Mary’s Maternity opens new door to mothers in need

When every other door has been shut on destitute mothers, Mary’s Maternity of Motherhood opens its wide.

This month, the Catholic nonprofit will have more doors to open to pregnant women and mothers seeking a home and help to go from dependent to self-sufficient.

A three-bedroom house in Arvada was donated for its charitable work to meet the spiritual and material needs of pregnant women and new mothers, who are sometimes caught in homelessness or domestic violence.

“It’s so hard to say, ‘We don’t have room,’” said president Lynn Reid, who has worked in pro-life ministries since her conversion 16 years ago. “We began praying for another home and, by gosh, this family came forward.”

With the help of live-in house mother Constance Aguillard, the donated home at 5083 Allison St. was cozily furnished and is ready to have up to four mothers move in. The other home at 7151 W. 52nd Ave. in Arvada houses two mothers and has space for up to two more.

“It will help more moms and more babies,” Reid said. “It saves (them) and gives them hope.”

She said the women walking in are given the love of Christ. They’re accepted as they are and told they’re loved. Each one has access to donated clothes and supplies to care for their children.

In exchange, the mothers are asked to follow a structured domestic life that includes a curfew, time in a Bible study and shared meals at the dinner table.

“It gives them what they need. They really do embrace the structure,” Reid said.

The mothers also take in-house classes given by local professionals and experts that cover the gamut of spirituality, prenatal care, career development, balancing a budget, dating and natural family planning. The women are also expected to volunteer.

A support team of volunteers meet to establish goals with the mothers, who are also paired with a companion who gives additional support.

“The professional volunteers on the support team really work with the mothers one-on-one,” she said.

Then the mothers are given time.

“We have no time limit,” Reid said. “As long as they’re working toward their ultimate goals, they’re welcome to stay.”

That time got Danielle Calhoun, 26, where she is today with her two daughters.

She worked her way to become a certified nurse assistant and found housing.

At first left homeless as the result of domestic violence by one of her daughter’s father, Calhoun said she was able to start a new life with the help of Mary’s Maternity.

“Lynn would help with anything I needed from diapers to wipes,” she said. “She would always be there for me.”

The guidance she received helped her become self-secure and receive positive support week after week, she said.

“It made a difference.”

Mothers who don’t live in the homes are invited to request needed baby items from Mary’s Maternity. Visitors are also welcome to stop by the first home’s shrine for the unborn.

Mary’s Maternity will hold a dedication of its new home in September.

“We’re so excited,” Reid said.

 

Mary’s Maternity of Motherhood Home
A priest will dedicate the new home donated for pregnant women and mothers needing help to become self-sufficient.
When: 3 p.m. Sept. 7
Where: 5083 Allison St., Arvada
Who: open to the public, no RSVP required

 

Contact Mary’s Maternity
Contact the Catholic nonprofit to donate or request baby times, take a tour, visit the shrine for the unborn or volunteer.
Main home: 7151 W. 52nd Ave., Arvada
Phone: 303-421-6092
Email: marysmom98@gmail.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarysMaternityArvada
Tax-deductible donations may be made to P.O. Box 1502, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034

 

COMING UP: Did Christians ban the Games? Tales, myths and other fun facts about the ancient Olympics

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The 2020 Summer Olympics began less than a week ago, and as is usually the case, there’s been enough stunning athleticism, shocking upsets and yes, even a little bit of drama on display to keep the water cooler chatter abuzz until at least the 2022 games.

At their best, the Olympic games bridge cultural divides and unite countries around the world as the greatest living athletes around the globe compete for the coveted gold medal in their respective events. There’s a spirit of global camaraderie that welcomely comes about during every Olympiad; whether watching the Games at home with the family or going to a local bar to cheer on your favorite country, the Olympics bring people together in a way that most other sporting events do not.

Another astounding thing about the Olympics is how they’ve endured over the millennia. Indeed, they provide a special glimpse into the history of the world and those common qualities of humanity that will never die; namely, the need for both unitive, universal community and friendly but fierce competition.

