Posted January 13, 2010 in MH Carriacou, Grenada:
Mama Sheila

by Emmanuella Kim.

Staff worker Genevieve Enoe has for the last several years been taking care of her mother, Mama Sheila, on Carriacou, a tiny island in the West Indies. Recently, Emmanuella Kim of MH Vancouver, visited her.

I love Mama Sheila so; I think she also loves me. Mama Sheila was my hero for the whole trip—even though she corrected me so many times for my bad posture. Even though she was saying to me, "put your feet on the ground, not on the chair," my love for her grew and grew.

Mama Sheila is 94 years old. Her memory is failing, and her body is so thin and tiny. She needs help walking because she can’t stand straight up, also for lying down, changing clothing, eating, etc. She doesn’t speak much except for prayers and singing and, of course, calling Genevieve.

After five years living in the new house which Genevieve’s brother built for her, Mama Sheila doesn’t recognize it as her house. She wants to go to her home where her Mama Rose was.

Genevieve and her mother have a prayer routine of the day, like Madonna House: morning prayer, rosary in the evening, and night prayer. Mama Sheila has a hard time eating—she doesn’t like to eat—but she never refuses saying prayers.

Whenever we prayed in the morning, she and Genevieve consecrated themselves to God for the pope and the Church. Mama Sheila doesn’t just remember all the prayers, but she really means them. When she says "particularly for the pope," her eyes open wide and she speaks very clearly. When she prays the rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet, she really prays.

That makes me think she is holding up the Church and pope. I could see that in Aunt Mina (92 years old) and Aunt Dorothy (in her 80s) who are sisters of Mama Sheila, and Vivian, Rose Hall, Lorna Samuel and all those people from the villages there. They consecrate themselves every day and do whatever they can.

I was kind of ashamed when I found out that in my subconscious I thought that we who live in a big city or who have consecrated our lives to God like Madonna House, are the center of the Church, but it is not true. We are one small part of it.

Mama Sheila loves singing. Whenever she saw me, she moved her body for dancing and singing her favorite song, "Jesus is the life-line. Tell him what you want," and smiled. I am not a good singer at all, but I tried to sing with her and moved my body a bit.

Living with Genevieve was a blessing for me as well. Her gentleness and thoughtfulness to her mother as well as to all her cousins (it seemed like all the people there are her cousins or somehow related to her) impressed me so much.

Swanie (Genevieve’s other name, which I like) works for the parish, Sts. Peter and Paul, which currently lacks a parish priest. Fortunately they have a deacon just for now, so it helps, but there are still so many things she has to do—preparing the Sunday liturgy, organizing activities in the church, giving religious instruction, etc.

And it seemed like whenever something happened to someone in the village, they called Genevieve to get help or advice.

One day there was screaming from someone’s house, so someone called her to go and help them. Then later on someone else called and told her about a struggle between neighbors.

Genevieve lives the same way as people there, so she is much hidden, but her life is a hidden light for them.

I saved my big lesson as the last thing to share with you. It’s a short prayer, "Papa God and Mama Mary." Whenever Mama Sheila needs help she says that, and it has stayed with me. It is a very simple and childlike prayer I can say. So I am trying to pray that and am also trying to be a little child of God like Mama Sheila.


If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!


Restoration Contents

Next article:
The Fork in the Road

Previous article:
I Was Almost a Pagan



RSS 2.0RSS feed

Madonna House - A Training Centre for the Lay Apostolate