Mr Burgio speaking at the College's Mother's Day Liturgy.

A mother's love

One of our failings as humans is that we often take for granted the people who love us the most, and when we're upset we take it out on those very same people. My message for you today is to think about that and try and take in these few words.

Long before you were born, you were a part of your mum. You breathed the air she breathed and consumed the food she ate. Your little heart beat inside her. She felt your wriggling. She felt you grow. You were a part of her and shared a bond with her that you can never share with another.

Your mother was the first to know you were ready to make your entrance into the world, and suffered pain that only a mother will ever experience. And yet I am told that the pain immediately dissipates when you were handed to her and made your way to her breast. A mother's love is deeper than any love you will ever know.

It is with great sadness that I tell you my story. Mother's Day is always bittersweet for me. I treasure the memories I have of my beautiful mother, but wallow in self-pity at my loss.

In 1972, my mother took my brother and me to Sicily. She wanted to see her mother before her mother passed away. The irony was that it ended up being her mother seeing her before she passed away. In those days, a trip to Europe involved a few stops, commencing with an Air India 707 to Bombay, stopovers in Beirut and Rome before a two hop trip on a Fokker F27 to Palermo. What I remember vividly of that journey is flying over the crater of a smoking Mt Vesuvius and a little bottle of perfume my mum treated herself to on the in-flight shopping service. It was a bottle of Madame Rochas and she wore it on every special occasion. That sweet smell always brought a smile to my face because it reminded me of the happiest time I ever had and of the moments when my mother wore it. The bottle is still with me, and every now and then I open it and allow myself to be lost in the moment when I was whole and could hold my mum and tell her how much I love her.

But today is not about me and my tale of woe. Today is about you. My battle with Mother's Day does not end on the second Sunday in May each year. My frustration with not having a mother stems from watching those who do and don't value it every waking moment of their lives. Boys, your mum will not be around forever, so my advice is to savour her. Love her. Make her feel that she is the most wonderful thing in the universe, because I can assure you that's what she thinks of you. My moments of deep sadness are when I have to make the phone call home about one thing or another and I can feel a mother's heart sink. Remember, every action, every decision, every success, every failure, every consequence associated with you is shared by your mum in a way that you will never understand. It stems back to the time when you and her were one. In developing into a gentleman at this College, this is something you should think about all the time. Your focus should be on bringing joy into your mother's life, not just occasionally, but all day, every day.

On Sunday, across the country, mums will be feted, given breakfast, told they are loved and then prepare to clean up the mess many boys leave when attempting any gastronomic endeavour. My own children and grandchildren will have breakfast and brunch with their mum. I will probably get out that little bottle of Madame Rochas and pore over some old photos. But whatever we do on Sunday, however noble our intentions, if the moment passes and we go back to being blasé about those we love, that will be sad. Bring joy to your mother's life every day. Bring joy to her by making her feel valued. Bring joy to her by telling her you love her. Bring joy to her by hugging and kissing her spontaneously and often. Bring joy to her by helping around the house. Bring joy to her by showing maturity around your siblings. Bring joy to her by making good decisions. Bring joy to her by being the best you can possibly be at school. Bring joy to her in any way you think possible, because she deserves it; she is irreplaceable; she is precious. To all the mums in our community, I hope you have a wonderful day Sunday…and every day!

Mr Domenic Burgio