Next door Nana

Today we will lay Next door Nana to rest. She was 97 years old and a story book grandma – petite in build, silver hair, alert eyes and a slightly mischievous smile.

You could always see her at the big bay window … her face pressed against the pane as she looked out and waved at passers by.  She had her meals at a table at that window – and the ‘walkers’ would pause to exchange a greeting.

Sometimes she would venture out to get ‘up close and personal’ :)

I think I first met her on one such occasion when, bored with standing there, she came to my doorway, curious to see what her neighbour was up to.

I was just about to invite her in when the helper appeared, alarmed that ‘nona’ (Sinhalese for Lady) had wandered over.  Assuring them I would take her back, I invited her in to watch me working in the garden.  I think she enjoyed the break.

It was the beginning of a few such encounters in the early years. She would wander over to keep me company whilst I did my chores.  I would put some music on and she would sit watching me or walk around around till it was time for lunch or someone came to fetch her.

The ‘someone’ was one of the many helpers hired by her daughter in Australia who maintained a home here for her mother.  When she started getting on in age, Rosemarie and son-in law Mike would take turns – one spending time here with the other remaining in Sydney with their children and grandchildren.  They would then ‘switch’ – meeting up either either country so they could be together a week or two before exchanging locations.  I have never seen such commitment from a daughter – or for that matter a son-in-law,  for Mike took on the role of the son that Nana lost at an early age.

When Mike passed on unexpectedly about five years ago, there was no one to ‘switch’ with Rosemarie.   Nana had longer spells of being alone.   But despite the financial toll, and pain of separation from her grand-children, Rosemarie would make two or three trips a year to be with her Mum (- all because the Australian government just did not have the humanity in them to allow Nana to join her daughter.  Incredibly, they did not even grant her a holiday visa – such is the ‘heart’ of a big nation.)

Rosemarie was due on 20th November to spend Christmas with her Mum who had been in reasonably good health when she was here in August.   Nana had fallen a couple of times but had recovered. She was not on any medication when Rosemarie planned to spend Christmas with her mum.

Sadly, Nana took ill unexpectedly on Tuesday.  She joined her Maker early on Wednesday morning.

By the grace of God,  something nudged me to drop in on Monday.  Nana was watching TV. She had developed a fever and was looking a bit under the weather.  At lunch time , we assisted her to the dining table. Impulsively, I took a selfie Next door Nana

Again, something,  I know not what, made me inform our priest that he should visit soon.  House visitations are normally on Fridays but again providentially he said he would drop in next morning.

When I went in to wait for him, Nana’s fever had unexpectedly taken a turn for the worse.  I held her hand and sang to her, hymns of comfort and the Our Father.  She smiled once at something in the distance and I thought she was slipping away but she continued to hold my hand.  My sister joined me.  Our priest Fr. Anton Saman annointed her and gave her Holy Communion.

The Doctors visited but she did was too week to respond to medication. She was reunited with her Creator later that night.  A peaceful, serene death with no suffering nor pain except slight difficulty in breathing.  A grace-filled death for a graceful lady.

I am thankful for the mercy that sent me there, to allow me to get the priest and comfort her in some small way though I am sad circumstances did not permit me to be with her in her final hours.

But I will cherish the time we spent together and the memories of a lively, lovely gentle lady who was alert enough to occasionally come up with the unexpected.

I had the habit of dropping in ‘garage to garage‘ a couple of times for a quick hello and she would offer me a cup of tea or persuade me to join her for  lunch.   One day, I said I would have to be quick as I had not locked up.   After that, she would check with me if anyone was  home or if I had locked up.  I rarely did as these were impromptu visits so I would sit at her seat by the window and keep watch on the street whilst she sat across from me :)

She also always inquired about my mum – whether she was staying with me or my sister, and on at least two occasions berated me for parking my car on the road with a curious ‘Why don’t you put it in the garage?’  

That’s a good question Nana.  Why don’t I?  I said I would,  but truth is, I need to get my garage door fixed!

When I used to take her to church (a couple of years back), she would always want the page turned and attempt to sing and follow the service  – or ‘pretend’ the way little children do:)   They,  the children just adored this picture book grandma.

