I am celebrating my mom this Mother’s Day, as I gratefully have for many years.
This year is extra special because my family is celebrating the publication of her long awaited book, When Sleeping Women Awake, Mountains Will Move, by Barbara Mosley de Souza.
My mom is a social worker and an ordained missionary for Global Ministries, United Church of Christ. She spent 40 years using health education to empower women in the shantytowns (favelas) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She founded a family health clinic that operates to this day in her name.
This memoir is a collection of stories about women she has touched and empowered. These strong women, likewise, inspired and changed her.
Women running away from abuse and not knowing their full names or the name of their town, children born but birth dates unknown, mothers giving their children away because it was the more loving option, families loosing adult children to drug wars, women on their death beds wanting to be registered by the town so they could die having proof they existed……
Being the youngest of three girls, I often accompanied my mother on her rounds and visits to the favela. Many of these stories I remember well.
I remember a baby being left at our doorstep, Monica.
I remember Dona Maria and her bare bones hut with no plumbing. She had no utensils so she ate with her hands.
As an adult reading this book, I was humbled, again. There are corners of the world everywhere where women struggle beyond human imagination.
This Mother’s Day I would like to celebrate all women, all over the world; women of resilience and strength and fortitude, that go to battle for themselves and their families, against all odds.
Most importantly I celebrate my 86 year old mom!
I am grateful to her for sharing these stories.
May they inspire others like she inspires me.
If you would like to read her memoir, it is available on Amazon.
Photos: to the right is a 6 year old photo of my mother and I after she moved back to the USA. The photo above is my mother with her 6 grandchildren. They are all grown now and she now has 3 great grandchildren!
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