Why we needed a Facebook group for Catholic Mothers

Chiara Finaldi, founder of Catholic Mothers, with Italian Journalist and family campaigner Costanza Miriano at the recent CM conference (Chiara Finaldi)

I have been a mother for almost twenty years, I have seen many fads and parenting trends come and go but one constant for a mother stuck in the house with a sleeping or sick baby has been a feeling of loneliness and isolation. Baby routines sometimes make socialising with other mums impossible.

The advent of social media was a welcome solution to this perennial problem and in 2014 I took the plunge and joined a Facebook mothers’ group where women could swap and sell baby items, ask for practical advice, have a laugh and get together in real life whenever possible. However, soon it became clear that all was not well on the mummy-net.

A poll appeared on my Facebook feed entitled: “Should I abort my child with a cleft palate?” Soon after, I was reported for trying to collect unwanted baby items for the Good Counsel Network. Gender ideology was strongly pushed by a small group of very vocal mothers, men were despised and women who suggested they happily served their families and husbands were ridiculed.

Catholic Mothers was born as a reaction to this experience. The Faith element could not be missing from the community I was looking for. So I created a forum where women could be together, grow in humanity and holiness guided by the oldest and wisest Mother of them all – the Church.

To my amazement, it has blossomed into an incredibly active international group. With nearly 2,000 members worldwide – and growing – and babies galore, the group never sleeps. The wall is filled day and night with prayer requests, requests for practical support and advice, fun photos and encouraging scripture passages.

But it has also become a place where more serious questions are asked and addressed. Things which once upon a time might have been dealt with in the confessional or in spiritual direction are now brought to an online forum. Serious moral or marital issues are raised and members and moderators ensure that proper answers are given. People are helped in suffering, encouraged in virtue, sin is called by name and members witness to the fact that there is no irregular or knotted situation that cannot be solved or addressed because the Church has the answer.

I’ve received dozens of private messages from members who’ve found the good news of the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family through the group and changed their attitude to Church, sex, husbands and children. People thirst for the Truth, but for some reason it has been watered down or even denied to them. We at Catholic Mothers offer access to that Truth without compromises.

Online friendships inevitably led to offline meetings. A sold-out conference was held in Aylesford in April celebrating the privilege of being a woman and a mother. We have plenty of plans for further conferences, family resources and publications so watch this space. Facebook has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently, but for many mothers around the world it has become a faith-affirming encounter with the Christian community.

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