Mother's Day pro-life rose tradition continues

BRAINTREE -- This Mothers' Day, Catholics across the state will have the chance to support the pro-life cause with the flower that symbolizes the pro-life movement.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life will continue a longtime fundraiser by offering red, pink, white and yellow silk roses at various Catholic churches throughout Massachusetts in exchange for donations to support their work.

Janet Callahan, special projects director for MCFL, said that while the drive specifically supports MCFL's involvement in the pro-life movement, it is also a way to recognize motherhood.

"We want to honor motherhood as well," Callahan said. "It's a natural fit for our cause."

Callahan added that the rose drive is a way to maintain awareness of the pro-life movement, which defends the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

"It's a lovely, non-confrontational way to keep our message in front of people," she said.

Callahan said that rose drives are conducted throughout the year, and not just on Mothers' Day. She said rose drives also occur on Valentines' Day, as well as throughout the month of October, which is Respect Life Month.

She also pointed out that MCFL does not use roses imported from China, in protest of the country's controversial one-child policy.

Callahan said that the organization has been conducting rose drives since at least 1986.

Roses are used in the drives because the flower is the symbol of the modern pro-life movement, Callahan said.

Historically, the rose has symbolized ideas important to the modern pro-life movement.

The ancient Greeks and Romans associated the rose with their goddesses of love, and in Christian times, the rose became a symbol of Mary.

During the Tudor age in England, in the 16th century, roses were the symbol of marriage and motherhood, with the red rose specifically symbolizing childbirth.