A Woman’s Right to Choose

One particular person I admire, who is dear to my heart, and remains on my mind every time I pray, is my great grandmother. Nan Uí Bhriain – everyone called her Nan O’Brien – yet she faithfully wrote the full form of her name.

She gave birth to six children, my grandmother was the second; she struggled to carry many children to full term, and so many passed on within the womb. She was a remarkable woman so I’m told. I never did meet her, yet her legacy lives on like a river that never dries up. She died when my own ‘Nan’ was 15. My great-grandfather was stricken with grief from that day on, unable to cope with her loss. He turned to alcohol often, but more often relied on my grandmother – now the oldest; my uncle (the firstborn) had drowned in a boating accident, which added to their collective grief.

But ‘Nan O’Brien’ was a force from God. While her husband worked, she also worked – along with raising a family, she was the housekeeper for the rectory and its four priests. She met many throughout her life, one whose cause for canonisation is at the diocesan level and remains an unofficial patron of the town she loved and lived in. She taught her children that love was an unconditional thing, and that anyone you met was subject to it. I know this is true because of how my own dear nan responds to the people around her: she brings food to her sick friends, and she admonishes those she knows who have gone wrong or members of our family who have made great mistakes, yet she always tells them she loves them. I think whoever meets her confrontation knows her forgiveness is at the end of the tunnel, because she forgives all of her friends, all of our family.

Is that a perfect family? Of course not! Besides the Holy Family, no family is perfect. My grandmother has told me of many lessons she learned in her life, and one of those was about life and forgiveness. Broad topics, eh?

One night as my grandmother lay in bed, her mother came trotting home from her friend’s house. She burst through the bottom door crying, weeping, screeching for her husband. About ten minutes later, after he asked her what’s wrong, he apparently ran outside and cried on the bank behind the house. Half an hour later, everyone was asleep.

Nine months later, my grandmother had a new younger sister.

My dear readers, I confide in you: the dear public, a lesson. That night when love wept, a woman was taken by another’s husband. By force, not by choice. My great-grandmother was raped, and she conceived of a child.

The night of tears wasn’t an ordeal. It was a moment: reality came to light, human vengeance perished, and love overcame all.

My grandmother told me about this after we watched a programme about abortion. Nan always wore her faith on her sleeve. Someone in my family was conceived in an unorthodox way, yet lives today as a mother and wife, an aunt and friend herself.

Abortion is murder.

Humour of Politics

I don’t spend much time (what relatively little there’s been so far) on this blog commenting about political issues. I don’t refrain for any reason because most times I do have a lot to say, but it’s very much a topic I talk about in my daily life. Sometimes I like a break.

I hope you wouldn’t mind if I remarked something one might find controversial, but I find a bit funny. On the radio and on the evening news you’ll often see interviewed, young, University-aged students about their opinions on what this and that, he and she are doing at Parliament and so on. Most times they’ll have one of these very profound, knowledgeable faces and points of criticism when they talk about certain aspects of our grand legislature.

Yet when they’re asked about voting, a good few make it clear that they “did not vote” in the last election, but they aren’t happy with the (insert name of a member of the Parliament.)

Neglecting to vote is excluding yourself from the democratic process, and that is a somewhat fair thing to say.

I understand that perhaps, it would do moral harm to cast your vote when the only options are for those who promote immoral viewpoints and behaviours; abortion or maybe an uncertain affiliation. I can’t imagine how unfair a situation like that would be, and in the end politics, while important, is not the main goal of my life and I wouldn’t think anyone else.

Render unto Caesar, that which belongs to Caesar; unto God what is God’s.

I think it’s important, as Catholics, to be uncompromising on the sanctity of life and the family. That is important in this day and age.