Sadly she will not be around  for them or for the passers by on Lake Road.  It will take some time to get used to not an empty window at 329/124.  But the big bay window will be a reminder to all that there once  was a little lady who, as our priest said, stood there and gave everyone what she could:  a cheery smile and a wave that brought joy to all.

Rest in eternal joy with your Maker, sweet and gentle lady.

Note:   This post was begun on 7th November but I had another bereavement in the family … a beloved Uncle who was the same age 96!  Its been a melancholy two weeks with the loss of two wonderful nonagenarians – a gracious lady and a true gentleman and scholar about whom I can write volumes.  Maybe soon… 

Creative Disposal!

I was intrigued by Jithin’s  picture of items dumped in crevices in the wall and kept my eyes open for any such handy storage units in my area.

I got lucky.  This wall had a bottle dumped in almost every ‘weep hole’ ie.  holes to allow rain water to escape.  I could not get a shot of the whole wall, nor is it as colourful as Jithin’s  but these tell the story of handy disposal :)

Can I draw a conclusion that this ‘creativity’ (or laziness ?) is unique to the Indian sub continent?

Miss Ladybird …

Miss Ladybird

Sweet Camouflage

In response to Jithin’s MMC post  of things ‘underfoot’.

A real live occupant of the grass Image result for emoticon smiley faces Only the little red dot gives notice of her presence scurrying amongst the leaves.

Sadly she is fast becoming a rarity in my area.

Communion for the Divorced … how would my Lord answer?

I was really taken aback to read that Archbishop Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference,had stated that they do not support the notion of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to the Eucharist.”

Yes I know .. this has been one of the hot topics of debate at the Synod,  and I know the traditionalists are all out to uphold the existing church teaching, but I just could not believe that they can make statements like the following :

“People can participate in different forms and bear witness to the hardships of family life.” Gadecki added that remarried divorcees had the “right to participate” in the life of the Church without receiving the Eucharist.”

Questions run through my mind:

  • Are we failing to practice the precept to ‘forgive seventy times seven’ the mistakes that people make.
  • Are we at odds with our mission to “set the captives free” – set free those who have been bound by human weakness
  • Does ‘if your eye offends you pluck it out’ have any application to marriages that are a source of un-grace that these the divorced and re-married may have moved away from (in at least some instances)
  • All these doctrines written on Phylactories appear to be alien to the precept that ‘salvation of souls is the supreme law’. 
  • In trying to uphold the sacrament of marriage, aren’t we guilty of withholding from persons the primordial sacrament, of Jesus in the Eucharist?

I was reminded of a reflection I had written some time ago on withholding the Sacrament from children …

How would my Lord Answer?

We say that we are receiving the Body of our Lord.
That we receive his Real Presence at the table of the Eucharist.  
Can someone tell me why then do we exclude little children from the banquet?

I know what the Church teaches …
That we are receiving the Body of Christ;
That children should understand what they are doing …
That they should have respect for “the host”
That they may not understand,
That they may desecrate “it”.
Spit it out.

When Adults with full knowledge
deliberately and maliciously spat on him, He spoke …
“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Would not these words extend to innocence of childhood?
And yet we hold their lack of knowledge against them.

I ask myself are adults, any better than children?
Can we really, give due respect to the Body of Christ –
… respect that is worthy of our Lord? 
Are children not more innocent than we are?
Can I ever receive the Blessed Sacrament in a worthy manner?

If I cannot, how can I withhold the Sacrament from the innocent?

I reflect that we feed our children, sometimes force feed them,
food for physical nourishment when they are young.
Even though they may not know what it is they drink or eat
We still ensure that they get their daily diet. .

Why then do we not give them spiritual nourishment
in the same manner …
but wait until we have “prepared” them
to receive the Lord?
Why do we not “share” our Lord with them at the banquet?
Do you know why?

I know many of the answers that I will be given
Church teaching, catechetical instruction,
But I am not convinced and I still ask for explanation.

If my Lord were here in human form right now I know
I would rush with all my nieces and nephews
To place them in His arms
Without waiting till they are prepared to “receive Him”
For IT IS HE WHO RECEIVES THEM !!!  welcomes them, embraces them.

But at the Eucharistic table I “shoo” them away,
For they are not yet “ready”; they have to be prepared
To receive the Lord “worthily”
When it is really He and only He
Who can make us worthy of Him.

So I ask myself … If my Lord was standing beside me
At the Eucharistic table and I asked him
“Shall I give Thee to these little children?”
What would His answer be?

