Storytelling at St. Basil’s Church

CONTRIBUTED BY ROSEMARY I. FERRER I’m no sage. I’m just an ordinary woman with eleven siblings- 6 boys and 5 girls. My parents were in their teens just after WW II when they had me. Every year they had a baby born into their relationship. That’s how I became the eldest of 12 children.

We’re poor in material things but not wanting anything. Our needs were met daily with my father’s meager income as a draftsman in a Shipyard company managed by the Americans. In the midst of our poverty, I remembered that faith as a Catholic family was particularly present in our daily routine. Church attendance on Sundays, on holy days like Christmas, Lent, Easter, during solemnities, First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devotion to our Mother of Perpetual Help and even on birthdays- the Eucharist or Mass in Latin were very much embedded in the family mosaic.

Being the eldest service was part of my childhood upbringing. I started to serve everyone. I assisted my mother and father in taking care of our growing family as early as five or six years of age – from washing and ironing clothes and diapers, waking up in the middle of the night to prepare baby formula, grocery shopping and to cooking all the family meals. Extended families, friends, neighbours even strangers who came to our house were also part of those whom service was rendered as I was growing up. Socially, our humble home always had visitors.
In all of these my faith developed with the people in the town where the Ferrer family name was known to be with dignity, respectable, trustworthy, honesty and most of all have deep belief in God.

More so, I’ve learned that faith has to be shared. Now at this time, my faith had another dimension with my students at St. Alphonsus’ Catholic School administered by the Benedictine Nuns and the Missionary of the Sacred Heart priests (M.S.C.) as a young teacher at twenty. They influenced my faith journey so beautifully that my faith had a face or faces. God became personal to me that I wanted to be one with Him. It was a yearning. I wasn’t aware of what went on in my life. I was restless. Restlessness came at peace when the congregation of the Good Shepherd Sisters became the answer to that longing for God for two years. God journeyed with me continuously.

He, who knows who I was and who I am kept me aware of the beauty of the soul of His creation. God’s ownership of my past, present and of my future was punctuated with an experience that only He could have planned. It was my motherhood to a 9 lbs -1 ounce baby boy in 1982. It was a beautiful experience. The Lord gifted me with a beautiful son later in my life. We were a team. The “mother and son” team during his early years in Toronto became a household name to those who knew us. In all our family activities most especially in our church ministries we journeyed together.

However, like everyone else, the dark nights of our faith came. Unexpectedly, I was sick with cancer my son was there for me as my strength, support- comforted and loved me only a mother could have needed while sick in bed. Our faith did not waver. God did not abandon us.

When Fr. Chris challenged us on how we move on after the resurrection…I moved on –thus, St. Basil became a “Home to move into.” That is spiritually speaking! Praise God!