One motherAEs Story

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

One motherAEs Story


Byline: Susan Dibble sdibble@dailyherald.com

Whenever Maggie Rowe performs "The Woman Jesus Called Mother," the props are minimal and the emotions powerful.

She conveys the mixture of fear and faith in an unmarried teenage girl who agrees to bear the promised Messiah in a culture where a pregnancy out of wedlock could result in death.

She conveys the joy of Mary as she holds her newborn son and years later, her tears as she cradles his broken body at the cross. Finally, an elderly Mary shares her hope of heaven and reunion with her son.

"ItAEs really the life of Jesus through the eyes of a mother," said Rowe, the wife of a pastor and the mother of three young adult children. "If my son did what Jesus did, all I would want to do is tell people about it. ThatAEs what mothers do."

The Wheaton resident has performed the drama she wrote 16 years ago more than 200 times in the United States, Brazil and the Philippines. Over the next two weeks, she will perform it locally for churches in Medinah, Wheaton and West Chicago.

Her portrayal of Mary is most in demand during Advent, Lent and for MotherAEs Day, Rowe said.

"This is the story of arguably the most famous woman who ever lived," she said.

But as well-known and revered as Mary is throughout the Christian world, people often donAEt see her as a real person, said RoweAEs husband, the Rev. Mike Rowe, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Wheaton.

"It never ceases to move me," said

the pastor, who often accompanies his wife to her performances. "In pretty much every context, itAEs had a profound impact. In seeing the Christmas story, which can get too familiar, they see it anew. They see it with fresh eyes."

Women, in particular, relate to his wifeAEs portrayal of MaryAEs pregnancy, he said.

"Women feel how torn and confused Mary must have been," he said.

Rowe, a blue-eyed, blonde Norwegian-American, never set out to portray Mary, a Jewish woman born in the Middle East. She wrote the script for the 14-scene, 50-minute drama after she was asked to speak on "Christmas Memories" at an event for women at a small church in Massachusetts in 1993.

Feeling that the memories of Mary would be of more interest than her own, she researched Jewish traditions and the lives of women in 1st century Israel.

Still, she hesitated to actually portray Mary. …

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