Persons, places and things: Catholic Messenger publisher, staffers reflect on our moms


By Barb Arland-Fye

Mother’s Day isn’t a religious holiday but maybe it should be. Our moms cooperated with God in the miracle of giving birth to us. In our fast-paced, nonstop digital world it’s easy to forget that each of us is the result of a miracle made possible by a loving, merciful God. A God who knew us before God formed us in the womb.


Some of our moms have already joined the communion of saints and some are saints-in-the-making here on earth. In reflecting on my mom’s impact on my life, I asked our Catholic Messenger staff and our publisher, Bishop Martin Amos, to share a “saintly” quality of their moms.

“Raising six children, she always had time to listen to each of us and work on each of our school projects,” Bishop Amos said of his mother, the late Mary Amos. “She was saintly in doing what mothers do.”


“My mom Joanne Forlini’s saintly quality is patience,” said Anne Marie Amacher, The Catholic Messenger’s assistant editor. “She raised four kids who were very different from each other. I’m sure each of us was a challenge of its own. She continues to give me advice on having more patience with my two children. Patience is not something that I inherited from her.

“She continued to show that patience when all four of us kids and her four grandchildren were over the past weekend. A house full of about a dozen people certainly was a test. Only the Hello Kitty piano got the boot that weekend.”

Tony Forlini, webmaster for The Catholic Messenger and Davenport Diocese, said: “My mom, Joanne Forlini, has a charitable and kindness quality that has stuck with people, including her children’s friends. It still affects them, even years later.”

“My mother, Mary Newton, is 91. She has always been a very giving person,” said Nancy Hamerlinck, our circulation manager. “She never angers and she is always compassionate, loving and caring. She has always been very proud of all of her children.”

Lindsay Steele, our diocesan reporter, says: “My mother, Renada Schoon, is an incredibly resilient woman. She faces adversity with a ‘rise above’ attitude and not an ounce of bitterness. She endured a somewhat difficult childhood, as well as the death of my father and one of her brothers to terminal illness. Yet, she is always smiling with an abundant amount of love to give. She is a wonderful mother, sister, aunt, godmother, friend, girlfriend and ‘nana’ to her ‘grand-dogs.’ She’s a wonderful example for my sister and me, and I hope one day to emulate even an ounce of her incredible spirit.”

As far as saintly qualities go, my mom, Mary Arland, demonstrates several in my mind: her accompaniment of people who are hurting or in crisis, her wisdom and sense of humor. When Mom’s oldest sister, Joanne, had her first stroke, Mom was at Joanne’s bedside encouraging her and working with her on regaining meaningful speech. Mom wouldn’t let Joanne give up. She’d take Joanne out to lunch with their other sisters, outings that Joanne treasured. When Joanne had a second stroke a couple of years later, Mom resumed her role as encourager. She’s done this with countless people, including her own children. My mom continues to lift me up and she also makes me laugh so hard I have tears in my eyes. Humor is good medicine, she believes. Her advice for handling stress: pray the rosary. It has a calming effect. She’s right!

God knew us before he formed us in our mother’s wombs. And he knew our mothers before he formed them in their mother’s womb.

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