Lima Life #7: “All of My Children are Dead”

Hello from Peru!

I want you all to know that I was well, physically speaking (still not sure about the ol’ brain), all week! How wonderful. Sunday we went to Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Lima, celebrated by His Eminence Juan Luis Cipriani, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Lima.

On Saturday, we said goodbye to one of the other Mundelein seminarians studying here with us. His host mother was kind enough to invite us over for a bit of a goodbye dinner. She informed us that one her friends who is “muy, muy, muy” Catholic would be stopping by to meet the famous “padrecitos”. This woman did come by and was so funny to meet and chat with. She spoke very good English which made the conversation very natural.

One thing led to another, and she began to tell us about her family. She said, “I have had five children. All five of them died….all of my children are dead.” She told us what their names were and when and how they died. She was strong and rooted in faith, but still full of anguish as she recalled, maybe for the thousandth time, the loss of each of her children.

Then she said something that struck me very profoundly. She asked, “What was Mary’s greatest moment of sorrow?” Our minds all turned to the moment of the crucifixion, Mary seeing Jesus die. Our friend said, “No. Look at the pieta. That is the moment of Mary’s greatest sorrow…holding her dead child in her arms knowing there’s nothing she could have done.”

Then she said this: “I consider it my greatest honor to be able to participate in this sorrow of the Blessed Mother.” 

I couldn’t believe it. Here is a woman who has experienced so much pain and considers it and honor to share in the greatest sorrow of Mary, uniting her suffering totally to Jesus. So, so moving.

I’ll leave for you the great blog of my friend, Lizzie, who you might remember from an earlier post. She’s just posted about something very relevant to this woman: the human’s yearning for eternity. We’re not made for this world. Let’s unite ourselves to the suffering Christ and to our suffering Mother who leads us to Jesus.

2 more weeks to go!

In Christ,
RA