Today, if my Lord were standing in front of me, I would point to the latest Report on the Synod and ask him again … “My Lord … can we give thee to Divorced and re-married people.”

I think I know how my Lord would react. I think I would see him bend down and write in the sand.

John 8:6

Credit picture :

Marriage, Divorce, and Church Annulments

With so much debate on marriage and annulment at the Synod on the Family, I wish to share my Thesis completed for my degree in Theology.

MATRIMONIAL CONSENT:  Analysis and Practical Applications of Canon 1095 

Canon 1095 is the Church law that ‘permits‘ annulment.  The interpretation and application of this Canon is at the core of the debate on divorce and annulment.

I did not realise what a hot topic this would become when I decided on it in 2011 because I could not understand or agree fully with the Church’s stance.

By the time I completed my research,  I appreciated the wisdom of Canon 1095 and the real ‘nature of consent.’  I understood there is a big difference between:

Matrimonium in fieri  (marriage in becoming)  – the act of creating a marriage  and

Matrimonium in facto esse (marriage in its actual existence)  i.e. what the exchange of vows creates: the abiding state of marriage.

Marriage is indeed sacramental – and the church needs to be sacramental in its approach to marriage, as well as to failed marriages – in short, TO LIFE.

The manner in which, not just jurisprudence, but the entire church responds to Canon 1095 will be the touchstone of the Christian commitment to marriage …  and by extension the mirror of the state of the sacramental Church  (concluding comment on Thesis).      

I post here the research that took me from the contentious Preamble and questions below to my conclusion above  with a prayer that the deliberations of the present Synod  will lead to a more sacramental Church.

Thesis proposal


Biblical basis for church doctrine on marriage:

  • What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
  • Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.

They say “Marriages are made in heaven”.  If this is correct, why do marriages fail?

Reality of failed marriages

We cannot avoid the reality that despite every effort and good will to the contrary, some marriages are just not meant to be and end up in (civil) divorce.

What is the status of these marriages?

The ecclesiastical position on these is ambivalent, even discordant because EITHER

  1. you are unbinding that which is bound in heaven,  if you grant divorce
  2. Or , by not granting a divorce, you are (continuing) to keep bound on earth what is not to be bound in heaven – by refusing to unbind what has already come apart – in truth, in fact, and in reality.  Where the ‘sacrament’ you are upholding is no longer a sacrament or a ‘source of grace” but even perhaps of un-grace or disgrace.
    • Refusal or failure to accept our humanity and that not everything that man proposes, including a particular marriage, is within God’s plan for
    • If it is God’s work nothing can stop it,
    • Unless the builder builds, the labourer toils in vain.

Thus, I question:

  1. Could it be that you are binding on earth what heaven does not want bound? (Or what has already been loosed in heaven according to the Divine Plan?)
  2. Are we failing to practice the precept to ‘forgive seventy times seven’ the mistakes that people make.
  3. Are we at odds with our mission to “set the captives free” – set free those who have been bound due to their humanity, weakness and sin.
  4. Does ‘if your eye offends you pluck it out’ or your .. causes you to sin have any application to marriages that are a source of un-grace.
  5. By not forgiving and releasing people from failed marriages and by trying to maintain at any cost the marriage ‘sacrament’, we are withholding from them the primordial sacrament, Jesus and the Eucharist. This appears to contrary to the precept the that ‘salvation of souls is the Supreme law’.
  6. It also devalues the witnessing nature of a sacrament when people divorce and remarry under civil law , blatantly ignoring (being forced to ignore) to ignore the dysfunctional ‘sacramental bond’. (How many civil divorces have been sacramentally unbound/)

There seems to be a lacuna in Canon Law from point of view of faithful/laity.

I would like to study the church’s position on above in an attitude of ‘faith seeking understanding’.


Does Canon 1095 solve the problem of divorce in the Church? 

Can it allay the doubts in minds of the laity?   (C 1095 comes to conclusion that average person is incapable of valid marriage?) .


