Denver 10/05/13 (Sodalit News – USA). The experience of being a mother with a child consecrated to God can be very gratifying for an entire family. Robin Couture offers us a beautiful testimony of the active collaboration of mothers and fathers who have discovered a special blessing in the vocation of their children.
Despite the sadness that can come when good things come to an end, Robin was very content and grateful for having had the opportunity of a three-day retreat to experience a communion with other mothers who live the same experience.
“We ended our time together in prayer, asking for God’s guidance for us all, individually and as a group, for Him to lead us to do what He desires in gratitude for the gift of our childrens’ vocations.”
Robin Couture, the mother of an American child consecrated in the Sodalit Family, participated in a retreat of fellow Soda-Moms at the beginning of May. Although only 10 mothers were able to participate in this retreat, they know that there are many more who form part of the group of mothers with Sodalit sons, or as they call themselves, Soda-moms.
“There are 18 U.S. Soda-Moms and an unknown number internationally. In fact we are hoping to plan it further out for the next retreat and invite the International Soda-Moms to join if they are able.”
The initiative is not new, as Robin recalls. “It began about 2 ½ years ago when a few mothers of those with vocations attended a retreat at St. Malo’s (a retreat center in the Denver archdiocese) put on by the Sodalits and Fraternas. Those mothers were a put into a small discussion group and immediately recognized the gift God had given them. They were encouraged to open their hearts in prayer to start learning what new aspect of motherhood was theirs due to the unique gift of being the mother of one with a vocation to the consecrated life.” What began that day continued bearing fruits in the months that followed, when one of mothers organized a weekend retreat in the mountains of Colorado, where they continued the journey of growing together through the unique call of being a “Soda-Mom.” “Needless to say, all of those who attended grew in love, joy and enthusiasm for Soda-Motherhood through encountering one another, sharing, and being joined in heart on our new “mission” and call…and as they say, ‘the rest is history!’”
“We all have a very special blessing to have a child who has chosen to be a Sodalit or Fraterna. It is something that the World does not understand so it is a special time for us to come together and share our unique experiences as to how our child chose their vocation, and share other things that only a mother of a child in a religious vocation can understand.” Without a doubt, the experience of each mother is that of a special blessing, because “each of our children has brought to us an understanding of our mother Mary and her role as a mother to Jesus. We hope and strive to live up to her example to support our children in their vocation and be there when they need us. In addition, the aspect of the unique experience of loving each other’s child as our own which is a grace, a taste of our Father’s love for each of his children in Christ.” For them, it is about the expansion of what is true “family,” the family of God.
The experience of fraternity and family among them has continued. Now they have a Facebook page open to all Soda-Moms around the world, where they maintain contact and will look organize future reunions and possible missionary work.
In the retreat in which they participated, they received letters, photos and testimonies from their children, who because of their vocation to full apostolic availability are found in different places around the world. The material was incorporated into a 35 minute video, which set the tone for the retreat and ended with the following questions: “Behind every Sodalit or Fraterna is a Soda-Mom. What does your vocation as a Mom mean to mean play out as a Mom of a Sodalit or Fraterna? How do we help their vocation? How can we help their vocation? What does their vocation mean to you? What is the bond that unites us? Is it just our sons or daughters or something more? Why has He brought us together? What is God calling us to?” All of these questions brought about very nice reflections throughout the 3 days of the retreat, which allowed the women to build bonds of friendship and fraternity amongst themselves.
On the second day of the reunion, they had a very special rosary. “It was truly a blessed event and it seemed as if time stood still. We each put in our separate intentions and also stated our blessings, we prayed. Many of us felt our children with us during that time and as if the Blessed Mother was with us smiling,” remembers Robin fondly. The second day ended with the Eucharist and a special dinner for “Cinco de mayo.” At the end of the retreat, after some intense moments of prayer, they set plans for the next Soda-Mom retreat, asking for God’s guidance, and thanking Him for the gift of our childrens’ vocations and for the gift of “Soda-Sisterhood”.
On Day 2 we slowly woke to the world and came together over coffee and breakfast, some Moms went for walks, others sat outside and talked. Later that morning we got together and had a very special rosary. It was truly a blessed event and it seemed as if time stood still. We each put in our separate intentions and also stated our blessings, we prayed. Many of us felt our children with us during that time and as if the Blessed Mother was with us smiling. Later that day we went to the Vigil mass and the priest at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and Fr. Pat Robinson gave the Soda-Moms a “shout-out” of welcome acknowledging our gathering. We gathered at Meg Kinneberg’s house for a Cinco-de-Mayo dinner and then retired back to the Couture house.
“We are all Soda-Moms and here to support each other. The world does not understand mothers of children who have chosen a religious vocation. Often we feel alone and with our children in particular (meaning Sodalits and Fraternas), the world is their garden and they are often quite far away and not available to us. It is hard. Sharing our experiences of blessings and challenges with having children in self-giving vocations so far away from home can be extremely difficult,” says Robin, who recognizes that it is an opportunity to together “see the beauty of the offering of vocation.” For that reason, the Soda-Moms strive to join their offering to those of our children for fruitfulness of gathering many new souls into the net for our Lord. “Although we are at home, we can help and be united with our “fishers of men” by accompanying them in sacrifice and prayer. So we come together and know we are one and not alone and here for each other.”
The Soda-Mom’s hope that their network grows and are thankful both to the parents as well as the children who have found through this media a way to help, especially through prayers and petitions, but also through financial assistance to the different apostolic activities.