When Barbara Gurr
became a mom, she
developed a new appreciation for not only her
own mother, but also for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gurr, interim director of Women's Studies at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, answered immediately after being asked which woman in history she would like to meet and have dinner with. Gurr
said Jesus' mother has been on her
mind recently because of Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ."
"Through the ages, Mary has been domesticated and prettified into a gentle, submissive figure," Gurr
, that image is far from the truth.
Mary was a teenager when the angel Gabriel appeared and told her she
would give birth to a boy named Jesus, who would be the Son of God.
"This woman must have been very strong," Gurr
Mary stayed by Jesus' side his
whole life, during the crucifixion and beatings, and Gurr
said that makes her
see how strong Mary was.
support and love for him was so strong that she
never left his
said, "even during times when a mother's heart must surely have been exploding with pain and fear for her
would like to know what Mary would have to say about being a mother and a human being today.She
said Mary would probably say people should love and take care of each other.
"We see from her
example that sometimes loving is a very hard thing to do," Gurr
said."It requires letting go of our children while at the same time refusing to let go of them." Gurr
also said Mary would point out the difficulties in motherhood.
"So often in our culture today, motherhood is considered a given," Gurr
said, "something that women just do naturally, and mothers are not afforded the respect or the support that they need."
In history, Gurr
said that as the power of the Church grew, women were restricted to the point of a Madonna versus whore ideology emerging.
"Eve was an easy villain and so Mary became the 'good' woman
obedient, silent, docile," Gurr
said."In a patriarchal world, that kind of woman easily becomes the role model held up for women's behavior."
Between Mary's embracing and understanding how challenging it would be to be the mother of Jesus, Gurr
said using Mary as a role model to teach other women to be docile is foolish.
said the strength of women, especially Mary, was threatening to the patriarchal system they were living in.
"As a feminist, I'm awed by her
strength and appreciative of her
influence on Jesus," Gurr
said feminist scholars see Jesus' teachings as feminist in nature due to an emphasis on good works and a de-emphasis on political and social hierarchy.
"I see the influence of a strong, positive mother there," Gurr