The lines that follow form an insufficient paean to the Woman.[1] Yet, in this month of Mary, a few reflections may not be out of place.

The role of the woman in the affairs of human destiny is invaluable. It is as wife and mother that she reveals the larger part of her noble self. Guide, inspirer, defender and lover of everyone in the family. she herself eventually becomes the best loved one.

She is the muse for her husband, and he sings of her glory. Feel the flow of his poetic vein as in Proverbs 31:10-31 –

A good wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.


Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household,

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women have done excellently,

but you surpass them all.”

Motherhood is a vocation which began to be better understood and appreciated in the glorious light of the Angelic Salutation to Mary, when she was called to be the Mother of God! The event has been a watershed in the history of humankind, with a Woman playing a definitive role in God’s Plan.

It can well be said that, with Mary, “God brought the dignity of woman to unsuspected heights. Mary is the guarantee of feminine greatness; she reveals the specific form of being woman, with her vocation to be spirit, to surrender, which spiritualises the flesh and incarnates the spirit.”[2]

With Mary, human life became a transfiguration. And what better example of this than the Holy Family of Nazareth? Nazareth became a splendid illustration of the Catholic spirit and lifestyle. The institution of the family began to grow and blossom ever since.

Now, if any family is found wanting or breaking, it could well be that the mother is either physically or spiritually absent. Modern-day circumstances sometimes make her physical absence a necessary evil. So, it might happen that when the mothers are away some serpents could be at play…

On this day, we hail the Goan wife and mother who has always been the pride of our people. Whatever her educational status, it is often she who teaches her learned husband the matrimonial equation 1+1=1. And when herself in a state of grace, she is able to nurture the household with grace!

Woman of today, let Mary be thy model, so as to ensure that our families become at least pale imitations of Nazareth. “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

O Woman of today, let thy name be Maria ! Or, as that hymn[3] in Portuguese says –

Tudo seria bem melhor                                Everything would be better

Se o Natal não fosse um dia                            If Christmas wasn’t just a day

E se as mães fossem Maria                             And if mothers were Maria

E se os pais fossem José                                 And if the fathers were Joseph

E se a gente parecesse                              And if we looked

Com Jesus de Nazaré                                 Like Jesus of Nazareth.


[1] First published as editorial titled ‘Let thy name be Maria’, in Yuvayana, a youth magazine of the Diocesan Youth Centre, Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, May 1991. Reprinted here with the addition of the last paragraph.

[2] “Apostleship of Prayer”, in Don Bosco’s Madonna, May 91, p. 7

[3] “Estou pensando em Deus”, by Padre Zezinho, stage name of Fr. José Fernandes de Oliveira (1941-), a Brazilian priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, singer and songwriter.