‘Mother’ Jones has been accused of being irreligious. Unorthodox she certainly is, for Jew and Gentile are alike to her; but her speeches are full of religious conviction, and she spends no little time reading her Bible. Next to the book of books, she cherishes the poetry of Robert Burns, and says that the peasant poet felt what he did not understand and sang of the joys and sorrows of the people as no other poet has ever done. Her two other literary favorites are Tolstoi and Wendell Phillips. She carries with her always a worn volume of the great abolitionist’s orations….
When asked recently if she would not soon leave off her arduous work and take some comfort in her old age, ‘Mother’ Jones replied: “I am not uncomfortable nor weary. I am an extraordinarily happy woman, with just enough pain in my life to keep me true. If I yielded to luxury I might lose myself. And if the world were not so foolishly afraid of pain it might end all its misery. Luxury makes slaves. I prefer the down road, a comrade’s greeting and the breath of freedom.”
— Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones in the magazine section of the Boston Herald for September 11, 1904, pp. 1, 3. Cited in Mother Jones Speaks: collected writings and speeches edited by Philip S. Foner, published by Monad Press, New York (1983), p. 62.