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An unsolved murder, a moment for mercy

By Lara Pickford-Gordon


It’s during the most traumatic and vulnerable moments that God’s love sustains wounded hearts. For Catherine Ramsahai, the crucified Christ gave her the fortitude to endure the most painful of experiences.

The body of her son, Jerome Ramsahai, 27, and his cousin Dale, 28, were found in the trunk of a Nissan Tiida vehicle in the Heights of Guanapo, Arima on March 1, 2013, the third Friday in Lent. They had been burnt alive and DNA tests had to be done to confirm their identities. According to one news report, their deaths brought the murder toll to 82.

The Catholic News spoke to Ramsahai about divine mercy and forgiveness March 28.

Jerome Ramsahai

On March 1, she attended the 7 a.m. Mass at St Benedict’s RC, La Romaine. Before Mass, Ramsahai telephoned Jerome to remind him to attend, but got no response. Jerome lived in Port of Spain with his cousin, and it was routine to call. He had asked her to remind him of First Friday Masses which he attended at Holy Rosary RC. On Sundays, he normally attended Mass at St Theresa’s RC, Woodbrook when he did not go home to Debe on weekends to attend with his family.

At noon, Ramsahai went to Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), San Fernando. It was here that then parish priest Msgr Christian Pereira broke the news that two bodies had been found. “All I could have said when I watched the cross on the altar [was] ‘forgive them for they know not what they do,’ and when I said that I felt a peace come over me. The world could have gone haywire, that would not have bothered me.”

In retrospect, she believes the time spent with the Blessed Sacrament at La Romaine helped her when she got the news. Ramsahai also had Confession. For some reason, her Confession included her children — if they hurt anyone and if anyone hurt them, that they could forgive others.

“When everything happened, I said maybe Jerome needed that last Confession he was not able to make. Maybe God put it in me. I don’t know if it makes sense…I wouldn’t confess for my children because they have to confess for their own sins”, she said.

After Jerome’s death, she heard from a Scotiabank co-worker that he spoke of how his family was strict about Mass attendance on Sundays. Ramsahai said, “My aim was how to get everybody into Heaven; that was my goal. I remember telling Jerome when he was a child, all the children were praying the rosary at home. I said, the minute you all die, wherever you all land, beg for forgiveness”.

Jerome was born September 4, 1985; he was the third child and first son of Catherine and Bhimal Ramsahai’s six children. He was “a quiet child” with a “cool personality”.  But that was not all.

“Jerome is a boy who would stand up for what he believed in…he would fight for what he believed in. I am not saying he was a saint, but he wouldn’t put himself in harm’s way, and if he right, he right; he would stand up.”

She recounted a time when Jerome participated in a painting project with other Scotiabank workers in Mayaro. She asked him about his plans to attend Mass that weekend. Ramsahai attended Mass at La Romaine and was surprised to see Jerome in the congregation. She said, “He drove from Mayaro to get to church and then go back. I say in my mind ‘what a thing’”.

The rosary was recited for 40 days at the family’s Debe home up until Jerome’s funeral on April 6.

Ramsahai was invited to speak at a Divine Mercy talk hosted by OLPH April 7 at Presentation College, San Fernando. She told of how she received the news, her reaction, and her forgiveness to the perpetrators.

“Up to now I haven’t found out who do it and I just, when that happened to me, I just thought of Jesus and what He went through and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is what my pain teaches me’. I re-enacted what Jesus went through, and I accepted it. I said God allowed it, so I have to accept it, I have to forgive my enemies, Jerome’s enemies, whoever did it to him and his cousin.”

The experience reinforced how important her faith is. She said she united her grief to Jesus’ suffering, for the conversion of sinners and reparation of sin.