b'Though it is an important element, it is not necessary.Motherhood is not the same as simply bearing children.It is rather, a combination of elements.For instance, when a young woman has a baby,her parents take care of this baby and let the youngwoman continue her life, especially if she is still inschool. This young woman will not be called "mother"until the day she starts a home with her husband andmanages a family.To manage a family is an important sign of maturityand implies educating and caring for children, andparticipating directly or indirectly in the economiclife of the household. For that reason, if a barrenwoman participates in the life of a household, pro-viding education for children along with care andmanagement of a home, she may be called mother.Active participation in the life of the family isenough to receive the title of mother. The mission of a MotherIn Sub-Saharan tribes, the mother is the indispensablepillar of the family. There are some families withoutTitle: The FamilyArtist: Marjorie Bereza a father, but a family without a mother is rare. In fact,Collection: Marian Library, University of Dayton the remarriage of a widow is almost obligatory amongSub-Saharan tribes. This is because the concrete missionThe title of Mother of the woman in the household is more important thanIn Sub-Saharan African tribes, like in many other tribes that of the man.of Africa, motherhood is characterized by having borne Besides managing the household, the mother edu-children. However, there is an important distinction to cates her children, cares for them and nurtures them.be made between fertility and motherhood. Consequently, the mother knows her children betterFertility is very important in Sub-Saharan Africa, than anyone else does. She knows their limits, theiryet, fertility is not enough to be considered a mother. qualities, their faults, their needs, and their tastes.PHOTO BY GODONG | GETTY IMAGESChildren, in turn, have duties toward their mothers.PHOTO BY GODONG | GETTY IMAGESThey are called to participate actively in the mothersmission and to show their love for her.In addition, the relationship between mother andson is much stronger than the relationship betweenfather and son. Sons confide more easily in theirmothers, in whom they place their trust. Another partThe carved, wooden statueof the mothers mission, besides education, is to share depicts the child Jesus within the work in the fields, namely planting and harvest- the Blessed Mother at theing. Her work is indispensable for the family. Marian shrine in Abidjan, This brief description of the daily life of a mother Cte dlvoire. gives us an idea of the heavy responsibilities thatmake up her mission in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact,a family without a mother is unimaginable.Through this lens, we can understand why thefigure of Mary as a mother is so meaningful and At the Notre Dame dAfrique, Mere de toute Grace national shrine, exemplifies her role of leading the faithful to Jesusthe Blessed Mother and Saint John stand with Jesus at the Crucifixion.Christ in the spiritual life of Sub-Saharan tribes.marianist.com/donate 5'