Mothering Sunday Tea

March 31, 2019 - 2:00 PM

Mothering Sunday is generally observed in parishes of the Church of England, as well as in the rest of the UK and many Anglican parishes throughout the world, especially in Canada and Australia. It falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, one of those “Rose” or Pink Sundays when Father wears the Pink Jean Harlow Memorial Shower Curtain chasuble.  Mothering Sunday is exactly three weeks before Easter Day. Once observed as a day on which people would visit their "mother" church, it has become an occasion for honoring the mothers of children and giving them presents.

 During the 16th century, people returned to their mother church for a service to be held on Laetare Sunday; in this context, one's 'mother church' was either the church where one was baptized, or the local parish church, or the nearest cathedral (the latter being the mother church of all the parish churches in a diocese). In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since on other days they were prevented from doing so by conflicting working hours.  Children and young people who were "in service" (as household servants) were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families (or, originally, return to their "mother" church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday tradition of honoring mothers with gifts.

 Among Anglo-Catholics, Mothering Sunday also became a day to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord, and also our own spiritual Mother.  Flowers were brought by the faithful - in such quantity that the Image of Our Lady in the shrine was sometimes almost invisible – to thank Her for her prayers and her consolation.