Most Memorable Mother's Day

Catholic moms share their favorite memories

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By Lori Hadacek Chaplin

Here are some fun an funny memories of Mother's Day past. Check out our handy gift guide at the end of the story, too. 


Ultimate Gift

Sherry Grenchik, a mother of six children, from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, received the ultimate Mother’s Day gift in 2003.


“In 2002 we decided to add to our family through adoption. On the Friday before Mother’s Day 2003, our precious 10-month-old son, Mark Francis, arrived from South Korea. He was escorted here, so we met him and the sweet lady that had cared for him at the airport. The moment I saw his sweet, chubby face, it was like giving birth in front of complete strangers that had stopped to witness our unforgettable moment. I’ll never forget that Mother’s Day!” she told Catholic Digest.


The gift of baby Mark was so wonderful that the family adopted another boy, Matthew, from Liberia, West Africa, in November 2005. When Sherry asked her parish priest what he thought of her colorful-looking family, he said, “I think it’s what heaven will be like.”


A Cherished Lesson

A mother of nine children from Hagerstown, Maryland, Susan Rohr’s most memorable Mother’s Day gift was inspired by a moment of grace-filled learning.


“My inquisitive five-year-old son, Steven, often bombarded me with questions. Many times I would say a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit to be able to answer in ways he would understand. One day while he was doing his schoolwork, he suddenly looked up and said, ‘Mommy, why did God make parents?’


“As simple as this question was, I prayed to God for help to answer it while Steven’s clear blue eyes gazed at me expectantly. I picked up my marker board and in the upper corner, I drew a large pitcher tipped over, ready to pour, and labeled it ‘God.’ In the opposite corner, I drew a glass and labeled it with an ‘S’ for Steven. I explained, ‘God is continually pouring out his amazing grace upon all his beloved children. He wants you to have his grace in abundance!’


Then I drew a funnel between the ‘God’ pitcher and the ‘Steven’ glass, putting a ‘P’ for parents on it. I told him, ‘God created parents as a very special, loving channel of his grace. Parents are called to raise their children for God and his glory, and he helps us every step of the way.’


“Steven was hanging on my every word, so I continued. I drew ‘Grace’ pouring from the ‘God’ pitcher through the ‘Parent’ funnel, filling up ‘Steven’ the glass. Steven’s eyes grew wide with understanding, and he gasped with delight. I drew more glasses next to Steven to represent his siblings and to show that God’s grace flows onto them as well.


“Steven’s response was, ‘Wow! God created parents to make sure their children know God and receive his grace! That makes sense! That’s cool!’


“Years later, while I was enjoying breakfast in bed one Mother’s Day with my children surrounding me, Steven handed me an oddly wrapped gift. Tears sprung quickly to my eyes, as I tore the paper away to reveal a funnel.”*

*Story edited by Lori Hadacek Chaplin


Surprise cake

Mother of eleven from Templeton, Iowa, Amy Dea, told Catholic Digest that her favorite Mother’s Day gift has become a family tradition.


“It was before I knew that my daughters were such good cooks. They surprised me with my favorite cake: carrot cake. They not only made it completely from scratch, they made it to look exactly like the carrot cake on the cover of a magazine. I have never been so surprised! I have no idea how they managed to bake and decorate it without my knowing. Now I get carrot cake every year.”


Day of Pampering

Christina Korson, a mother of eleven from Fort Wayne, Indiana, told Catholic Digest her best Mother’s Day present was a day of pampering.


“It was my very first Mother’s day. My husband and I went to Mass with our newborn son. It was very emotional. As I looked at my son, it hit me that now I was really somebody: I was this child’s mother. It was a beautiful day spent in intimacy with my little newborn and my husband. I remember with how much love and tenderness my husband treated me. We capped off the day with a wonderful, romantic dinner out. My little baby slept serenely throughout our meal. I still remember the shrimp tempura with its tangy orange sauce. I felt so blessed and truly grateful for the gift of my husband and our son.”


First Mother’s Day faux pas

Lisa Popcak from EWTN’s More2Life shared this amusing Mother’s Day anecdote on the radio show which she co-hosts with her husband, Greg, and it tickled the editors so much that we wanted to share it with you.


In the story, Lisa recalls standing in line at a store when she noticed that one of the clerks was visibly upset; the young woman was lamenting to another worker that she just did not know what she was going to do. The woman had delivered her first baby less than six weeks ago; she was back working before she felt ready, and now this.


It seemed that the young woman’s husband had graciously asked her what she would like to receive as a gift for Mother’s Day, and she had waxed on about how much she wanted to have a dogwood tree planted outside her house to commemorate her first Mother’s Day. She imagined how wonderful and peaceful it would be to look out the front window at that lovely, flowering tree while she rocked her baby to sleep.


Mother’s Day came and the unwitting husband presented her, not with a tree sapling, but with a baby puppy! She already felt overwhelmed, and now this. The next week, he made up for his faux pas with a tennis bracelet. Memorable doesn’t always mean wonderful!


Spoil your moms and grandmas gift guide

By Lori Hadacek Chaplin

If you haven’t already decided on a Mother’s Day present, Catholic Digest has selected a plethora of new-on-the-market, eye-catching gifts that will spoil that special mother and grandmother in your life.


