In a time where we all judge everybody (including ourselves), it's nice to take a step back and look at role models. While I admit to enjoying People magazine and seeing the latest news with "Duchess Kate" while I am at doctors offices, I try not to spend money (or too much of my time) comparing and idolizing these beautiful and amazing people. It doesn't really feel productive and often after I have a "guilty pleasure" of reading gossip pages, I realize it doesn't really make me feel better as a woman.
There is one modern amazing woman though who every time I read about her, I feel inspired and that becoming more like this woman is actually possible. St. Gianna is her name. I'll talk a little more about her later.
I'm sure that like many others share the viewpoint with me that while Mother Teresa and many other holy people are great to look up to, let's face it, when I'm being honest with myself, it's not going to happen. However, I remind myself not to throw in the towel yet...
The spiritual reading, meditation and time of prayer I used to have. Yep, that too, has kind of gotten pushed aside to dealing with the laundry, playing ball at the park and reading to my son.
Even in Mother Teresa's own words, "if you want to save the world, love your children." Let me tell you, as a mother of a toddler, that's a good phrase to be reminded of. At this season in my life, it's just not possible to do the charitable work and everything else I did as a single woman (including mission trips to Mongolia and other spontaneous outings). Just changing that poopy diaper, day after day, and wiping that snotty nose and struggling to get the toddler to nap, or waking up at 2 am to clean up vomit. Yep, that's the more likely route I am going to be taking to holiness.... A wise Dominican priest was just sharing some thoughts yesterday that I thought were quite consoling for a mother of a young child. His comments were that while there are spiritual giants in the world, look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is obviously very loved by God and she did not have a "dramatic" spiritual life. She wasn't spending time with the Angel Gabriel gossiping about the goings on in the celestial kingdom. She wasn't spending time in ecstasy. She was making dinner. And there was a time when Jesus, even though he is the Son of God, he was after all, once a 3 year old.
So back to a role model in the modern world. If someone told you about a working mom, juggling being a physician and a mother of 3 and a husband that travels all the time, you might think of your neighbor, or yourself. Add on that she was an avid skier and had a propensity to speed? I can definitely feel an affinity for her. I'm not going to tell you the story of how Gianna Beretta Molla became a Saint, there are plenty of good resources that do that (I will include a list below). Please learn more about her and be inspired by someone like you and me who is living the everyday life of a mother. Hopefully she will become an inspiring, life-giving role model for you too!
I'll leave you with a quote from her, one I will try to mediate on as I do my next load of laundry...
"The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day"
The Journey of Our Love: The Letters of Saint Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla
Gianna: The Love Letters of a Saint
Love is A Choice: The Life of St. Gianna Molla (DVD which includes home-video from her wedding and video of her canonization, with her family present at the Vatican).