  1. Role of ‘true’ consensus.
  2. Role of Psychological factors.
  3. Spiritual Factor – There is no mention of spiritual factors /spiritual maturity in the Canon .. ?? Wording appears juridical and earth-bound. Though spiritual goal must be implicit, wording appears bent towards temporal ?
    • Role of spirituality
    • Augustine –“ let me know myself that I might know you”  (and your will and plan)
    • “For in this lay my sin – that I sought pleasures and honours and truths in his creatures rather than in him – in myself and the rest – and so fell headlong into sorrows , troubles and errors.” (Confessions )

I would like to test my assumptions with some case studies on the feelings of the laity who have

  • Obtained civil divorce and church nullity
  • Obtained civil divorce and been refused church nullity, if any.
  • Obtained civil divorce but not requested church nullity

to analyse the true role of the three factors pertinent to Canon 1095 in the break-down of marriages and presenting a lay, experiential perspective.

Spin off benefit – Suggestions for Pastoral Preparation for Marriage Under Canon.


The above proposal having been approved I completed my Thesis under our Professor of Canon Law.

The Thesis will be shared as soon as I have removed extraneous footnotes to make for easy reading.

Vatican II, Synod on the Family … two Popes

And Guadium et Spes  or The Church in the Modern World. (document of Vatican II).  

Three months after his election,  Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli,  the new Pope John XXIII surprised the world by convoking the Second Vatican Council.

There had not been a Council in nearly 100 years … and this was to be an Ecumenical Council with  the Bishops of the universal church in attendance, not just European and Italian prelates.

His famous words open these windows and let the fresh air in’,  were a prelude to the historic event that has been  pivotal for the Catholic Church.

Opening the windows would no doubt raise the dust of centuries that had settled on the Church. There was, as can be expected, opposition and prophets of doom!

Prophets of Doom

Despite all naysayers, this great visionary inspired the Universal Church to reflect on how she could build and strengthen the faith in the cultural changes following two World Wars. The Council Fathers were inspired by two principles:

aggiornamento (Italian for “updating”) and ressourcement (French for “going back to the sources”).   So the reforms either returned to more ancient practices or took on modern practices and approaches.

The deep introspection and sharing that was the spirit of Vatican II, led to many changes in religious practices so that the light of Christ could shine out visibly.  The pot in which the seed of faith had been transplanted from Rome to distant lands was broken so that the seed could germinate, be in-culturated in,  and draw its nourishment from the local soil

In essence, St. John XXIII believed in the sacramental nature of the church as a sign and instrument of communion with God and unity amongst all men.

It is the same spirit and belief which our beloved Pope Francis carries vocally and visibly in his core message :

“The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. … And you have to start from the ground up “

I pray that the Spirit that led to the convening of this Synod, and the declaration of a Year of Mercy, will continue to guide all Bishops in their decisions.

On this October 11 anniversary of the commencement of the Council, also declared as the Feast of St. John XXIII,  I wish to honour his memory by recalling his words as he lay dying on his bed in May 1963 :

Today more than ever, we are called to serve mankind as such, and not merely Catholics; to defend above all and everywhere, the rights of the human person and not merely those of the Catholic Church…’

‘It is not that the Gospel has changed: it is that we have begun to understand it better … the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead. “

Thank you beloved Papa John XXIII  for giving us Vatican II   … and thank you Papa Francesco for the Synod on the Family.  May the Spirit continue to lead you in steering  the barque of the Church into Kingdom waters.

Opening - Synod on the Family 

Synod on the Family, Rome October, 2015.  Source :

Praydreaming about patience!

Came across a new word  “Praydream” *  i.e.  prayerfully day dream in a short and helpful flip book titled  “Naming the Grace“.

I praydream about the joyful moments when I meet the challenges of life in a grace filled way  – with courage, patience, kindness, concern, wisdom, justice, gentleness, understanding  …. LOVE.

Our Lord did say .. ‘seek and you will find‘   and what you ask will be given to you if it is for your good.

Just for today then I seek patience, understanding and wisdom in my responses to the things that irritate me.  It is definitely not good for someone seeking spiritual maturity to be so short on patience :)

God please grant me

** Flip book Naming the Grace @

Life with a Twin

Celebrating our special day, it is nice to reflect on the good, the bad and the fun part of living with a twin.

Finally I ‘get it’.

“Keep your things to yourself”.   A firm ‘in control’ voice interrupts my reading on the sofa.

I look up.  Drama Queen is holding my wavy metal Alice Band outstretched in her hand and drops it on the sofa next to me.

