Merry Christmas Season, Faith Formation Directors and Mamas alike. Like many readers, I anxiously awaited Mary Poppins Return for almost half a century. Nearly fifty years old, I have delighted in Mary Poppins for as long as I remember. Lest you roll your eyes and assume our youngest Catholic daughter was named in honor of Ms. Poppins, you are mistaken. Of course, we honored our Mother in Heaven, when naming our Mary Bella.
This Catholic mom and educator must admit, though, that I adored Mary Poppins Returns (and Mary Poppins, again) during Christmas break. In fact, I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about her. Hopefully, you will relate to the following prayer and may our Father (and Mother) in Heaven have a rich sense of humor:
Although Mary Poppins movies are not touted as Catholic, they remain my favorites. As you know, I refuse to be reminded that Mary Poppins is make believe. Sure, P.L. Travers and Disney made Mary “practically perfect,” and those that know me, tease me for quoting Mary Poppins and carrying a small carpet bag. However, I educate in the faith, parent six children and happiness is contagious, so I ignore the grown ups in my life.
A sparkling Catholic forum contradicts the dark people who make Mary Poppins secular. For Catholics such as myself, Mary could represent the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . at least in the deep recesses of our hearts. The Banks family is troubled by materialism in both films; and secular feminism is wayward when the Banks children are forgotten by their mum (1).
I am not the only Catholic who yearns for a Christian connection to Mary Poppins. Julian Ahlquist, reminds British nanny fans that the wind might represent the Holy Spirit, the fun, energetic characters are Charismatic Catholics, to which this mom adores. And, Admiral Boom, oh so cool, may be that Traditionalist Catholic, which I need in my life, daily (that may be why you gave silly me my dear, serious Catholic husband) (1).
Father, when we began our new Church year, the first week of Advent, I asked, as I often do, that you keep the Virgin Mary in my heart throughout the Church year. I continue to ask you for trust like Mary; to say “yes” to You and raise my children with a gentle, loving and pure soul. Oh how I try to be like the Virgin Mary. Then, I fail. I try again. And, when I keep failing, I go to our Mother in Heaven and ask her to pray for me to clean up my blessed messes of human frailty.
And, Mary Poppins? Forgive me for embracing this make believe character. But, Lord, she reminds me too, about being lovely and maternal. Mary never “explains too much,” and is kind and firm.
Help me, God, to be disciplined in my vocation as a Christian daughter, mother, wife . . . and “never allow others to interrupt my schedule.”
Mary Poppins places, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” and “Spit Spot,” on my lips many times over the years in the classroom and at home, when there is nothing left to say or we are in a hurry. Guide me to make school and life full of “Splash and Play!” Remind me to provide “spoons full of sugar,” to everyone I meet, especially my children.
When I look in the mirror, help me to see your image, but to also be cheeky and say to myself, “It’s wonderful to see you.”
When something or someone gets lost, help me remember to say to my little ones, “Nothing’s gone forever, only out of place (from us).”
And, when my children yearn to grow up too fast, help me to say, “Well, we’ll have to see what can be done about that,” as I implore them to slow down and remind myself to be childlike, too.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, of course, I close my prayer with, “Amen,” so that I may say, “yes,” to this “practically perfect” prayer.
To my Sisters in Christ, we say to Mary, our Mother in Heaven, “Hail Mary!” And, to Mary Poppins, in the year 2019? “Off we go!”
1 Vogt, Brandon. “Mary Poppins Catholicism Interview with Julian Ahlquist,” August 15, 2018. Brandonvogt.com (web).
Photo 1: Comics.com
Photo 2: Wikimedia
Photo 3: Yahoo