Posted by: drjamm | May 10, 2009

Mother’s Day bells

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts

Julia Ward Howe, 1870


Today, and each Mother’s Day, it is traditional for our UU congregation to sign the Peace Bell Treaty which was inspired by the 1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation of Julia Ward Howe. The end of every Mother’s Day service at our church is marked by the ringing of bells — a hundred or more bells — held in the hands of every woman, man and child. The sound of all those bells ringing is amazing, exhilarating — and loud! And, to my ears those dissonant, clamourous bells are — beautiful — because they are our collective clarion for Peace and our adamant call for the end of all armed conflict every where in the the world.  While I am not there this morning to celebrate the ringing of the bells for peace with my spiritual friends, I have, nevertheless, many bells ringing in my heart as I remember that Mother’s Day was originally — and still is today — above all else, a day to live in Peace. Below is Julia Ward Howe’s original proclamation:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

jamm@brightheartsingingSay firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of

– Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

May this Mother’s Day be a day of Peace for all. Amen.


*******       bright heart singing                              credits and links             *******

Peace treaty credit: I found this copy of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation on

Photo credit – photos by jamm @ bright heart singing

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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