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[page 1] Address to Gold Star Pilgrimage Party on board SS. "America", Voyage #22 Easthound, July 29, 1931. Rev. Leo J. Gilleran, S.J.. Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts. Great names recall great lives. Great names awaken and impell the human heart to incentive and to action. The name of country, for instance, can cause the citizen to stand erect with pride. The name of a Bonaparte, a Tudor, a Bismarck, a Washington recalls achievements of the past and inspires us for the future. But the one universally loved name of "mother" awakens the noblest that is in us; it brings to the surface latent qualities of the soul. The name of "mother" can soften the hardest of hearts. It seems quite fitting upon this occasion that I should speak on courageous mother-love. Contrary to the present day Bolshevist who throws over the sacred bonds of marriage, contrary to the atheistic extreme-Evolutionist whom we may call a less recent philosophical bolshevist, we who, regardless of race orcreed, believe in the one true living God do not count love a highly developed animal instinct, but we know it to be a virtue infused by God into the human soul by which we love Him above all else and all in Him. This love, we are all agreed, finds its culmination as it had its source in mother-love. We may have loyalty to a flag, duty to a country, devotion to a cause, respect for authority; but loyalty, devotion, duty respect, when applied to the relationship between mother and son and son and mother, are cold words indeed. It may be interesting to know that scholastic writers and theologians distinguish between intesive love and what is called for want of a better name appreciative love. The first is that familiar form of affection which rejoices in the possession of the one loved. It manifests itself in fondness, delight, caresses. It is the love of "having". But there is another love and a higher form of love which, for a higher and nobler cause, directed by right reasoning, foregoes the delight and pleasure of having sacrifices itself and its loved one for a greater good. This, we may say, is the love of "giving". This is the love which characterized the courageous lives of the mother of Constantine, of Augustine or to use a literary example, of a Coriolanus. It is the characteristic of every courageous mother who gave to our beloved country her son. In the springtime, we all undoubtedly feast our eyes upon the apple blossoms in their beauty and fragrance. Yet we know that those blossoms must fade and fall to yield their fruit. Such is a mother. These mothers here, to-day, once fresh, gay spritely as the young ladies we see flitting about us. Chancehap, from some youth has flown. Perhaps on others beauty is fading. But oh! how grand, how glorious they are in the fruit they bore. If the gospel tells us : ".... by their fruits you shall know them", how can we adequately pay tribute to these mothers who imparted such stamina, such courage to our heroes that they should give their lives for our protection. If American blood
[page 2] has bedewed the soil of France or was sacrificed to the sea, how great should be our esteem of these good ladies in whose very veins that priceless blood ran. This is the homage we pay you, my dear good "Gold Star Mothers". This is the esteem I feel privileged to offer you. May you be an inspiration in the lives of our present and future mothers. May this dear country of ours never fail to rear a courageous womanhood like yours, not content merely to face and perform the duties of motherhood, but may America ever rear mothers who in their love for their sons, shall not be remiss to sacrifice, but will give gladly as you have given. And if this voyage is a token of reward paid to you by this country, have every hope that beyond the limitless sea, there is another reward promised you by the God of the universe, the God who flung the stars across the firmament, the God who "commands the winds and the sea and they obey Him". Whose laws rule heaven and earth. There is a reward of reunion with your sons which, in the words of St. Paul: "eye hath not seen nor hath the ear heard nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has in store for those who love him." Surely you have every reason not to sorrow, but to be consoled in the knowledge that you and your lives ar every near and dear to the Heart of that Great God "Who loves the generous giver" as you have been. May the blessing of Almighty God Father, Son and Holy Ghost descend upon you and remain forever. Amen.
From the Gold Star (War Mothers and Widows) Pilgrimage of Agnes Fraas, mother of Frank X. Fraas, Jr., 1931. Private Fraas was a member of 129th Field Artillery Regiment, 35th Division, AEF and was killed on October 7, 1918. He is buried at the St. Mihiel American Cemetery.
World War I
Gold Star pilgrimmage
Gold Star Mothers