Series: Youth reflect on 2020
December 23, 2020
Saturday December 26th: Feast of St. Stephen
December 26, 2020

Special Christmas Q&A with our nuns

Confession time!!!

When I was young, everyone thought I would become a nun when I got older, even me. I spent some of my early years discerning for the noteworthy profession but eventually I felt my call was in another direction.

Whenever I share that side of me with others, they generally say that they can not see it, because
many people imagine nuns to be little old ladies who sit and pray the rosary all day. While we may have a lot who pray the rosary all day, the women that make up the structure of Catholic nuns in Trinidad are diverse, interesting , and fun loving people.

This Christmas I reached out to some of them and asked, about how they celebrate Christmas. You might be surprised (mostly by the amount of ponche a crème they drink).
So sit back relax and spend some time with some of our favourite sisters in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

1. Name: Sr. Lystra Long
2. Do you have a pet name that you are known by? No pet name, but Sister has become my
name
3. Which religious order do you belong to? Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters
4. What was your original parish? St Francis of Assisi, Sangre Grande
5. Which parish do you attend now? St. Joseph R.C.
6. How long have you been a nun? I entered the convent, 17 years ago.
7. Do you have a hero nun ( another nun you admire plenty ) Sr. Jean Tranel. OP
8. How do you usually spend Christmas day? I spend Christmas day with my community
and in the evening and Boxing day with my parents
9. Are you spending it that way this year? Most likely, keeping COVID protocols in mind
10. What are you wishing for under the Christmas? The end of COVID !
11. What’s your favourite Christmas memory? Spending time with my sisters, family and
friends
12. Favourite Christmas dish? Pastelles
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? Ponche de crème
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Sponge cake
15. Pastelle with raisins or without? PPastelle with a few raisins

16. Ham or turkey? Ham
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? Sweet bread, slightly toasted with butter
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning? Midnight Mass
19. Whats your Christmas pet peeve? The Commercialization of christmas
20. Whats the thing you love most about Christmas? Christ is the reason for the season

1. Name: Sr. Sarah Marie Waterman
2. Do you have a pet name that you are known by? No I Don’t
3. Which religious order do you belong to? Corpus Christi Carmelites
4. What was your original parish? Christ the Tortuga Parish & later on Christ the King Les Efforts
OLPH
5. Which parish do you attend now? St. John the Evangelist, Diego Martin
6. How long have you been a nun ? 10 years minus four years formation.
7. Do you have a hero nun (another nun you admire plenty)? I have at least three that admire for
different Religious Characteristics
8. How do you usually spend Christmas day? Christmas day is spent, by doing Morning Prayer then prepare lunch, lunch with the Sisters; then evening prayer after which gifts are opened together as a Community, this would entail, having poncho de crème, or Sorrel while we laugh and chat give jokes about the good ole days
9. Are you spending it that way this year?– Yes, we are because our Community is small, we would be spending it the same way. (Looking forward to it)
10. What are you wishing for under the Christmas tree? Lol, under the tree?? I don’t know, maybe some gadget or stationary. But what I wish for from Infant Jesus is a happy and peaceful
Christmas for all families, that they would spend this Christmas day together with fun and
laughter.
11. Whats your favourite Christmas memory? As a Religious my fun Christmas memory, would be
waking up the Sisters with Carol’s very early in the morning. This happened at our formation
house once. It was fun !!! As a child at home – it would be sleeping Christmas night and waiting for the first parang band to grace our house with a house parang and then my father would join the band to continue with other houses much to our delight, because we would accompany him (my siblings and I)
12. Favourite Christmas dish?  Gosh I love food, it would be the whole Christmas menu with stew pork somewhere in there! Christmas rice, callaloo, macaroni pie, bake chicken, ham, fresh salad, potato salad, and sorrel. ( I think I’m forgetting something )
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? Ponche De Crème
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Sponge cake
15. Pastelle with raisons or without?  Pastelle without raisins
16. Ham or turkey? Ham of course
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? Sweet bread without butter
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning? Christmas Eve Mass, it’s more exciting then when we return to the Convent, one of the traditions is that we, kids the Infant Jesus and place him in the
Creche and we sing Carols
19. Whats your Christmas pet peeve? My only peeve is that Soca music for Carnival starts too early and Christmas season ends too quickly
20. Whats the thing you love most about Christmas? Everything !!! Its my favourite time Of the year.

1. Name: Sr. Rose Mary Carvalho
2. Do you have a pet name that you are known by? Roses
3. Which religious order do you belong to? St. Joseph of Cluny
4. What was your original parish? Our Lady of Perpetual Help
5. Which parish do you attend now? St. Joseph Tobago
6. How long have you been a nun? 42 years
7. Do you have a hero nun? ( another nun you admire plenty ) Sr. Rosa Pantin RIP
8. How do you usually spend Christmas day? Celebrating in Community
9. Are you spending it that way this year? Yes and with the addition of a relative.

10. What are you wishing for under the Christmas tree? No wishes. I like the surprise of
finding what is under the tree.
11. What’s your favourite Christmas memory? As a child trying to keep awake to attend
Midnight Mass.
12. Favourite Christmas dish? I don’t have a favorite dish
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? I like both
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Black Cake
15. Pastelle with raisins or without? With raisins
16. Ham or turkey? Turkey
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? Sweetbread with butter
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning? Evening Mass
19. What’s your Christmas pet peeve? No pet peeve
20. What’s the thing you love most about Christmas? Family togetherness. The joy that
Christmas brings.

