Mother’s Day

A litany for worship, drawn from the words of Julia Ward Howe

Women: Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!

Men: Speak up, that all may hear!

W: Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

M: Say it loud, say it proud!

W: Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

M: Oh, brothers, can you hear?

W: Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

M: Tell it straight, sisters!

W: We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

M: Don’t hold back now—make it plain!

W: From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own; it says, “Disarm, disarm!”

All together: Disarm, disarm: every heart! every nation!


Excerpted and adapted by Ken Sehested from Julia Ward Howe’s “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World,” September 1870, where she called for a “Mother’s Peace Day: A time for women and children to speak for the things that make for peace.”

©Ken Sehested @