“Where was it?”  (me, nonchalantly)

“On the ground next to the bed!”  (You know the way that’s said right?  !!)

“Aaah … must have fallen off when I slept”.   (still trying to be non-chalant)

No response.  She has gone back to her room.  I turn back to my book.  Then stop.  Did it fall off or did I take it off? Cannot really remember but either way, I am supposed to “keep my things to myself.”

I look up to think about that one and see things scattered all over the ground in the lobby in front of me.  Computer cases, cables, magazines, newspapers, dustbins.  A pink dustbin brush grins at me.  I am sure if I go to the bedroom the hair band will be the smallest thing on the floor. I look at the pink dustbin brush again grinning that he/she has all the right to sit on the middle of the floor with all the other things.    My hair band can’t.  I grin back :)

Suddenly I burst out laughing.  I just got it!!

All my stuff is supposed to sit neatly or otherwise, packed into one place.  All the other space around the house that I walk around in … that I move and ‘be’ in is only for that.  To walk around etc.  The house does not belong to me and I can’t mess it up like I would do in my house :(


It will save me stress and it will save her stress.

So until I complete my repairs and move back home, all I’ve got to do is just remember to be more methodical.  And pigs will fly but at least let’s try !!

So Let’s rap to the future… 

Alice Band

The errant Alice Band !

I found your hair-band on my bedroom floor

Evidence that you’ve been here before

And soon I won’t get waves of missing you anymore

You are like a Tsunami tide at my door!!!

(Ed Sheeran modified!)

Now for the other side of the coin  :)


My sister is the sweetest thing

You ever did see

She rants and raves and scolds and yells

But a tender heart has she.

She noticed that I was having

A problem with my pills

Keeping them in one place being

An added stress to my ills

So when she saw a pillbox neat

She put it in her cart

‘At least this may help my sis’ she thought

‘Take care of her weak heart!!!’


Happy twin

Once upon a time ….

In a little pearl shaped island called  Serendipity far, far, away in the Indian Ocean  – there lived a beautiful young lady who was so accomplished in sports that she was the talk of the town.  People would come from miles around to see her breaking records and winning trophies.

Now at the same time there lived a handsome young man with a charming smile and an even more charming manner who was so popular that he was asked to be Master of Ceremonies for many lavish celebrations.

It so happened that one fine night the young lady too was invited to one of these fairy tale celebrations.  The moment the young man saw her dancing, he was so enthralled with her that he left his duties of EMCEE to dance with her all night.

The Story begins here

That is the beginning of Our Story.

Very soon the young man and the young lady got married and very soon after that the young lady had some good news for her young husband. They were both over-joyed and made all preparations to welcome a new little baby.

Mum and Dad wedding 2           Mum and Dad

When the big day arrived, the young man could not stop pacing the floor. He was worried for his wife but also thinking of all the wonderful things he would do with his little baby.  As he was pacing the floor in the hospital, the doctors came out and gave him the news that men all over the world hear every day –  but it was the very first time that he was hearing it. He was now a Daddy to a little girl. He was overjoyed.  But the doctor continued speaking in a sombre voice.

The young man’s heart skipped a beat.  Through a haze he heard words like premature babies and simultaneous heart beats  … and then the incredible  “there is another baby on the way!”  Imagine the young man’s joy. Two instead of one!!   His first crazy thought was that he has to buy a second crib.  Without stopping for a moment he rushed out of the hospital to purchase one.

The little ones could not however use the cribs immediately. They were both so very tiny – 2 ½ pounds and 3 pounds – that they had to remain in hospital for some time.

But when they were finally brought home,  what a celebration there was.  The young man and the young woman decided the first one must have a gypsy heart – for she was so eager to travel from the comfort of the womb to the world outside – so they called her Romany which means gypsy. The second one looked less robust – fragile like the petals of a rose so they called her Rosanne.

Being devout Catholics they also chose a saint’s name for their little girls.  The first born was named after St. Francis – a name also shared by both parents, whilst they chose ‘Therese (whose feast is on October 3rd) for the other little girl. .

And so it was that Gypsy Romany and Rambling Rose entered the world 61 years ago today.

How they have spent these years is a story for another day.  For the present we celebrate their lives and the many graces showered on them :)

Celebration time !

Romany (pink) and Rosanne  – taken June 2015  in Prague