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Agnes was an example of synodality

Agnes Charles died peacefully on Monday, February 21, three months short of her 94th birthday. Her funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, February 26 at her ‘native’ church, St Anthony’s RC Church, Petit Valley. This appreciation of her life was read by her daughter Trina Casimire, and granddaughter, Astrid Casimire.

From her grandchildren

Going by granny was like a meme: feeling loved, belly full, money in hand. She always had a variety of food waiting for us. And of course, at Christmas time, she served her famous quiche. There’s a joke that goes around among my generation, saying that when you’re seasoning food, you’ll know when to stop: when the ancestors tell you. That was Granny. She never measured anything and would just throw in stuff from memory. She also passed down her spirituality and love of God. It has helped shape who we are today. We love you Granny and thank you.

From her only surviving sibling Rosita Lewis, 100 years old

My sister Agnes and I were very close. She would say “girl, when are you coming to Trinidad? I put some mangoes in the freezer for you”. We had so much fun sitting on the porch talking and laughing at everything. She would often say to me, “you’re the only one who makes me laugh so much”. On her visits to the US, she looked forward to going to the Dollar Store, sitting outside, and eating watermelon. Rest in Peace, my sister.

From her nieces and nephews, Gillian Lewis writes:

My beloved Auntie Agnes, whom I so lovingly called ‘teacher Agnes’, has been called home. When she taught at Rose Hill school, I remember her taking me to school with her: the long, polished nails, wearing those stilettos and partying. When I migrated to the US to continue my studies, she was elated that my major was education. Auntie, rest in eternal peace.

From her son-in-law and daughters-in-law,

Erma Charles writes:

As Agnes Charles’ extended family, her son-in-law and daughters-in-law were blessed and privileged to have a mother-in-law who made her home the heartbeat of our marriages and our lives.

From Christmas celebrations, which were always large, all-day family gatherings, Easter to Carnival, her home was always the ever-warm and welcoming place to which we all converged. Her kitchen was always a bountiful haven of delicious Trini foods, chatter and laughter; her front porch a refreshing space of long conversations, more laughs and fun. Our mother-in-law, Mom, made us a strong family because of her enduring love and support of all of her children’s spouses, treating us as if we were one of her own. We will miss her dearly.

From friends who are like family, Felix Edinborough writes:

Agnes was a very good friend that I considered a ‘family’ member though not blood relation. Apart from making me feel at home whenever I visited, by her commanding spirit she influenced my life with friendly ‘instructions’ that I live by up to today.

I remember when Trina was born, she told me that I had been chosen to be her godfather. Also, one Monday, when I was at Mass at St Anthony’s, she told me to do the reading and further informed me that I would be doing the reading every Monday. From then on, up to this day, I am the Monday lector. She was always a good influence in my life.

From her St Anthony’s community, Lydia Oliver writes:

A friend recently confided in me that when she first moved to St Anthony’s 26 years ago, she thought that Agnes Charles was our sacristan. In her effort to get acquainted with her new fellow parishioners and the various ministries, she had several questions. For almost every answer to her questions she was redirected to Agnes to provide the information. After she retired from active church duties, if something were to happen or go wrong in the church, you would hear people saying, “If Agnes was here this could not happen.”

She was a member of almost every ministry in the parish. Several parishioners have testified that she was responsible for their joining various church ministries and for their faith and dedication in the Church today. Her wedding anniversary was celebrated on Boxing Day, and it was the custom for her and her husband Joe (now deceased) to invite the whole congregation to celebrate with them at their home. Agnes, we love you and say thank you for your generosity and dedication to our parish.

From her neighbours in Petit Valley, Patricia Franco writes:

‘Aggy’, as I lovingly called her, lived the Word of God: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” I remember quiet moments at her bedside reciting the rosary. We’d chat and she would share with me about her love of Padre Pio and St Anthony. We shared a love of avocados and she always remembered to ask if I needed anything. May you soar with the angels.

From afar, Susan Henry in Australia writes:

Agnes was such a vibrant part of our parish for so many years. She generally looked after so much of what went on in the parish, a right hand to many of the parish priests.

With her dear Joe, they were a solid example of good marriage and family life and community building. May we be consoled knowing that Agnes is now safely home in the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and St Anthony whom she served so faithfully.

From all those she mentored, Rendel Allamani writes:

I first met Agnes in my RCIA classes. I wanted to become Catholic. Well, the Lord sent me an angel to guide and encourage me. She inspired me along my journey and saw when I needed extra. Actually, at the end of the course, she gave me my first rosary which I treasure to this day. Truly a woman of God with a great love for Our Lady. Agnes, may you now enjoy your heavenly reward. Pray for me.

From her caregivers,

Anne Grant Lewis writes:

Although I know death is inevitable, I know also that our souls were not designed to tolerate it. One thing I am certain of is that Ms Agnes will be missed: the conversations we had, the dances we shared, and even all of her antics.

During the last year and a half, many things may have changed but the things that remained constant were how much she spoke of her children, her childhood and time shared with her sisters Carmen and Rosita, and her husband Joe. She will forever be remembered for being a good person, God-fearing, a lover of good food, a great mother and proof of this will live on in her children. Ms Agnes, I love you now, then, and always.