Apostolate of Spiritual Motherhood for the Sanctification of Priests

in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

“If the desired renewal of the Church depends for the most part on its priests,

then it will also depend to a large degree on the families, and in particular, women and mothers.”

– Pope St. John Paul II, Address on May 4, 1987

Out of ardent love for the ministerial priesthood, a woman called by the Holy Spirit to spiritual motherhood for priests surrenders herself totally to the love of God and offers up all her prayers, works, joys and suffering so priests may be spiritually assisted to desire only to do the will of the Father, to joyfully embrace their own self-offering, and to overcome temptations, and thus be holy and faithful representatives of Christ as Head, Shepherd and Spouse of the Church.

Spiritual maternity is a hidden vocation within a vocation for women in every state of life – single, married, lay or consecrated religious – who strive to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary's virtues and special maternity for priests, and to focus their lives on the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus inseparably linked to the Priesthood.

Each woman is encouraged to have a particular priest spiritually entrusted to her, beseeching the Sacred Heart of Jesus to shower many signal graces upon his ministry. To this end, in the Archdiocese of St. Louis we have a Spiritual Adoption Program set up to assign an anonymous St. Louis priest to each woman who chooses to enroll with us as a spiritual mother of a priest.

Although not a requirement, we invite all women to participate in one of our weekly Holy Hours for the Sanctification of Priests and an hour of formation in spiritual motherhood. (Download our weekly prayers.) If you cannot attend, please unite with us in spirit where ever you are. If you are inspired to start a weekly prayer group at your parish, we are happy to assist you. If you live outside of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, please consider starting your own holy hour and spiritual adoption program for priests in your area. Again, we offer our help.


"Thank you so much for starting the Spiritual Motherhood for Priests...

(and) allowing me to be part of this holy ministry...

It’s a blessing for me to pray daily for my special priest.".

- a note from one of our adoptive spiritual mothers

The inspiration for this apostolate is the

document from the Congregation for the Clergy:

Eucharistic Adoration

for the Sanctification of Priests

and Spiritual Maternity

“The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is largely unknown,

scarcely understood and, consequently, rarely lived,

notwithstanding its fundamental importance...

to transmit spiritual life.”

- Claudio Cardinal Hummes and Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, p.12

Free PDF (2007 edition) is available on the Congregation for Clergy website. Español/Spanish versions are available as a free pdf here.


Are YOU called to Spiritual Motherhood for Priests?

You might have a call to Spiritual Motherhood if:

  • You feel a persistent desire to pray for the strengthening and consolation of priests, in union with Mary.

  • You have quietly dedicated yourself to offering your daily sacrifices, works and suffering to sanctify priests.

  • Your heart is pierced whenever a priest or the priesthood is denigrated.

  • Your spirit rejoices in gratitude for good, holy priests who courageously lead their flocks to Christ.

What to do if you believe you are called to Spiritual Motherhood for Priests:

  • Pray daily for priests – especially in Eucharistic Adoration, at Mass and while reading Scripture. Some options for specific prayers include the Morning Offering for Priests, Rosary, and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

  • Offer sacrifices, penances, daily duties and works of mercy in union with Jesus, as reparation for priests.

  • Live a sacramental life, i.e. Masses offered up for holy vocations, and frequent Confession.

  • Spiritually and anonymously adopt a priest, one assigned by us or of your own choosing.

  • Contact us, and visit our prayer group on Fridays. Or start a prayer group in your area.

  • Sign up for our Emails to receive weekly priest lists, prayers and notices of upcoming events.

  • Encourage other women to pray for priests as spiritual mothers and consider adopting a priest..