The first recorded Olympic games took place in 776 B.C., though some historians speculate that they could have began as early as the 10th century B.C. The games were held every four years in Olympia to honor the greek god Zeus as one of four Panhellenic festivals, this one coinciding with the second full moon following the summer solstice, usually at the end of July or early August. The Olympics became so significant that the term Olympiad was used to mark a year the games took place, and became a common unit of historical time measurement.

Now, the ancient world wasn’t exactly known for its amicability or even peacefulness, as indicated by the countless wars and power usurpations that took place throughout its history. However, Olympic festivals were marked by a truce among the Greeks called ekecheiria, which roughly means “holding of hands.” This ensured safe travels for athletes and spectators as they made their way to the festival and was a common basis for peace among the Greeks. That the Olympic games could get even the constantly feuding Greeks to lay down their arms and come together in a spirit of solidarity speaks to their significance in ancient history.

Early Olympic events included the footrace, wrestling, the long jump, the javelin throw, the discus throw and boxing. Of course, it’s nigh impossible to read about the ancient Olympics and not come across epic tales of chariot racing, an event which was briefly banned early on but was reinstated by the first century B.C. and drew the interest of several key Roman figures (more on that later).

By the fifth century B.C., athletes from all over the Greek-speaking world came to Olympia for the games. The footrace, also called the Stade or Stadion, was considered the most prestigious event, and is where the english word “stadium” is derived from. Stade was a unit of measurement in ancient Greece which modern historians say is the rough equivalent to 600 feet or 200 yards, though the actual length has been a subject of debate for many years. Either way, it represents the length which runners in the Stadion ran to prove themselves as the fastest sprinters in the ancient world.

Interestingly, very little record about the Olympics games during the time of Christ exists. History tells us that the Roman emperor Tiberius, who was emperor during Christ’s life, won the chariot races during the 194th Olympiad in 4 B.C. In 17 A.D., the popular Roman general Germanicus, who was Tiberius’ adopted son and the future father of the third Roman Emperor Caligula, won the chariot races in 17 A.D., presumably around the time Christ was a teenager.

About those chariot races: they were known to attract elite political figures, some of whom won based on true skill, and others who only wanted the appearance of winning to further exert their power and status. During the 211th Olympiad, Emperor Nero, known for his fierce persecution of Christians and rather narcissistic personality, forcibly moved the Olympic games set to take place in 65 A.D. to 67 A.D. so he could compete while on a tour of Greece. He participated in the chariot races (with six more horses than the other competitors), and declared himself the greatest Olympic victor of all time, though historical eyewitness accounts tell a different story. Nero actually nearly died after a severe wreck, but Nero being Nero, he was still declared the winner.

Thankfully, Nero’s title as an Olympic victor and the Olympiad he “won,” which did not adhere to the established chronology of the games, were subsequently stricken from the official Olympic records after his death.

The Olympics grew over the course of 1,200 years until 393 A.D., when Emperor Theodosius I banned all Pagan festivals from the Roman emperor after Christianity became adopted as the state religion. Popular culture and history has long maintained this story of Christianity being to blame for the halt of the Olympic games. However, in recent years, some historians have disputed this account, saying that it was not for religious reasons but rather economic reasons that the games ended when they did. In fact, even after Theodosius’ death, there are still records of Olympic games taking place up until the fifth century. As the administration of Roman Empire evolved, the Olympics could no longer be sponsored by civil funds and instead became sponsored more and more by rich elites of the time. Simply put, the games became too expensive, and no one wanted to pay for them anymore.

The Olympics did not make a return for 1,500 years, until the Athens Olympics in 1896. Over the last 125 years since their reinstatement, the Games have become an integral piece of modern culture and a remnant of ancient history that was revived to great avail. As the Olympics in Tokyo continue over the next week and athletes compete for the gold, the words of St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians serve as a pertinent reminder of how the spirit of an Olympian imitates closely that of a Christian:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:24-27).

So let the Games continue! And may the race be run not for a perishable prize, but an imperishable one.


Featured photo: Met Museum, Terracotta Panathenaic prize amphora (jar), ca. 510 B.C. Attributed to the Leagros Group.