Today’s readings speak of the sacrifice and courage of mothers. In a very real sense, I have two mothers. There’s Nancy, the woman who gave birth to me. I call her Nancy. And, there’s Rita, the woman who raised me. I call her Mom.

Nancy probably didn’t expect me. Mary probably didn’t expect Jesus. Nancy realized I was worthy of God’s love. Hannah realized the same about Samuel.

Rita’s spirit rejoiced when she found out I was coming. Mary rejoiced when she learned that Jesus was coming. Rita placed me into the Lord’s hands when I joined the Society of Jesus. Hannah placed Samuel in the Lord’s hands when she realized his calling.

Nancy, Hannah, Rita, Mary. Mothers who love God. Mothers who gave their sons what they needed, and then gave them away. Mothers whose faith teaches me about sacrifice and courage. Thank God for my moms.

—Eric Immel, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He also serves as a Jesuit vocation promoter and is a prolific author.