What does God want me to do?

I copied this May 2, 2012 blog with comments from 2012! The last comment shows, that this pain was caused by arthritis! I still suffer from arthritis quite a lot.

May 2, 2012 

What does God want me to do?

Last Sunday at Mass I was confronted with the above question. As it happened it was a day when I was in quite a bit of physical pain. The pain didn’t start out to be really bad. I would be all right walking to church, so I thought. But far from it. After walking the distance, which took about twenty-five minutes, the pain was getting quite considerable. I arrived at the church at the last minute. But Father was still standing there shaking hands. He shook my hand too.

I happened to find a seat beside Sister Kevin. I greeted her and sat down. I told myself if I could just rest my knee and concentrate on my breathing, the pain would be bearable. I started reflecting on how God probably wanted to tell me something. Maybe God wanted me to make changes to my life as to correspond better with my aging body. What changes to my life should I make? What sort of changes did God actually want me to do?

I was very moved by the beautiful singing in the church. Both Fr Francis Tran and the Seminarian, Mr Stephen Varney, were singing Mass. Both have such beautiful voices! The church choir sang very well too. Stephen was given the homily that morning. He pointed out that for some people the Priesthood can offer a fulfilling way of life. They may think that it might be too hard to stick to being a priest. Even though for most people it is right to get married, you may think about it that it is also often not easy to stick to being husband and wife. It all depends on what God wants you to do, doesn’t it?

Monday has come and gone, so has Tuesday. Today is Wednesday and the pain is still there. I can cope with it as long as I don’t do too much! I cancelled the walks with my neighbour, Irene. I didn’t even go to the pool on Monday or to the Thai Yoga class on Tuesday. Peter could have driven me to the pool. But I declined.

When Peter suggested on Tuesday, the first of May, we could drive to Berry and then further on to Hampden Bridge, I joyfully agreed to this. We had a lovely day out. The weather was perfect for an outing. The good thing was, I didn’t have to walk much. Peter took lots of pictures. I took quite a few pictures too, some of them out of the window from the car.

This leads to Peter’s blog about our outing and another blog about his thoughts to the 1st of May:

At the moment I do not want to think about seeing the doctor or the dentist or the optometrist. Within the next couple of months I ought to see all these people. Just now I only want to rest and get better.

Peter looks over the coast south of Kiama

From there we drove on to Berry where we had some pies for lunch. We also bought some cake at the Milkwood Bakery. This is a newly opened bakery in Queen Street. They are a branch of the Berry Sourdough Cafe in Prince Alfred Street, which is famous for very good breakfasts.


These are some autumn leaves in Berry and the following picture shows a tree with autumn leaves in this particular street in Berry


This is where we turned off from Berry taking the Tourist Drive to Hampden Bridge


We saw some unusual cloud formations on the way. This was one of them.


This is part of the Kangaroo Valley Road


Further along the Tourist Road


A gate to a property along the Road

Nearly there at the Bridge
This sign tells us that there are wombats in the area
And this sign tells us our way back home

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Edit”What does God want me to do?”

Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyuta

PublishedMay 2, 2012

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21 thoughts on “What does God want me to do?”

