22 October 2009

Dulce Madre - Sweet Mother

When I first got to know my wife Gina I noticed that whenever we left Irapuato to go to Guanajuato, San Miguel, some other city, just as soon as we were out on the highway she would become very silent. If her parents were with us they would become silent as well. Thinking that they were all unsure of my driving ability I would keep up a one sided chatter to reassure them. It was very of awkward. After a few minutes they would open up and start talking again. After this happened two or three times it suddenly dawned on me that they might be praying. I asked Gina about this and she confirmed it. Ever since she was a little girl she and her family would go through this little ritual whenever they started out on a trip. They usually did it out loud but they did it silently with me around until they got more comfortable with my presence. Now that they let me in on the secret we all do it together. The little ritual goes like this:

First one makes the Sign of the Cross (Santiguarse).

Then one says this little prayer three times:

Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Señor del buen camino, llévanos sanos y salvos a nuestro destino.
Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Señor del buen camino, llévanos sanos y salvos a nuestro destino.
Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Señor del buen camino, llévanos sanos y salvos a nuestro destino.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lord of the good highway, carry us safe and sound to our destination.

After that one recites the prayer "Dulce Madre" (Sweet Mother).

Dulce Madre, no te alejes.
Tu vista de mi no apartes.
Ven conmigo a todas partes, y solo(a) nunca me dejes.
Ya que me proteges tanto, como verdadera Madre,
Haz que me bendiga el Padre, el Hijo, y el Espíritu Santo.

Sweet Mother, do not part from me.
Do not lose me from your sight.
Accompany me everywhere and never leave me all alone.
Because you protect me like a true Mother,
Obtain for me the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Then one makes the Sign of the Cross again (Santiguarse)

The phrase " Señor del buen camino" (Lord of the good highway) has a double meaning. In one sense it refers to the highway and for this reason the prayer is a favorite of chauffeurs, bus drivers, and truck drivers. In another sense, however, it refers to the words of Our Lord when he said “Yo soy el Camino, la Verdad y la Vida" (I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life).

The prayer "Dulce Madre" is a favorite prayer of all Mexican Catholics and they learn it at a very early age. Many times Gina and I will linger after the mass until most of the people have left the church and then we recite the Dulce Madre together and we make the Sign of the Cross over each other. This is a very special thing for her and I must tell you that it makes me feel like we are very close. If you have never done this with your spouse I invite you to try it. It will leave you with a magical feeling. Ask your friends and neighbors about how they use the Dulce Madre. That is your homework assignment.


Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

My grandparents used to join hands to pray before departing on one of our many trips. My hubby and I now do it with our children.

As for the homework assignment, Profe, I will ask my suegros and the rest of the family about it! :D

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Some Baptists pray before trips - but it's never as elegant and eloquent as that. Quite lovely really.

And lol Sir. it's hilarious that you carried on your lil one sided conversations for them without having a clue - :P - I'm afraid it would have taken me a lot longer to figure out what was going on. :)

AAAAND Since I'm out of lurker-dom now I'd like to say - THANK YOU - for all of the neat info on culture and the WONDERFUL Spanish lessons you've posted over time. I'm a year here in Mexico now and it does me quite good to know more about the people I live with. Gracias.

Bob Mrotek said...


Your grandparents set a good example. I am glad to see that their example will be carried on to their great grandchildren :)

Thank you kind Gringa-n-Mexico. Please say a little Baptist prayer for me :)

Calypso said...

Good road trip advice Amigo - thank you for the thoughtful post.

Bob Mrotek said...

Yeah John, you never know. A quiet moment with your loved ones asking a higher power for protection can't hurt. It is in keeping with my theme...Solidarity with both Heaven and Earth.

1st Mate said...

Gracias, amigo, for the prayers. Hope they work for us non-Catholics. When the Capt and I make the long drive to Tucson we have to go through the Sonora capital, Hermosillo, and we get so tense in that traffic. Next time I'll just take the prayers along and concentrate on them.

Bob Mrotek said...

They are not just Catholic prayers. God likes to hear from all of His children. Remember my motto: "Solidarity with Heaven and Earth"...in all things :)

Billie Mercer said...

Bob, what a beautiful story.

Tigre Blanco said...

I would like to find an old English version of this I bet it would be so beautiful! I love old languages!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have always recited the "Dulce Madre" prayer since I was a little girl. I loved this prayer. Somehow, I feel a warm feeling and comfort come over me everytime I recite it. I love the Spanish version, but thank you so much for the translation. God bless you.

smrodz55 said...

I love this prayer,a holy cross priest from Texas used to recite it at end of everything he did and 20 plus years later i still pray it myself. I was told that this is only a short version of the prayer....I would love to read the longer version. Do you know it or where I can obtain it? Thanks!

Bob Mrotek said...

smrodz55, I don't know of a longer version but I think that this version is so sweet that perhaps it doesn't need to be any longer because the "afterglow" lasts a long time.

Unknown said...

I love this prayer, I made a couple of changes. Hope you
don't mind.

Blessed Mother do not leave me
Under your gaze always keep me,
under your mantle protect me
alone never leave me, and because
like a good mother you love me,
obtain for me and my family the blessing of
the Father, the son and the Holy spirit.


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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.