MOTHER’S DAY PROCLAMATION
Updated: May 13, 2019
“Arise, then… women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!
Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.
Our husbands shall 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, 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 bosom of the 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 out dishonor, nor violence vindicate 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 council.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means
whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women, without limit of nationality, may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient, and at 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.“
~ Julia Ward Howe 1870
The Mothers’ Day Proclamation was an appeal to “women throughout the world” to unify for peace. Written by, Julia Ward Howe in 1870, there is no doubt the writing came as a direct response from her experience with the harsh realities of war. She was involved with the Civil War’s Sanitary Commission and saw up-close, the carnage of war upon the youth.
Greatly distressed at the conditions of the day, she worked tirelessly over the years for human rights and human equality for people of color and women.
The proclamation was supposed to have been a celebration to establish a “Mother’s Peace Day” honoring women’s suffrage and the eradication of war. Ms Howe asked for that day to be June 2nd, but her plea was not heard, let alone answered. A courageous and strong woman with numerous humanitarian achievements, she is most recognized as the author of, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but interestingly enough, Julia Howe was the sister-in-law to the sculpture of Lady Freedom, Thomas Crawford!
Julia’s sister, Louisa, accompanied her and her new husband, Samuel Howe, on their honeymoon to Europe in 1843. They all met in Thomas Crawford’s studio in Rome, Italy. The couple, Louisa and Thomas, were married in November of 1844.
If you believe the, Mother’s Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe holds the original idea for what we know today as, Mother’s Day, then know it had to simmer for 44 years before President Woodrow Wilson recognized the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and a national holiday on May 9, 1914. But even he needed convincing....
Anna Marie Jarvis, born May 1, 1864, Taylor County, West Virginia was the person to convince him. Jarvis is considered the founder and inspiration of Mother’s Day. Born to a mother who was socially active, Anna followed in her mother’s footsteps, but not until later in her own life when she campaigned for a national, Mother’s Day in 1907, two years after her mother’s death.
The first official observance of Mother’s Day is considered to be May 10, 1908 when Anna Marie held a service to honor her mother and all mothers. As the day grew in popularity, commercialism set in.
In her own words: A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment. ~ Anna Jarvis
While many began to profit financially off the day, (florists and card companies) Anna struggled to keep the day more sacred. She was not successful, and after moving in with her sister, was placed in a sanitarium in Pennsylvania. It has been reported that those connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium.
The Heart of Lady Freedom invites all women who feel called to gather this June 2nd in honor of Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis for the protection and bright health of our children and our Motherlands. Details will soon follow.
Katya Miller & Kristen Farquhar
Julia Ward Howe: Attribution, Engraving after a drawing by Porter; Hulton Archive/Educational