Krystyna Zasowski goes on an outing with some of her family. From left, Krystyna’s youngest daughter, Bernadette; Krystyna holding her granddaughter Emilia; granddaughter Laura; daughter Victoria; granddaughter Sophie; and daughter Teresa. Photo courtesy Krystyna Zasowski

Moms build strong bond in motherhood and faith

By 
  • May 8, 2020

Krystyna Zasowski had just moved into a new neighbourhood, and with her first daughter starting kindergarten, she was looking for some mom-bonding.

“I was just settling in and these moms who knew each other from the neighbourhood had an open group that would meet for coffee once a week every Friday,” Zasowski told The Catholic Register.  “We had a lot of interesting conversations, and it turned out that these moms were parishioners at the local parish, so it was a natural fit for me.”

Seven children later, Zasowski is still connecting with other Catholic mothers, but now as a leader. She started leading a Mothers Group at All Saints Parish in Toronto in September 2015 and has hosted monthly meetings there ever since.

“I really knew about the benefits of Mothers Groups because (of my) informal mother’s group,” she said. “I thought if I felt so good having a group of moms that I could meet with, it would be great if we could do that at the parish.”

With eight children ranging from 13-32 years old, three grandchildren and another grandchild on the way, Zasowski believes that leading a Mothers Group has helped shape her experience of motherhood.

“I’m definitely a gentler, kinder mom,” Zasowski said.

Zasowski’s Mothers Group is one of many hosted throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto. These groups began with Dorothy Pilarski, who has hosted monthly Mothers Group meetings for 23 years. The initiative began at Pilarski’s kitchen table, but has since expanded into 33 parish-based groups.

Recently, Pilarski, with the help of a team of writers, created a tool called One Mother’s Heart: 52 Studies for Individuals or Groups. The guide is based on Motherhood Matters, Pilarski’s 2011 book on mothering.

“We are on a mission to revive the vocation of motherhood,” said Pilarski. “Motherhood isn’t just something we do … it’s not just a series of tasks. When we become mothers, there is a shift in our worldview, and God gives us a deposit of grace to mother this little human being.”

Through her Mothers Group programming and the 52-week study guide, Pilarski works to dismantle and redefine cultural conceptions of what a “successful” mother looks like. Before working with Mothers Groups, Pilarski trained and guided women toward business success.

“Because I was in the training business, I was very interested in what made a successful mother…and what is a successful mother anyway?” Pilarski wondered.

“Women are more stressed, and there are more demands put on them, more than ever. Now we’re expected to be skinny, to be sexy, to be fit, to have a profession, to be a provider, to have an immaculate home, to have an amazing husband and Instagram-worthy children, to be a remarkable cook, and to be extremely well-read and funny,” Pilarski said.

“How do you do that when your baby has kept you up all night? How do you do that if you have post-partum depression? How do you meet all these cultural demands?”

Pilarski’s approach to motherhood is more relevant this year than ever. While social distancing laws are in place, mothers are often responsible for full-time child care and round-the-clock domestic labour, in addition to professional work. “Mothers need more support now than ever,” she said. “Right now, we’re hosting virtual Mothers Groups (on Zoom video teleconferencing).”

Zasowski’s Mothers Group meets for an hour and a half once a month, though different groups’ meetings vary in length and frequency. “We start at 7 (p.m.) with praying the rosary,” said Zasowski. “Initially, I started saying three Hail Marys, but a lot of the women responded that they liked praying the whole rosary.”

After the presentation, which often involves a guest speaker, the group discusses the month’s topic or theme. “I would say (the goal of my Mothers Group is) to catechize moms. There are a lot of moms who want to know that there are other moms like them, who want to know about the faith and want to teach it to their children,” Zasowski said. 

For further information, the Mothers Ministry can be contacted at info@CatholicMomsGroup.com and its website is CatholicMomsGroup.com.

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