  1. likeitizEditHello, Aunty Uta. Sad to hear you are in pain. Do you have arthritis? Or is this an old injury? I hope it’s been looked at and you are getting the right treatment for it.Reply
    1. auntyutaEditThanks for your concern, dear Mary-Ann. It’s not an old injury. It’s probably old age, don’t you think?Reply
      1. likeitiz EditSome mild discomfort and initial stiffness that gradually alleviates with increased movement is natural in aging but not the pain you described. I would recommend that you have it examined if it recurs or persists. It may be something that’s easily treated. The last thing you want is something that will restrict your mobility. This would be very detrimental to your continued well-being.
  2. auntyuta EditYou’re right, Mary-Ann. What you say makes a lot of sense to me. Actually Peter has to see his doctor for his annual check-up so he can keep his drivers’ license. In the past he liked to see his doctor at the Medical Centre Wednesday nights, when he was on night duty and there wasn’t a very long waiting time. We both tried to see this doctor last night. There were already ten people signed in waiting to see him. This would have meant a waiting time of more than two hours for us. After consultation with the receptionist we decided we would see the doctor early Friday morning, because on Thursday he’s not available. So I hope for the best now, that it can be easily treated.Reply
  3. berlioz1935Edit“What does God wants you to do?”How can an atheist, like me, answer this question? Philosophers, sages and other wise people have thought about this important question for centuries. It is practical the same as asking, “What is the meaning of (my) life?”Let’s assume that your implied assumption is right and there is a God. I think he does not want you to do anything other than to be. His purpose for you falls under the inscrutable. Who knows what God wants you to do? Even bad people have a mission given to them by God. Think of Judas. Without him Jesus could have escaped capture or not? Even Jesus wasn’t sure what was happening when he asked, “Why have you forsaken me?” He of all people should have known that was his purpose.To say your cross is your hurting knee, might be a bit harsh, but it is a reminder that our bodies are subject to decay and sickness; two other aspects of God’s plans for you.And what if we assume there is no God? You have to take responsible action and be happy with what you done. Try to be sure within yourself. Every action is the basis for the next action – cause and effect. Resting in the church was the right thing to do. Seeing a doctor will be the next right thing to do.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditThanks, Berlioz, for this comment. Of course I realise that seeing the doctor is going to be the next right thing to do. It looks I won’t be able to avoid it!Reply
  4. berlioz1935EditHaving the outing with you was the right thing to do. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the clouds in the sky were performing in an artful way.The bakery in Berry is a French bakery and it felt like a trip to the “Provence” in the Autumn.
    The cake was delicious and the bread wholesome.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditThe bit of “Provence” in Berry was indeed very welcome. I loved the whole outing. We are very blessed to live in such a beautiful area.Reply
  5. reflectionsofaprodigalsonEditHi Uta,I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing some pain and I hope that you find some comfort soon.However, it would appear that, in spite of your pain, you still managed to find some enjoyment. Perhaps there is a lesson for us in that ie even in our most difficult moments, we can still find joy in our lives.Get better soon,CarthageReply
    1. auntyuta EditHi Carthage,Oh yes, there’s a lot of enjoyment in life even in old age. Pain just tells me I have to change something. Maybe just slow down a bit more?
      Thank you very much for your good wishes. UtaReply
  6. WordsFallFromMyEyesEditLOVED LOVED LOVED your pictures, and very much envy you! An excellent blog, & very interesting. I am sorry you appear to be n pain & I hope things even out, work out.Sincerely, Noeleen 9859 0132Reply
    1. auntyutaEditThanks, Noeleen.Reply
      1. WordsFallFromMyEyes EditAunty Uta, I meant also to say that I think it’s great you do thai yoga & swimming. I think these things are perfect. I am genuinely sorry about your pain & I just don’t know what you can actually do, because I truly would have thought the swimming would do it. I truly hope you’re better at least today…And the pictures, sigh. Great camera! 
  7. auntyutaEditYou are right, Noeleen, thai yoga and swimming are perfect exercises for me or have been for as long as this arthritic pain didn’t overwhelm me. Yes, I found out now from the doctor that it has to do with arthritis. My knee was xrayed. So now I am on anti-imflammatory tablets.
    The doctor didn’t mention diet. Personally I think I ought to do some changes to my eating habits. Wish me luck with this, Noeleen!
    Thank you so much for thinking of me. I keep thinking about you a lot too!Reply
    1. auntyutaEditBy the way, Noeleen, if you would like to see some more of those pictures we took last Tuesday, please go to Peter’s blog. If you go to the end of my writing (before the pictures start) you’re going to find the link. I think you’ll be interested in browsing through Peter’s blog!Reply
      1. auntyuta EditActually Peter wrote about our excursion to Hampden Bridge in two parts. Both parts have some good photos in it.
    2. WordsFallFromMyEyesEditI do wish you luck, Aunty Uta, all all luck! YOU CAN DO IT!!Reply
      1. auntyuta EditYes, thank you, Noeleen
  8. eof737EditSending you healing light and love… the answers will come. 😉Reply
    1. auntyuta EditThanks for that, Eliz.Reply
  9. auntyuta EditReblogged this on AuntyUta and commented:I just have been reading again this old blog of mine and found it very interesting! And I love all the pictures in it! 
    The links to Peter’s Blogs also are of great interest to me!

A new Post by Uta in January 2023

On the 21st of December 2022 I published this:

Today I wrote into the comment section of that post the following:

So, I’m thinking how I’m still useful towards the end of my life.
Also, I can still enjoy my life, very much so! And I can still stay fairly
independent, for instance by sizing down. The plan is, that I give up
my home and keep only one small room which is to be wholly just for me.
Today, I’ll write about this plan a bit more in a new post! 

🙂

So, I want to write now about my still useful life. The plan is, that daughter Monika and granddaughter Natasha are going to take over my house. All I keep is just one small room! All my earthly possessions have to fit into this small room. That means a lot of de-cluttering for me! I hope my family can do this de-cluttering for me over the next six months or so. Hopefully, after about six months, the new owners may be ready to move into the house with all their stuff!

What does this sound like to you?

COPY from: Berlioz1935’s Blog


Peter ( Berlioz) says:

It is about life, as I experienced it, how I see it and how I imagine it..

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Memories of the Past and towards 2017

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Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

These are the words of the refrain from the beautiful song “Bookends” by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. A song about two old friends sitting on a park bench – reminiscing.