Nature notes

$10.99 (18 4” x 6” cards) from or 831-768-8428

Assorted Cavallini Vintage Butterfly Postcards with nine different vintage butterfly illustrations comes with a reusable tin.


Floral vase

$64.95 (1/2”H x 6”W x 2”D) from or 877-255-3700

Stunning rectangular blown glass Botanical Flower Vase with vintage botanical flowers design.


Body care

$32.85 for set (lotion and liquid soap, each 8 fl oz., and 4.2 oz. bar soap); also sold separately from or 800-472-0425

Immaculate Waters Soap & Body Care offer freshly scented soaps and lotion (rose or lavender) made from water from the Grotto of Lourdes.


Signs of heaven

$12.71 from or 800-651-1531

In Hallowed Be This House: Finding Signs of Heaven in Your Home, Thomas Howard thoughtfully discusses the sacredness of each room of the home from the entryway, kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and even the bathroom.


Pray with the Church

$14.95 from or 800-348-2440

Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. writes in his new book, Novenas for the Church Year, “The novena stands out as a spiritual exercise of hopeful yearning and expectation. It helps predispose the one who prays to receive the particular heavenly graces sought.” Moms will appreciate having this lovely hardcover book which includes over 60 new novenas for the liturgical year.


Litany in Flowers

$24.96 paperback or $3.99 Kindle from

Moms who garden might especially appreciate this daily family devotional for the month of May. Read our longer review here.

Tea time

$37.99 from or 877-751-6377

The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming don’t just sell coffee. Moms and grandmas who enjoy drinking tea will appreciate their Aurora Tea Gift Set, which comes with two types of tea in bags (Aurora Blend White Tea and Mystic Monk Blend Tea), a tea mug, nicely contained in a pink gift basket.


French tea press

$24.95 from or 888-707-3873

A French press for tea, the 10-oz. Brewfish Insulated Glass Tea Press by Highwave has a double-walled glass vessel for brewing tea and keeping it hot. You can also drink directly from the press.

Go nuts

$31.95 from

RSVP has come out with an adorable way to easily chop nuts with their Hazel Nut Grinder. Just fill the acorn hopper with shelled nuts and rotate the squirrel’s tail clockwise to fill the 8-oz. glass jar with coarsely chopped nuts.


Tasty tongs

$25.95 from

Endurance Tasty Tongs for the mother or grandmother who likes to entertain. These stainless-steel tongs will add a little whimsy to any table or buffet.


To market

$18.95 from

This Eco-Friendly Collapsible Market Basket is lightweight and can be taken to the grocery store or farmer’s market—a convenient and stylish way to forgo plastic and save the environment.


Comfy feet

$99.95 from or 800-526-2739

Comfortable and stylish, Aetrex’s Emily Adjustable Sandals feature memory foam, built-in orthotic support, and anti-microbial technology embedded in the footbed to protect against odor and bacteria.


Delicate scarf

$26 from

Lovely light-weight cotton/linen Brooklyn-Jenn Voile Scarves.


Mommy tee

$24.99 from

Pregnant moms will be tickled to receive a SONOGRAM Maternity T-Shirt with side ruching.


Cookie stamp

$14.95 each from or 800-827-6836


Add an artistic touch to your cookies. Choose from the Shamrock, Thistle, Celtic Cross, and Claddagh Stoneware Cookie Stamps from King Arthur Flour—or buy them all! Makes large 3" cookies.


Downton Abbey cooking

$12.61 from or 855-278-0402.

If your mother isn’t into cooking but is a Downton Abbey fan, she’ll be tickled with The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding. This cookbook is not only filled with rich recipes, it also contains fun etiquette lessons and interesting historical facts about culinary and dining in the Edwardian era.


Masterpiece Theatre & movie picks for moms

Downton Abbey Season 3

$29.99 from


Did you know that Downton Abbey has been edited for American audiences? Fans won’t want to miss a moment of Downton Abbey Season 3 (original U.K. version) recently released on DVD. Especially interesting is the behind-the-scenes extras about Lady Mary’s and Lady Edith’s weddings. In Lady Mary’s segment, we learn to what lengths cast and crew went to keep her dress from being photographed by the paparazzi and leaked to tabloids. Caveat: adult themes.


Les Misérables

$19.99 from

The critically acclaimed musical Les Misérables (DVD) provides a riveting retelling of Victor Hugo’s epic tale of redemption and the power of kindness. Fans will be interested in the special features, which include discussion by director Tom Hooper about casting the characters, behind-the-scenes production design, a mini-documentary about the historical backdrop, universal themes of Hugo’s classic, and more. Caveat: sexuality; rated-PG 13.


The Impossible

$27.43 from

Based on a true story, The Impossible (DVD) is a testimony to courage, perseverance, and the strong bonds of family. On a Christmas holiday in Thailand, Maria and Henry (played by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) and their three young boys are poolside when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit and killed nearly 230,000 people. This gripping story of how the family fought to be reunited despite impossible odds is one of the best films of 2012. Caveat: brief nudity, though not gratuitous; rated PG-13.


The Bouquet

$12.99 from

For those moms who love a good Hallmark film, The Bouquet (DVD) is a family-friendly movie about how a mother’s floundering floral shop helps her two self-centered daughters realize what is truly important in life.

Lori Hadacek Chaplin