|"Jesus & the Hen," Dominus Flevit|
|Spring conquering Winter|
In 1870, Howe, a pacifist, was struggling to put an end to war, convinced that no mother would willingly send her son to die in battle. In 1872, she declared June 2nd as "Mothers' Day of Peace." By the early 20th century, Anna Jarvis managed to have Mothers' Day recognized as an official holiday (though the date was changed to May). Sadly, Jarvis spent the rest of her life combating the crass commercialism that developed around Mothers' Day, and she eventually died in an asylum.
In our own violent times, when the "great questions" about women--and about "Mother Earth"--again are being raised on various fronts, we would do well to recall a few lines in Julia Ward Howe's politically radical Mothers' Day Proclamation of 1870 (for more click here):
"Arise, then, women of this day.
Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism
be that of water or tears.
Say firmly, we will not have great questions decided by
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of 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
We women of one country will be too tender of those of
another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure
From the bosom of the devastated Earth, a voice goes out
with our own.
It says, disarm. Disarm...."