If you have more time on your hand you can be listening to the full version here.

Last month,  Uta and I had our 60th Wedding anniversary. It was a moment to reflect on our past together.

Just before we got married this photo was taken of us two on the balcony of my mother’s apartment in Berlin. In the meantime, this building has been torn down and a more modern one has taken its place.

img_20170106_0001

 In the picture, my future wife looks rather sceptical at me.  Or is it whimsical? We were innocent at the time. We believed in a better world and eleven years after WW 2 we had all reasons to believe in a bright future. Out of that belief grew our confidence to start a family.

In case you are wondering about the plate on the wall, it has been painted by Anselm  Feuerbach and is of his favourite model, Nanna, in a classical pose. This plate is still in the family and belongs to my son now.

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From then to now it was a time of great changes in all our lives. We moved to Australia and raised a family. Of our four children, our eldest daughter passed away nearly five years ago.

2016 was an especially bad year all round. The election of Donald Trump to be the new President of the US makes for interesting times. Interesting, because he seems to be unpredictable. He loves conflict and will have a fight on his hand, among others, with the American secret services. The establishment believes the advice of the services are sacrosanct without considering that they might have their own agenda.

Terrorism is an old game but since 9/11 it has become global, as so many things have since the end of the Cold War. We shake in our shoes as our governments think of more useless schemes to stop this menace. But all those measurements make the would-be terrorists more cranky.

On a personal level, my health is precarious. At least this is what my doctors tell me. Next week I will know more. At my age, anything can crop up in my body. When I was born my life expectancy was just sixty-four years. Fifteen years later I am still here to tell my stories.

A few years ago, I talked about this with one of my neighbours. We called it bonus time and laughed about it. This was on a Friday and the very next Monday his bonus time came to a sudden end. So, you never know.

In case you wonder what happened to the couple in the first photo. We changed into an old couple day by day without noticing it. And now, sixty years later, we look like this.

dscn2554

We have come a long way and I’m happy that last year we were able to visit Berlin, our hometown, once more. If we are lucky, we will be able to see Berlin again in two years time. Our health allowing, of course.

I nearly forgot. For the fifth time, we became great-grandparents. So the family is growing and we hope the politicians are not mucking up the great-grandchildren’s future.

For 2017 I wish all my followers all the best. Most of all stay healthy because without good health life can be a drag.

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In Berlin on a Hot Day21/07/2017In “Diary”This entry was posted in DiaryMemoriesUncategorized and tagged BerlinBookendsOur WeddingSimon and Garfunkel by berlioz1935. Bookmark the permalink.

12 THOUGHTS ON “MEMORIES OF THE PAST AND TOWARDS 2017”

  1. Robert M. Weiss on  said:Thank you, Peter, for reminding me of how special Simon and Garfunkel were.Reply ↓
  2. gerard oosterman on  said:A very fine piece of reflection, Peter. Life can be unpredictable, which I suppose gives it colour. Helvi and I both wish you good health and all the best for the future.Reply ↓
    • berlioz1935on  said:Thank you, Gerard and Helvi. Life is indeed unpredictable and was ever so. When the cave man stepped out of his cave he did not know whether he will bring home a Mammoth leg or he would we dinner for a Sabretooth Tiger. Today life is decided by Twitter. The American elect will run his country and us by announcing his intentions by twitter. How unpredictable is that? My own future is in the balance and I will hear tomorrow from my doctor was is in stall for me.Reply ↓
  3. Munira on  said:Absolutely loved the song….moved me to tears.
    A very happy 2017 to you and Aunty Uta 
    May you never be troubled by ill health and continue being full of life for as long as you live 
    AMEN!!
    Congratulations on your 60th anniversary…….and the newest addition to your family! And thank you for your good wishes. Reply ↓
    • berlioz1935on  said:Dear Munira, a heartfelt “Thank you” from me and Aunty Uta. It is so good to hear from you. In our uncertain times, one wonders and worries too much. I suppose.We are getting older and every time the body sends out a signal we wonder what could behind this. But we are still okay.Lots of Love and best wishes from the both of us. Reply ↓
  4. Sharmishtha Basu on  said:Reblogged this on The world just the way IT is to Sharmishtha Basu.Reply ↓
  5. Sharmishtha Basu on  said:it looks like she is a little afraid that if you will love her the way she hopes you will! well you did! Reply ↓
  6. Sharmishtha Basu on  said:are you two blessed or what!!!!Reply ↓
    • berlioz1935on  said:I think we are blessed. We are doing m ost things together. If she is only five minutes out of my sight, I fret.

Heart Full of Soul

Song by The Yardbirds

Heart Full of Soul

Song by The Yardbirds

Centenarian Secrets on Longevity

4:41 / 1:04:21•

What’s the Biggest Determinant for Living a Long and Healthy Life?

