Her husband lost his job as construction foreman after the building downturn 5 years prior and in the following year accepted a lower pay job with a private contractor in a small town just outside a military base. They were happy there, got to know their neighbors, attended a local church, along with their two children, they just wanted to fit in. Then the unthinkable happened when one day at work he was killed in a machinery accident. The contractor he worked for did not provide insurance coverage and after the accident, mom and children were left nearly destitute. With only social services to rely on, she was forced to leave the family home and move to a small apartment.
Social services provision not being sufficient to live on, she was forced to work part time at a local diner. Having to leave her children unattended for several hours each day while she worked, the authorities threatened to remove her children from her care. Sometime in her despair she was offered a drug to hide the pain, she was hooked. Now in deepened desperation and in dire need for money, the woman felt the only way she could manage, was to resort to prostitution. The army base nearby provided ample customers for her illicit services. Her self worth crumbled, she became ashamed to be seen in public.
At the church she attended, she was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. The greeters at the door, although polite, did not seem welcoming anymore. She began to notice people stare in her direction. No one asked her to help out at any of the festivities in which she had participated previously when her husband was alive. No one even comes over to talk with her any more.
Her son has quit soccer and is now a victim of bullying at school. Her daughter is skipping classes and the police have picked her up twice for shop lifting. She has become exceedingly depressed.
I know this woman. I believe you know her too. She arrives just as the service starts, sits near the back of the church and leaves before the service ends. She is a single mom, one of possibly the most ostracized group in the country. To clarify; Not all single moms give in to drugs nor will many resort to prostitution but, well over half are left close to defined poverty. Almost all need help in some way. Most single moms will leave the church. Institutional counselling cannot provide the the care and attention mom and family require.
- The single mom is one of the fastest-growing identified groups of our population, why has the church ignored them for so long?
- By “appearances” the perceived make-up of most churches is run by and for married couples with adequate incomes.
- It is difficult for many single moms to ‘Break the Ice’. They feel they will be a burden and their meager contributions just cannot measure up to the standards.
- There is a stigma attached to being a single mom. “How dare she get pregnant.” or “How dare she get a divorce.”
- There is often a shield put up by married women to protect husbands and family from the single mom.
- How has the condemnation of abortion without guidance and support led to the huge numbers of pregnancies ending in abortion?
- How has the lack of adequate counsel (for both girls and boys) led to so many young girls becoming single moms.
- How has inadequate marriage and family counselling from the church led to so many divorces?
- How has the condemnation of divorce without concrete support led to so many single moms leaving the church?
- Apart from seasonal support at Christmas, often through secular agencies, single moms are very much forgotten.
- The emotional state and spiritual condition of single moms is as important, if not more so, than the food and clothing.
- The most precious gift the church can offer a single mom and family is to be welcomed as Christ welcomes.
- Will single moms place a burden on the church? No!
- Will single moms use much of the resources of the church? Yes, Be glad in it!
For more information for what the church can do for single moms, type in or copy, ‘single moms and the church‘ to your search engine.
In my peruse of the internet I came across this blog entry:
December 18, 2011
This morning after celebrating the 8AM Mass here at Holy Family parish in Albuquerque, I had finished talking to folks in the vestibule and aisles, when I noticed one middle aged woman standing to the side weeping. I approached her and realized she could not speak English, so I invited another lady to translate her Spanish. She was holding a baby, but said she had three more under 13 at home.