Mother’s Day Proclamation

May 13, 2007

It’s Mothers Day here. My wonderful husband got up to look after Chichi so I could have a sleep in, cooked me breakfast and gave me chocolates and a lovely new chef’s knife.

After all that I was sitting here at the computer feeling quietly content when I came upon a post about mothers day that made me sit up and think (The history is a little US-centric but it’s an idea worth pursuing so I’ll forgive them that!). The post was about Julia Ward Howe and her Mother’s Day proclamation. While Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia is credited with bringing about the official observance of ‘Mother’s Day’, she was clearly influenced by Julia Ward Howe who suggested the idea of Mother’s Day in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, saw Mother’s Day as being dedicated to peace.

This is Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

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One Response to “Mother’s Day Proclamation”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Wow, what a wonderful proclamation, Sharon! Funny how I never heard that over here in the good old US of A… Thanks so much for posting it!


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