Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Bronte Family

Having just posted about the suffering in families we found ourselves at the Parsonage Museum, Haworth contemplating information about the Bronte family.
In 1812 Patrick Bronte, married Maria Branwell. They had 6 children and in 1820 he was given the the curacy of Haworth Parish Church. A year later Maria died from uterine cancer, aged 38. Her sister came to live at the Parsonage to care for the children.
In May 1825 Maria, their eldest child, died of tuberculosis, aged 12 and in the following month Elizabeth died aged 11.
Branwell Bronte, the only son died in 1848, aged 31. He had lived with an alcohol and opium addiction.'I do not weep from a sense of bereavement,' Charlotte wrote about him, 'but for the wreck of talent, the ruin of promise, the untimely dreary extinction of what might have been a burning and a shining light.'
Three months later, Emily died, aged 30. The following year Anne died, aged 29
Charlotte married in 1854 and died in March 1855, aged 38, pregnant with her first child.
Patrick died in 1861, aged 84. He had outlived his wife and all of his children - a lifetime of personal tragedy. 
Charlotte, Emily and Anne have all written literary maserpieces although they published under pseudonyms. Branwell had once been a promising artist. So much sadness to bear and yet by the standards of the day they they lived longer than many others and their names live on because of what they managed to do and how they lived as a family, even for the short time they had each other. In the words of Charlotte, "But life is a battle: may we all be enabled to fight it well!"

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Families suffer

By virtue of being a family we are opened up and exposed  to all manner of pain, grief, and fear. In a different way to those who are single, married people with children generally fear for others. God tests us as we become involved with one another, share responsibilities with one another and on many occasions feel helpless for one another. Watching children make choices can  be difficult. Even with faith, watching one's children or one's spouse suffer or die must be traumatic.  Having a family is leaving oneself open to suffering and as Catholic families our refuge must be the Lord.
Let us pray for all our families experiencing the loss of a loved one, serious illness among its members, difficulties with children, loss of work or financial worries.
As a guild we pray for one another and help one another practically and emotionally. Boy, do we sometimes need it!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Pause for Death

I haven't posted for 3 weeks due to the death of my mother. A pause for death so to speak. And after all that's what death is, not an end or a beginning but a pause, a transition from one state to another. Our lives are gifted by God, we make of them what we can and then we return to God. And, as my mother discovered, the timing is willed by Him. For a few years of very poor health and any obvious quality of life she often wondered why 'God did not want her yet.' To those who knew her she certainly seemed to be living her purgatory before our eyes. Her husband of 67 years constantly cared for her. As a non Catholic he had accompanied her faithfully to Church every Sunday and holy day since their marriage and my guess is that my mother's prolongued illness and the sacrifice it required from my father will in some mysterious way help him when he faces his Maker. God bless him and may my mother rest in peace. Let us pray for the sick and dying and those who care for them.