|Philomena, became Sr Barthalomea|
P – is for Philomena, my eldest sister, who joined the convent at a very early age, while I was still in primary school and died of jaundice at the age of 26. This was first time I saw a death in our family, as a child.
It was a great loss and a very difficult phase for my parents, who could not get over their sorrow of losing their daughter for years. I grew up watching both of them crying silently for my sister, who was no more, they tried to see her in every nun whom they met in the church or even on the road side, they entertained the sisters and coped with the loss, believing that she was found in every religious who came their way.
I saw my parents visiting her graveyard, and reading all the letters which she wrote to the family when she was in the convent. My mother preserved her clothes, her bible, and her letters that was written in Tamil till she recently passed away.
My parents were fond of Philomena as she was full of life, very responsible and mature for her age, being the second child among 9 children, she was more a companion to my mother, for she helped her in all the household work, and made sure that all her siblings did well in the school.
|Philomena with her Friend|
Philomena loved watching movies every week. She would accompany my dad for the movies. She was very particular about the home expenses and maintained the accounts very well. She always questioned my dad about the additional expenses and how he managed.
My parents never thought that she would join the convent, when she expressed her desired to join the convent and serve God. My parents could not understand, as she was so attached to family and would never miss a movie with my dad. My dad could not believe, and he wondered whether she will survive in the convent, with their strict rules and regulations.
My parents being God fearing did not object, as they felt that, this was a privilege to offer one child in service to God among the nine children. My dad could never understand her, he even questioned as to how she would live in the convent without watching movies and doing what she wants, as he knew that convent life was very tough. But she was very firm and full of confidence that she was called to serve.
Those days the convent life was very tough, she adjusted very well, while she was in the novitiate. She was named after one of the founders of the Sisters of Charity called Sr Bartholomew. Philomena was known for her simplicity and very friendly nature, she was committed to her call, and she was sent for Montessori training, and later on she taught in one of the schools in the city. My parents used to try to visit her in the city, but she used to be very frightened, and tell the family, that they should not come to visit her often, as it will disturb the other members in the community.
My parents would request her to at least come for a day on Christmas or New Year. The rules being too rigid, the sisters were not permitted to visit their families, except on important occasions, they were given permission for few hours to visit and get back to the convent.
|My mom,Philomena and my brothers-Raj & Francis|
She was in the convent upto the age of 26. She suffered from jaundice and was on treatment for many months, the sisters were taking care, trying to help her with different types of medicine. My parents were in a helpless condition because she was in the convent, they could not do much for her, and they came to know about her sickness, when it was very late, finally when my mother went to see her, she was shocked to see my sister very sick, frightened and depressed. My mother decided to take permission to take charge of her and hospitalize her for treatment, where my cousin was a nurse.
Sr Bartholomew was hospitalized for almost 6 months and was given allopathic treatment, there was no change, and it was a shock to my parents and also to us. She suffered long and finally, when she knew that her time had come, she called every brother and every sister in the family and made us sing songs for her.
When I sang a Telugu religious song, she wept and was full of appreciation, she kept praising about me to my mom. That very night she died at the age of 26 and my grand mother was shattered to see her go. My parents were heart broken, and could never forget her till the end of their life.
"Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery". --- F. Alexander Magoun
"I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss. --- Rita Mae Brown"
Today I'm on P of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.