In 2015, Pope Francis wrote to a single mother, acknowledging the difficulties single mothers face because of the existing stigma against them. “I know it's not easy to be a single mother,” Pope Francis said. “I know that people can sometimes look askance at you.”
This Mother’s Day, we hope to shine the light on Momentum Catholic Single Mothers and their initiatives. It was founded by and for single mothers with a vision to transform the culture surrounding single mothers in the Catholic Church. They hope to build a vibrant faith community for single mothers through retreats, weekly meetings, and many other activities for single mothers. Talitha Cere, Executive Director and Co-Founder, highlights the group below.
1. What was the story and motivation behind establishing a Catholic single mothers’ group?
As a single mother for 14 years, I experienced feelings of isolation within my church community, and struggled with pain and shame. These experiences led me to long for a faith community of women who shared similar journeys.
Through prayer and discernment, I felt God calling me to take action. Together with Dominus Vobiscum Retreat Centre near Montreal, we hosted our first retreat for single mothers in 2016. With the help of other founding women who joined in expanding our services, our community grew and evolved into what we now know as Momentum.
We have discovered that many share a common longing for inclusion and a sense of belonging within the Catholic community. Many also desire to understand how God is calling them forth within the Church, despite the challenges they may face.
2. Tell us about your support system and weekly activities.
Our programming includes in-person and online retreats, weekly meetings, and faith-based programs that are designed to promote healing, growth, and spiritual development. In addition to these services, we also host the "Catholic Single Mothers" podcast, where we hear stories from single mothers about their faith journey.
Although many of our services are online, we also have chapters in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax, where in-person gatherings are offered. We are continuing to open new chapters nationwide to better support single mothers. All our chapters are led by women who are or have been single mothers.
3. What can the Catholic community do to be more supportive of single mothers?
Single mothers often face feelings of isolation and marginalization, making it important for the Catholic community to extend support. If you are an individual looking to help, consider reaching out to a single mother in your community. Introduce yourself and get to know her, or even invite her over for dinner.
As a parish, offering childcare during events can make it easier for single mothers to participate. Additionally, making it clear that single parents are welcome to family activities can help them feel more comfortable participating.
4. Can you share a message to other Catholic single mothers out there?
Momentum would like you to know that you are not alone. The Catholic community is here to support you, to lift you up in prayer, and to walk with you on your journey. You are valued and appreciated for the sacrifices you make each day to provide for your children. Trust in God's love and grace, and know that He is always with you, guiding you and giving you strength. May you find comfort in knowing that there is a community here for you, and that you are loved and cherished by God.