” And then with a smile on her face, she recounted how she was absolutely convinced that my dad, Clarence, who at the time was a lukewarm Lutheran, was the man that she had prayed for, and told him so to his face! My mom was a prophet, for when I was 14 yrs. old, my dad made the decision to become Catholic, ratifying a move he had made in his heart long before.

Mom would also frequently remind us kids of scripture passages that we could “hang onto” during difficult times. Among these were: Romans 8:28 “All things work for the good of those who love and serve the Lord”; and Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” And to kind of put everything in perspective, she would tell us that, in the end, the only thing that really mattered was that we loved God, saved our souls, and went to heaven.

Ricardo Rangel, CMF - Seminarian

This my mom. Her name is Luz Maria Rangel. She is originally from Penjamo, Guanajuato, Mexico. For many years she has been a faithful devotee of the Rosary and of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which she prays devoutly daily. When I told her that I had been accepted by the Claretians and that I would enter their formation program she told me, “¿Qué bien he hecho yo para que Dios me haya dado esta bendición?”[What good thing have I done for God to give me this blessing?] The thing I admire most about her is the pure and blind faith she has in God and His Blessed Mother Mary. She says that nothing is impossible for them. I am sure that the advice that she would give to a mother whose son or daughter who is discerning his or her religious vocation would be: If that is his/her happiness, help him/her to be happy.

Fr. Art Gramaje, CMF

My mother, Ursula Gramaje, is a survivor. As a teenager, she endured the WWII Japanese invasion of the northern Philippines. This experience emboldened her already strong will. This served her well in the years away from her family when she, my father and brother moved to the USA.

She has been so proud of me as a Claretian priest over the years. I was blessed to celebrate with my family and friends my mother and father's 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries. I do not think I have ever seen my mother so proud as on those special days.

Have a graced Mother's Day mom!

Fr. Byron Macias, CMF

From my mother I have learned my faith, to fight for my ideals and what unconditional love is: it forgives and can do everything. My mom’s name is María Esther Gallegos Sánchez and she had me at 30 years old. She was a high school teacher for thousands of young ladies throughout her career and at the same time raised two lawyers and a Claretian (my siblings and me).

This is the advice my mother wants to share with the mothers whose sons are considering religious life and the priesthood: “As mothers, we need to support our children to take away their fears. Wherever they go they will have difficulties, but the Claretians are a great community. They are like family. We did not lose a son, but rather we gained 3,000 more sons. Furthermore, we cannot appropriate the call that God gives to our children, but we must nurture it.”

I can attest that my mother has done this with me, that's why I thank God for the gift of my mom. Happy Mother's Day, Mami!

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