Today we celebrate the birthday of Mary, even though we don’t know when her birthday was. The Gospel gives us a list of the ancestors of Joseph, but not of Mary.
It occurred to me that we could call Mary the Patron Saint of all mothers; and, following on that, we could use her feast day to celebrate the birthdays of all our mothers.
So, what was your mother’s birthday? What was her name? Where was she born? What were her parents doing back then?
My mother, Kitty Callahan, was born in St. Louis on August 4, 1889. Her mother was Margaret Kelly; and Margaret had two brothers, Tom and Jeremiah; and she had two sisters, Julia and Mamie.
My grandmother Margaret married Mike Callahan who led a crew of Irishmen who strung telephone wires across the plain states. Margaret had Tuberculosis, and before little Kitty was two, the family thought Margaret’s health would improve if she followed Mike up to Omaha.
Bunking with his Irish boys up there, she wrote heartbreaking letters to her brother Jeremiah, asking him for every detail about little Kitty’s first teeth and first words.
Little Kitty was two when her mother died, and her uncles and aunts used every trick to spoil her. They gave her piano lesson, and they clapped for her singing.
She would have liked staying spoiled, but with six kids of her own, and with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law taking one of our three bedrooms, it was hard for her to stay spoiled.
Night after night she had to stir up dinner for the ten of us. Sometimes that had her sending me around, knocking on back doors, saying, “Mother wants to know if you could lend us a dollar until payday.”
But, mother stirred up scrumptious meals for us; and then in the evenings, sitting at the piano, and singing old favorites, she reverted to her role as spoiled little Kitty Callahan.