Hymns for Mother's Day / Mothering Sunday

This is a selection of hymns for celebrations of motherhood - and in particular for Mother's Day.

About Mother’s Day

Mothers's Day in the USA and many other countries (Australia, New Zealand, India) is observed on the second Sunday in May.   It was established firstly as a secular holiday to celebrate and honour one's own mother (it's officially Mother's Day, not Mothers' Day) - but has evolved to include motherhood in general, and in some communities Christian ideas about Mary the Mother of God.

In some countries (eg Ireland, the UK, Nigeria) the 4th Sunday of Lent is observed - originally as Mothering Sunday but now more commonly as Mother's Day.    Originally Mothering Sunday was when people returned to their "mother church" for the Latare Sunday service, and while doing so met their mothers and other family member in an annual celebration.   Over time, the "mother church" emphasis has fallen, and the day has come to resemble the USA's Mother's Day.

Similar celebrations are held on different days in other countries - some with a secular origin, and others from a religious basis.

These differences means that there is no clear-cut set of hymns for Mother's Day, or what such hymns should be about - or even a common opinion about whether the secular festival should be marked in church services or religious education classes.

But there are a number of hymns which some people have regarded as suitable for Mother's Day, and some of these are listed below.    These fall into several categories:
  • Hymns for or about mothers and their experiences
  • Hymns in which people give thanks for their own mother and for mothering which they have received
  • Hymns addressing God as Mother   (an idea which may be controversial in some settings)
  • Hymns about Mary, the mother of God (which may not be appropriate in some settings)
  • Hymn that address Mary as mother of humankind in general, and of specific people
  • Hymns written by famous mothers.

Suggestions from all these categories are listed below.    Review them carefully to make sure they suit your purpose, and will be acceptable in your church / school / etc.


Suggested free-use hymns

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(This is the best-known hymn written by Julia Ward Howe, who was one of the founders of the American Mother's Day)

God We Praise You for the Women

Mother Dearest Mother Fairest

Mother Dear O Pray For Me

Motherhood Sublime Eternal

O My Father (verse 4)

On this Day O Beautiful Mother

'Tis the Month of Our Mother

Holy Mary Mother Mild

Hail Queen of Heaven

Dear Guardian of Mary


For Catholics, the Marian anthem for the season may be suitable.

Some other hymn about Mary, may be appropriate, in some situations.   Note:   list includes free-use and some copyright hymns.


Suggested hymns which may still be copyright

A Mother Lined a Basket - Keithahn

As I Kneel Before You - Parkinson

Faith of our Mothers - Patten  (public domain in the US but not necessarily elsewhere)

For all the Faithful Women - Steumpfle

For All the Saints - How and Vaughn Williams

Giving Thanks to Mothers (tune ODE TO JOY) - Kelly 2006

God of Eve and God of Mary - Kaan

God of the Women - Gillette

Grandmother God (Younger than a youth) - Wren

Honour Christian Mothers - unknown (but likely to be recently written - to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers)

Mothering God You Gave Me Birth - Janzen and Smith

Mothers of Faith - Gordon

O God Whose Steadfast Love - Haddix

Where Can I Turn for Peace - Thayne



Resources for church-music selection



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