By Alyssa Bormes

The parish began to pray the rosary before Mass, but Father came to the ambo and asked us to pray the rosary in silence that day, as the choir would begin their prelude in a few minutes in celebration, as this was a Mass of Thanksgiving for a priest who had been ordained the day before. Sitting between my friend and myself was her niece who had Down’s syndrome. She misunderstood Father, thinking that he didn’t like the rosary, and she began crying. We explained that he loves the rosary and Mary, but that the singing would begin soon. It was a relief when we all heard the first notes of music.

Lessons in Praying the Rosary 

Now calm, my friend’s niece began to explain to the two of us how to pray the rosary. The beads were heart-shaped and pearl-colored. She explained the little beads, and the big beads, the cross, and then she got to the medal.

Her voice was full of awe as she said, “This is Mary. She is the only perfect mother.”

Mystics Among Us

Tears quietly rolled down my face. “This is Mary. She is the only perfect mother.” This young woman with Down’s syndrome was really a sort of mystic. Her words pierced my heart, my friend’s heart, and surely pierced the heart of God.

In that moment, I was able to forgive my own mother for her mistakes here and there in raising her children. And, I was able to forgive myself for being far less than the perfect mother; my two children died through abortion.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. What an amazing gift. There are many mothers among us – some with grown children, others with young ones, some with many, some with few, some like me whose children have been lost to abortion, others who lost their children to disease or accident, and there are spiritual mothers as well. To all these moms, from time to time, ponder the lines of the young Down’s girl, and then forgive yourself, and rejoice in having been given the gift of motherhood!

This is Mary. She is the only perfect mother.



How does, Mary, the only perfect mother, fit into your spiritual life? 

Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show, “Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at

WINE will feature Alyssa’s The Catechism of Hockey book for our Summer Book Club beginning on July 8th.  Join our email list for updates.


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