FAQ's about Spiritual Motherhood for Priests

Q: What is spiritual motherhood for priests?

A: Spiritual maternity is a hidden vocation within a vocation for women in every state of life – single, married, lay or consecrated religious – who recognize a call to offer prayer and sacrifices to strengthen and protect priests so they may grow in holiness. Enlivened and guided by the Holy Spirit, we strive to imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her special maternity for each priest.

Read the document that inspired this apostolate and many other spiritual mothers around the world: "Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity" (2007), from the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican. - View and download the original 2007 document as a pdf.

Learn more about spiritual maternity at bottom of page, by reviewing these Resources, and by exploring the following web sites: the

Foundation for Priests and Spiritual Motherhood Sodality.

Q: Are there specific commitments to join this apostolate in support of priests?

A: There are no required dues, meetings or specific prayers. To honor each woman’s primary vocation in life and her unique gifts, we provide only guidelines for growing in devotion to God, in imitation of Mary and her virtues, to better intercede as a spiritual mother of a priest and for all priests. (Read more details here.)

Q: What does this apostolate do?

A: This apostolate spiritually unites women in the Archdiocese of St. Louis who have a maternal heart for priests, to offer prayer and to be formed as spiritual mothers who are Eucharistic, Marian, sacramental, virtuous and self-sacrificing - all the things we expect of our priests. We also inform priests of our efforts to support them and to invite women who have a heart for this prayer ministry.

We invite you to avail yourselves of the prayer resources we offer:

  • Weekly Email - Sign up to receive prayers, petitions, events and the list of priests whom we will name in our Rosary prayers each week. Resources are also provided to help women grow as spiritual mothers.

What our spiritual mothers say:

"Thanks for your weekly email to me.

I always benefit especially from the prayers

and pray for all of the intentions for Priests and your intentions."

"Thank you so much! I love receiving this list every week!"

"There is so much beautiful information in your weekly emails."


  • Prayer Cenacles - Weekly at 3 parishes and Monthly at 3 other parishes. Join women offering special prayers to support and sanctify all priests, which may include a Litany for Vocations and a Rosary for Priests in which we name a St. Louis priest or seminarian on each Hail Mary bead. Formation meetings take place at some of these parishes. Four St. Charles Deanery parishes work together to offer Monthly Prayer & Formation gatherings at alternating locations.
    If you are interested in
    forming a prayer group in your parish or deanery, please contact us.

  • Monthly Priest Calendar - The name of a St. Louis priest is provided on each day, to be posted in adoration chapels and church lobbies.

  • Mornings With Mary, Mother of Priests - We offer events one to two times a year in different parishes throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with our annual event usually taking place on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (a movable date in June). The schedule usually includes talks by a priest on a topic relating to our Mission, Eucharistic Adoration, a Rosary for priests, an opportunity to spiritually adopt a priest through our program, and time to meet and socialize with other women who share your love of our Catholic faith, of our Blessed Mother, and of her priests. We are able to offer these events FREE of charge by relying on the generosity of host parishes and priest speakers, and on food, beverage and monetary donations of the women who attend. Thanks be to God! (See a list of our past events and speakers, and obtain recordings by clicking here.)

  • Informational Presentations - Invite us to come pray with women at your parish to inspire them to form a new prayer cenacle or Holy Hour for priests. Or we can give an Informational talk with Q & A and suggestions. Most of all, let the Holy Spirit lead you!

Q: How do I get started as a spiritual mother for priests?

A: Once you have discerned that you are called to this spiritual "vocation within a vocation", you may choose to get involved with our apostolate through any of the following options:

1) SIGN UP to receive our weekly emails containing prayers and names of priest to be lifted up for the week.

2) JOIN US IN PRAYER, whether in person or in spirit. See weekly meeting times or start your own group.

3) ADOPT an anonymous St. Louis priest - sign up online, or contact us by email or phone.

We will assign a priest number to you; no priest names are provided. (Why anonymity? Click here.)

4) SHARE & PROMOTE our prayers (1 & 2) & Rosary for Priests, our meeting times/locations, our weekly emails with scriptures & Priest Lists, our literature, our monthly Priest Calendars, and our invitations to our Mornings with Mary.

Q: What is a Prayer Cenacle? How do I start one in my parish/ deanery/ diocese?

A: The word “cenacle” means “upper room.” It derives from the latin word “cena” which means dinner. This term was used in Scripture to describe the location of:

The Last Supper: Mark 14:15

Pentecost: Acts 1:13

The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet: John 13:4-11

Today the term "cenacle" describes a place where people gather to pray, or more recently, the groups themselves. We use the term to refer to our Apostolate prayer groups formed specifically to pray as the first apostles did -- with Mary and the Holy Spirit, and specifically in intercession for priests.

If you want to establish a Holy Hour for Priests in your parish or area, we are happy to share suggestions and resources that could help. Please contact us.

(For questions about our PRIEST ADOPTION PROGRAM, click here.)


(an excerpt from an article by Mary Kaufmann)

...the vocation of spiritual motherhood for priests - spiritually mature women willing to offer their lives and pray at the Cross for priests and the priesthood

This is not a call to “maternalism” towards priests, to show up at the rectory with food, offer advice or to hover around priests. It’s not necessarily a call to close friendship with the priest, but more a connection experienced on the supernatural level, for their mutual growth in holiness. Spiritual motherhood demands and develops the spiritual and interpersonal maturity of the woman involved by presenting her with a regular opportunity to offer her spiritual resources for the benefit of priests with detachment or without meeting her own personal needs in doing so.

Spiritual mothers are virtuous women, women centered in God, women tempered by suffering, sometimes even suffering from interaction with priests, but women able to offer “a widow’s mite” in a way that makes a powerful spiritual difference for the Church.

Some spiritual mothers offer their joys and sorrows for all priests and the priesthood in general; while others feel called to pray and sacrifice for one specific priest or seminarian.

Some spiritual moms know not even the name of the priest that they pray for, while others live a holy, spiritual friendship with the priest. While the interpersonal dynamic of spiritual motherhood may vary, certain fundamental characteristics remain: to spiritually accompany the priest by offering their lives as living sacrifice for them.

Some dioceses that have implemented programs of spiritual motherhood of priests, have organized them as double- blind arrangements, where the spiritual mother and the priest himself do not know each other’s names. The women know only that they are praying for the priest assigned to them, and the priest, that they have a generous personal intercessor.

+ + + + + + +

Bishop William Emanuel Kettler recounts a story of how his own vocation came into being through the unremitting intercession of a humble religious sister who had, since childhood, offered prayers and hardships for some soul unknown to her:

“For things that cost me greatly, I grew accustomed to facing them with joy and enthusiasm out of love for God, and then I offer them up for one soul on earth. To whom God chooses to be gracious as a result, I have left completely up to him and I do not want to know. I also offer up my time of Eucharistic adoration every evening from 8 to 9 for this intention.”

“Where did you get the idea to offer up all your merits for someone totally unknown to you?”

“I learned it while I was still out in the world,” she replied. “At school our teacher, the parish priest, taught us how we can pray and offer our merits for our relatives. Besides that, he said that we should pray much for those who are in danger of being lost. Since only God knows who really needs prayer, it is best to put your merits at the disposition of the Sacred Heart of Jesus trusting in his wisdom and omnipotence. That is what I have done,” she concluded, “and I always believed that God would find the right soul.”

“And have you any idea whether your prayers and sacrifices have been successful?” he asked her further.

“No, Your Excellency.”

“Don’t you want to know?”

“Our dear God knows when something good happens, and that is enough,” was the simple answer.

- from the Vatican document, "Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity"