Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 138: Mother’s Day

The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe first issued her Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870 as a call for women to join in support of disarmament. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several further attempts to establish an American Mother's Day, but these didn't succeed beyond the local level. The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one's mother. Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother's dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea didn't take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a "Hallmark Holiday", i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose. Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday. In the United States, Mother's Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls.

St. Ann's programs recognize and enhance human dignity and worth by providing residential care and services to abused and neglected children and to single pregnant and parenting adolescents in crisis, as well as quality day care to the children of working families.

Human life is inherently valuable and worthy of respect, support, and nurturance. These words encompass St. Ann's  philosophy. They are rooted in our Judeo-Christian heritage and are the foundation on which St. Ann's tradition of caring has been built. Staff and volunteers strive to live this belief by reaching out to the women and children in their community who are particularly vulnerable.

St. Ann's is administered by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a religious community of women who have dedicated their lives to serving the needy. The Sisters are assisted by a qualified and committed staff of approximately 150 full and part time employees, as well as consultants. This includes child care workers and maternity program staff, which account for a majority of the positions, as well as physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers; teachers, child care specialists, and therapists; maintenance, housekeeping and food services staff; and accounting and administrative personnel.

From its very beginnings, St. Ann’s opened its doors to the poor of all races and faiths, a commitment that continues to this day. The program offers residential care for pregnant adolescents and young mothers and their babies. Extensive services include an accredited high school, medical care, parenting classes, life skills training, day care, individual and family counseling, and social and cultural activities. The program generally serves between 50-60 young mothers and their children each year.

Donation $10

To support St. Ann’s, please visit:

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