For today's Becoming Myself series, I asked Emily Fossier about her journey of motherhood and how it has accompanied her on her journey to herself. I met Emily years ago at one of my calligraphy classes and will never forget her smile and joy. She has started an instagram @apostolateofholymotherhood at the prompting of Our Lady that reminds mothers of the divine work of motherhood. You can also find her on her blog A Little Fossi Way.
At what point in your life did you begin the journey to really know yourself, step into who you are, and embrace the call that God uniquely gave you? What was the impetus?
Motherhood 100%. Nothing really can prepare you for the amount of sacrificing you need to do in order to raise another human. I didn’t realize just how attached I am to the comforts of the world until I had my kids!
I became a mom fairly young...I got married the week after my college graduation, moved from Louisiana to Indiana days after our honeymoon, and then became pregnant with my son Pier a few months afterward. The first year of my son's life was the hardest of mine as I learned how to become a mom while also navigating a newly-diagnosed severe depression and anxiety disorder.
Despite desiring motherhood for as long as I can remember, I was shocked at how hard it all was...I felt lost and isolated in my vocation and struggled to find joy in the mundane tasks as a stay at home mom. The Lord was merciful to me during that time and purified my heart in His lessons of love. Motherhood, I found, is the antidote to self-absorption, pride, sloth, and all other vices that I struggle with overcoming. Becoming a mother has softened me and stretched me at the same time. It brings to surface my faults, but also helps me find a strength I never knew I had. In gazing into the eyes of my children, I have learned how to truly live for others, and in doing so, I began to find myself.
What do you think the story is that God wants to tell with your life? What does the Holy Spirit want to reveal of Christ’s nature with your own personal mission?
I’ve actually wrestled a lot with this question recently so I am really glad you asked it. I never felt like being “just a mom” was enough...like I had to have an impressive job resume in order to be worth something. It was a freeing realization to see that God has me exactly where he needs me to be and that I am doing holy work raising my children for His kingdom. It’s taken years of growth, but I am finally at peace to simply be a homemaker, a homeschooling mother and a catechist to the three souls entrusted to my care. It’s a humbling privilege.
With this peaceful realization came a desire to encourage other mothers in their specific callings and to bring a higher awareness of the beauty held in a homemakers vocation. I mean, can we all agree that it’s difficult being a Catholic mother in today’s broken culture? Satan hates women. He hates mothers. He wants us to be divided and attacked as he relentlessly mocks the sacredness of our calling. Our Lady put it on my heart to combat this mockery by promoting the dignity of the homemaker and teach others about the hidden life of the contemplative Catholic mother. Much like a Carmelite sister praying in her convent, mothers can also be women of prayer for the world in their homes. Every onesie we fold, dish we wash, child we feed, and floor we sweep can be an opportunity to grow in love and prayer. It’s simple but powerful! Motherhood is intense and we need all the encouragement we can get...my mission is to remind mothers that we can transform our broken world by how we raise our children. It all begins at home.
Which Saint has been your closest ally lately? What do you learn from them?
There are so many! Besides Our Lady, I have a big deviation to the Carmelite saints. St. Theresa of Avila, St. Edith Stein, and St. Therese of Lisieux taught me about contemplative prayer and helped me have a deeper understanding of the interior life. St. John Bosco and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (my sons namesake!) are also some of my biggest allies — they help me not to take life too seriously and to fight for joy when life gets heavy. I tend to be on the serious side and their intercession definitely helps to lighten my day. Oh wait, one more...Mother Teresa, because she’s awesome and volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity sisters has changed my life.
What does your daily prayer routine look like?
The biggest adjustment to my prayer life since becoming a mother is the intentionality of how I spend my time. Gone are the days where I can go to a random daily mass and spend hours in adoration! It’s been a constant lesson in praying on my feet and worshipping the Lord as I run errands, play peek-a-boo, fold clothes, and cook dinner. That being said, I am a hot mess and a half and need some type of rhythm in my prayer life or quality time with Jesus just won’t happen. On a good day, my husband and I like to wake up before the kids to drink our coffee and pray the Liturgy of the Hours together. Then I usually consecrate our day to Mary and pray a Morning Offering with the kids before we eat breakfast. When it’s time for baby Willa’s morning nap, I put on a video for the older two while I sneak off to pray the rosary as I nurse her to sleep. At lunch, the kids like to ring the outdoor dinner bell and pray the Angelus outside. In the evenings, we pray the Divine Praises as a family each night, sing hymns, and talk about our roses and thorns (like an examination of conscience for children). Usually the end of the day is when I do my spiritual reading with my husband. We love to read together and chat about what we’re learning in our books or podcasts...usually over a glass of wine.
What books or resources would you recommend to others who want to enter the journey of discovering who God has made them to be?
Also the section on Prayer in the Catechism