Writing at The Huffington Post, Diana Butler Bass reminds us that the idea of a national day to honor mothers came from radical female Protestant reformers. Here is a taste:
In May 1907, Anna Jarvis, a member of a Methodist congregation in Grafton, West Virginia, passed out 500 white carnations in church to commemorate the life of her mother. One year later, the same Methodist church created a special service to honor mothers. Many progressive and liberal Christian organizations–like the YMCA and the World Sunday School Association–picked up the cause and lobbied Congress to make Mother’s Day a national holiday. And, in 1914, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson made it official and signed Mother’s Day into law. Thus began the modern celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States.
Heather Cox Richardson makes a similar point at the blog of The Historical Society.