I firmly believe that this love was nurtured in my mother’s womb. My loving mother loved to pray and sing hymns— all day long. I feel certain that her love for our Church was transmitted to me via my umbilical cord, which not only nourished me physically, but spiritually.
Pa was Hindu and Ma was a staunch Catholic.
My two older siblings were not baptised. When I was a few days old, I fell ill and my stomach was distended. Thinking that I would die, my mother begged my father to allow me to be baptised. He agreed. She rushed to the Church of St Philip and St James in Chaguanas. The parish priest was Canon Max Murphy. He quickly recruited the support of the organist’s wife who was with her husband at the time. He was practising on the organ. She stood as my godmother, and he was my godfather. My mother had not even thought of a saint name for me. A few months earlier that year (1950), St Maria Goretti had been canonised. Canon Murphy recommended this as my baptismal name. Thereafter, I was obviously an evangelist, as my father agreed to allow my other two siblings to be baptised. He was present at the baptism of all three of us, and of the four children who were born after us. On my return home after being baptised, I was still hollering. An elderly neighbour, on hearing my constant bawling, came to our house in Montrose. She examined me and started to laugh. She asked my mother to warm a soft candle (don’t know if people still use this today). She rubbed my tummy with the warm soft candle, and I soon recovered. Flatulence was causing the pain! I was not “dedding”! And the rest is history.
I fall in love with the Catholic Church each day. And as I open my eyes on mornings, my first words are words of gratitude to the Lord for my life, and for all the gifts that He has given to us, His Creation. I have been through the wars— strokes etc. But whenever I see one pair of footprints, I know that He is carrying me. May my love for the Catholic Church and for the Blessed Trinity sustain me as I journey on. And may I demonstrate this love by the way I live my life, as a true witness to the gospel. Jesus, I love you.