All video lectures for this course will be available free of charge here, with a new lecture uploaded each Monday during Lent. Only those registered with Catherine of Siena College can access all the course materials, but the materials here are free.

During the fourth session we consider “Maternal Stories”. Maternal life is charged with what can seem like overwhelming symbolic, emotional and social significance, to such an extent that it is one of the most difficult topics to discuss. The maternal body is metaphorically torn apart in competing and conflicting ideologies that revolve around sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth, contraception and abortion, motherhood and the role of women. It is emotionally torn apart by yearnings and terrors too deep to articulate – for biological and adoptive mothers, and for those women who by choice or circumstance are not mothers. And too often it is still physically torn apart in the process of pregnancy and childbirth, which account for the mostly avoidable deaths of some 275,000 of the world’s poorest women and girls every year.

In the midst of all this, finding a maternal voice – a voice in which a woman can tell her story in relation to the maternal – is an elusive quest through a tangled forest of love and dread, joy and longing, sorrow and delight, guilt and frustration, wisdom and courage.

In this week’s session, we attend to maternal stories and we ask what they reveal to us about women’s faith in the context of different experiences of mothering.

We consider issues such as:

  • The complex dynamics and ambiguities of maternal relationships
  • Different forms of maternal and family life
  • The challenges of mothering
  • Maternal loss
  • Reproductive decisions

Please remember that the lectures include references to coursework and other aspects of the course which you can ignore, since these relate to students who sign up for the Certificate of Continuing Professional Development. We are offering the course as a resource for a wider audience.

You can download a PDF of the lecture with slides at this link.