Mothers are an important part of the origin stories of many religions, but they're often relegated to the sidelines. Indeed, the world's most celebrated religious figures -- people like Abraham, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad -- are often male.
It's a pattern that has consequences for women in religion today: Although they've started to crack the stained glass ceiling, women hold just a small minority of leadership positions in American religious congregations.
And yet, religion as we know it today wouldn't exist without the sacred power of mothers -- not just because of their ability to bring life into the world, but also because of their independence, resilience, and courage.
In honor of Mother's Day, Huffington Post Religion is highlighting mothers in sacred texts as a reminder of the roles that women have played and can play in world religions. From Mary, the young rebel, to Mahapajapati, the mom who boldly insisted to the Buddha that she was worthy of ordination, these sacred mothers have much to teach us about the unstoppable force of women's spirituality.