Returning full circle to the Mother

I was born into a very traditional Catholic family. Every night, at eight o’clock sharp, was Rosary and we had to kneel throughout the devotion. As a child, I could sing most Marian hymns by heart.

Jan 28, 2022

By Bridget Antoinette Pereira

I was born into a very traditional Catholic family. Every night, at eight o’clock sharp, was Rosary and we had to kneel throughout the devotion. As a child, I could sing most Marian hymns by heart.

I look back and I recall that even as a child, I was always drawn to the Church. I wanted to serve and was always looking for opportunities that arose and growing up in a strict household did not help much. I had to finish my schooling before I could join any ministry in the Church.

When I was 16, I remember asking if I could do the reading in church one Sunday because it was my father’s death anniversary. Mum was not very happy but couldn’t say no. I know it was naughty of me to use emotions to my benefit, but I was yearning to serve the Lord and once I had my foot in, there was no turning back. I went to a missionary school and was so happy that Bible Knowledge was offered as a subject and Christian Union as a society that I could be a part of. Through this I believe my love for my Saviour grew.

My journey home from school was my best time because I could spend time in a quiet conversation with my Lord, telling Him of my day, my struggles, and joys. This, I still do, even to this day.

In church, I was part of the lectors and was actively involved in the choir. There was always something I was a part of. In my early twenties, I was groomed by some seniors to be a leader. They saw potential perhaps or just a girl who had a deep relationship with God and wanted to serve Him and Him only. Back then, women leaders were unheard of and there were quite a few who could not handle leadership by a young woman and chose to walk away.

For a while I thought my calling was to join the religious life. I even approached a convent and inquired. The then Mother Superior, who was also a family friend, advised me to go live life and fall in love. As church was a major part of my life, one very important criteria that I insisted upon for my life partner was that he be equally active in church and understanding that nothing would come between me and my God.

I don’t think my husband knew what he was agreeing to or what he had signed up for, for life, as my church activities and ministry continued even after I was married (as if I was still unmarried).

My husband was left alone many a time to look after the kids when they were small, as I had to attend meetings or camps, busy building BEC or totally focused on my Church work. It was not easy because I was devoted to my kids and sometimes felt guilty about “abandoning” them at home, but at the same time, my ultimate thought was God first. Being a working mum did not help the situation much either.

As we built our family, we moved away and for a while were like nomads because the church in Puchong was not completed. Since our children were small, we could go anywhere for Mass. I was glad for the opportunity to visit different churches, but I could feel an emptiness in me that was unexplainable. I would go for evening walks in our neighbourhood and keep an eye out for Catholic homes, always identifiable by the crucifix or a holy picture. I made friends and, slowly, with the help of the parish priest, formed the BEC.

Despite having said the Rosary daily as a child, I must say my devotion to Mama Mary was lacking oomph. I would have daily conversations with my Lord but strayed away from His beloved Mother. However, God’s plan is by far the greatest, for the parish I now belong to is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I could run but I couldn’t hide, it seems.

During the pandemic, I learnt how to make wirework jewellery and soon it became a business venture. I was asked many a time if I made rosaries and I thought to myself, ‘why not learn it?’ Again, I felt this was the Lord’s calling to be devoted to His beloved Mother. The request for my special, precious crystal rosaries was overwhelming. Half my life, although committed to serving the Lord, was spent running away from a devotion held so dear by many. It is now clear that I could not just choose to love the Son without loving His beloved Mother. She is our heavenly Mother too and has waited long for this child to return to her bosom.

(Bridget Antoinette Pereira mother of two, works full time at a European embassy. She is also a part time jewellery maker and baker. Despite her many commitments, she still manages to find the time to be active in church – teaching Bible Knowledge, Confirmation Class and is the PCC coordinator of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puchong.)

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