1. Name: Theresa Charmain Vialva
2. Do you have a pet name that you are known by? Charmain, Sr.T.
3. Which religious order do you belong to? Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Faith
4. What was your original parish? St. Paul’s R.C. Couva
5. Which parish do you attend now? St. Paul’s R.C. Couva
6. How long have you been a nun? 26 years
7. Do you have a hero nun ( another nun you admire plenty )? Sr. Aloysius Ashby
8. How do you usually spend Christmas day? Quietly with Mass/prayer followed by a
simple breakfast and lunch in the community.
9. Are you spending it that way this year? Yes
10. What are you wishing for under the Christmas tree? Money
11. What’s your favourite Christmas memory? Walking to the junction with my best friend to
take a taxi to Couva during my teenage years and then being blessed with a wonderful
Midnight mass and mopping a drop to get home afterwards.
12. Favourite Christmas dish? Fresh salad with apple, grapes, nuts and cheese
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? Ponche de creme
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Black cake
15. Pastelle with raisins or without? With raisins
16. Ham or turkey? Ham
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? Sweet bread with butter and cheese
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning? Midnight Mass
19. What’s your Christmas pet peeve? It goes too quickly
20. What’s the thing you love most about Christmas? Being able to stop and enjoy the
simple things simply because God loved us enough to become one of us.

1. Name: Sr Renee Hall
2. Which religious order do you belong to? Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena
3. What was your original parish? Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Harris Promenade, San
Fernando
4. Which parish do you attend now? Currently attending Mass at the Chapel of St Dominic’s
Children’s Home, Belmont.
5. How long have you been a nun? I entered Religious Life 14 years ago and I made
profession 10 years this year
6. Do you have a hero nun (another nun you admire plenty) ? – Sr Arlene Greenidge OP
7. How do you usually spend Christmas day?  I usually spend Christmas Day with the
community and my family.
8. Are you spending it that way this year? Very much the same
9. What are you wishing for under the Christmas tree? I hope for lots of candles since it is
one of the things that I use. I am constantly lighting candles for different reasons in
front of my statue of our Lady of Guadalupe.
11. What’s your favourite Christmas memory? My favourite memory is spending time with
family both immediate and extended- good food, sharing experiences and of course as we say
in Trini parlance ” plenty ole talk, “good laughter just and enjoying being with each other
sharing memories.
12. Favourite Christmas dish? Turkey with my mother’s special stuffing.
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? Ponche de crème
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Sponge
15. Pastelle with raisins or without? with raisins
16. Ham or turkey? see number 12
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? I don’t eat sweetbread
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning ? Christmas Eve Mass
19. What’s your Christmas pet peeve? The never ending amount of house work that is
required but it is a beautiful feeling when everything is pristine and ready to celebrate the
Birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning.
20. What’s the thing you love most about Christmas ? Christmas creates a space within my
life where I could refocus on what is important- the fact that Jesus Christ would take on
human flesh in order to save humankind. Also it is a time of gifts- recognizing as I give and
receive gifts that life is itself a gift and therefore it reminds me to be grateful for the many
blessings big and small that have come my way. The wise men travelled a long distance to
present gifts to the Christ Child who gave the ultimate gift of His Life so that we may have
Eternal Life.

1. Name: Rosario Hackshaw
2. Do you have a pet name that you are known by? Rosy
3. Which religious order do you belong to? Holy Faith Sisters
4. What was your original parish? St Theresa’s, Woodbook
5. Where do you attend now? St Therese, Valencia
6. How long have you been a nun? Well I passed my 60th anniversary already . I was born in 1937 and entered about 20 . So that’s about 63 years I am a real old lady you know.
7. Do you have a hero nun ( another nun you admire plenty )? Yes! Sr. Dominic Marie Turner (deceased) she was my aunt, when I met her she was had returned from China where she was imprisoned . She escaped imprisonment by climbing over the mountains to India. When she
returned home she was kind of sick but she was the funniest thing on earth. I believe that is
what endeared me to religious life. What I admired is that she was an enjoyable persons and
that drew me to becoming a nun.
8. How do you usually spend Christmas day? With my family in Diego Martin .We usually have the whole family over from the youngest to the oldest ( I am the oldest of course).
9. Are you spending it that way this year? Because of COVID 19 it will just be a few of us this
year
10. What are you wishing for under the Christmas tree? I am too old for that
11. What’s your favourite Christmas memory ? I have a lot of great Christmas memories like seeing the lights go on the Christmas tree and I remember sneaking outside to see the tree in
darkness, so I sneaked outside to see it and knocked down everything, the tree and the lights
mash up and you know all my mother said was, “ Rosy go to bed”.
12. Favourite Christmas dish? Pastelle
13. Ponche de crème or Sorrel? Both but I prefer Ponche de Crème
14. Black cake or sponge cake? Black cake but I would not eat it every day.
15. Pastelle with raisons or without? I don’t mind a few raisins in the pastelles.
16. Ham or turkey : Ham
17. Sweet bread with butter or not? I always love butter, that’s why I am so fat!
18. Evening mass or Christmas morning? Midnight Mass.
19. What’s your Christmas pet peeve? For me Christmas is for children but for me christmas has become the opposite of what it was. Think about it . A poor boy born in a feed box and yet mary
and Joseph were able to manage their lives in the midst of poverty. M it shows a level of
people to think or work without complain and there was no Jesus to do it for them. And now we
have turned it into who must get a bigger present…
20. What’s the thing you love most about Christmas? Meeting all the family

Compiled by Denise Scott

If you enjoyed Christmas with the sisters, Feel free to send us your feedback
@forwomen@catholictt.com

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