Mothers of Faith

Mothers-of-faithMothers of Faith: Motherhood in the Christian Tradition, by Wilfred M. Sumani, S.J. (Meryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017), xvii + 298 pages. ISBN: 978-1-62698-257-4.

This book explores the riches of the biblical and Christian tradition of faith-based motherhood. With Mothers of Faith as its title, it naturally fills a gap in an imagination that is accustomed to thinking about “Fathers of the Church” only. Results of a long reflection on lived experiences and on the Christian theological tradition are here presented in an easily readable book that is divided into four parts. The first presents portraits of select mothers in the Old Testament, while the second focuses on mothers in the New Testament, culminating in the longest chapter of all: “Mary the Mother of Meditation.” The third part takes a few samples of mothers from the Christian tradition. The fourth part articulates the sacramental character of motherhood, arguing, among other things, that motherhood mirrors important qualities of God. Thus, to borrow the expression of Margaret Hebblethwaite, one can find “God in motherhood” and “motherhood in God.” In this sense, the book is intended for a readership wider than mothers. There is also a gradual progression in the book from narrative to more speculative theological engagement. The underlying conviction is that relevant and sound theology starts with human experience.