Pope prays for all mothers ahead of Nativity of Virgin Mary
By Devin Watkins
“Mary experienced the tenderness of God as a daughter, full of grace, in order to share this tenderness as a mother through her union with the mission of her Son.”
Pope Francis offered that reflection in his greetings at the Wednesday General Audience, tying Mary’s motherhood to that of all mothers ahead of the liturgical feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Thursday.
The Pope pledged his closeness to mothers everywhere, mentioning especially those with children who suffer.
Special prayer for mothers of prisoners
He prayed in a special way for the mothers of young detainees, “so that their hope may not die.”
“Unfortunately, there are many people in prison who commit suicide, sometimes even young prisoners,” he said. “At times, a mother’s love can help preserve someone from this danger.”
Prisons and suicide
As the Pope mentioned, suicide rates are much higher in prisons than among the general population.
Some studies say prisoners in the United States are four times more likely to commit suicide, with motivations ranging from fear of other inmates and the consequences of a person’s crime to the loss of a meaningful relationship. Most suicides occur in isolation cells.
In England and Wales, there were 92 self-inflicted deaths in prisons in 2018 alone.
According to Samaritans, an international charitable network, key risk factors for prison suicide include “mental ill-health, past self-harm, traumatic life experiences, and a background of disadvantage”.