Centenarian Secrets on Longevity

Aug 11, 2022 The Rich Roll PodcastMike Fremont is a 100-year-old who holds many world records, including the fastest recorded marathon for a 91-year-old; at 96, he set the American one-mile record for his age group, and at 99, he raced the Canoe National USCA Championships. Now 100, he has no intention of stopping. I’m proud to share his story with you. For more on Mike, go here👉🏾http://bit.ly/richroll697 ✌🏼🌱 – Rich

Love’s Embrace

Love’s Embrace by Joseph Carli

Falling in LoveLove’s Embrace

freefall852 in Uncategorized November 5, 2022 189 Words

Love’s embrace.

I was badly wounded from Love’s last embrace,

My fault for flying too close to the Sun’s passionate face,

Where declarations of sweet joy, sweet love,

Were lost and discarded along with loss of face,

For one does say such silly things whilst in love’s embrace.

Wounded, yes..let there be no contrary debate,

Cut, diced and spliced then skewered on scorn’s sharp stake!

And I swore there and then t’would be the last mistake,

“The last mistake”..heh!..how many times THAT relate?

But then time and loneliness lays its clawing hand,

Makes to one’s heart that exquisite demand,

To venture once more into such dangerous land,

Of adventures of the soul, the heart, again; another last stand.

For how does one idle away those tedious hours of the day,

Alone..save lovely memories of dancing the antic hay?

But that’s it….I have to fall in love..don’t y’see..

I have no other choice but to fall in love..

I HAVE to fall in love..

Even if this time it’s only just with me.

Following is the link to Joseph Carli’s blog page:

Joe, that means, you can embrace yourself, right?

Most of the time I am in love with myself now. To embrace myself, I do cross my arms in front of me!

I feel, right now this is for me a pretty good state to be in. 🙂

The Excitement of falling in Love:

I do have good memories how exciting it is to fall in love with another person! Even platonic love can at times be emotionally very exciting and beautiful! It may come to an end and require an acceptence of the ending without regret! For nothing stays the same forever. We change, life changes us. However, when you have a love that lasts throughout your life despite all the changes, that is bliss! 🙂

There were a few years when my husband and I had major difficulties in our sexual relationship, and in communicating about it in a satisfactory way. So, we lived very much apart but under the same roof! Despite these marriage problems, we were always able to remain friends. Whenever I was inclined to fall in love with another desirable man, of course this relationship had to stay absolutely platonic. And my husband knew, that he could trust me and never acted jealous, except that with a few remarks he would show me sometimes, that he did not like me to become too close to a certain attractive person I felt drawn to. I feel, he did stay friendly with anyone who became my close friend. Really, it so happened, that I never did fall in love with a complete stranger, that is, it was always someone who was known to the whole family! 🙂

Also, I was very familiar with the women that Peter liked to be with. He usually liked the company of women, or some mixed company. However, I think he was a bit unsure of himself, and did not feel like he wanted to try out whether another woman loved him as a sex partner. So, as far as I am concerned, we never became a so called ‘open’ marriage in a sexual sense.

As far as our children are concerned, I often marvelled at the close relationship Peter had with all our children. That means, he had a very good relationship with our three daughters as well as our son! – A few years after all our children had left home, Peter and I became very close partners again. We had many good years of retirement together with lots of travelling. Life was so good! 🙂

Nearly two years ago, Peter died of bone cancer. I thought, I had been well prepared for his departure. But not so. You can never be prepared for the departure of someone you have known for more than 65 years and lived with for close to 64 years! I never imagined that missing Peter could become worse and worse with time, and kind of all consuming. So it was really important, that I started somehow to fall in love with myself! Now life, whatever is left of it, is getting better and better again . . .

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4 COMMENTS

Manage commentsFollowing conversation

  1. freefall852Here, Uta..fall in love with the mystery of erotica: https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2022/05/10/concealed/Reply1
    1. auntyutafreefall852Here, Joe, is what I wrote as a comment to that post of yours:May 25, 2022 at 8:55 pm
      I cannot imagine how I could still feel alive if I didn’t still have a desire for the opposite sex. Whether I act on it or have an opportunity to act on it, that is another matter. If I cannot act on it for whatever reason, I can still keep the desire going, just by imagining it and maybe write about it, whereas artful people would express it in their art. There are paintings, there is music, there are books to keep the desire alive. I cannot imagine not being touched anymore by a special kind of music for as long as I am alive!Reply2
  2. Bridgesburning ChrisOh Uta that is so touching!Reply2
  3. auntyutaYea, Chris, it all depends what keeps us alive! 🙂Reply2

https://iview.abc.net.au/video/NS1413V001S00

The Real-Life Philomena: ‘You See So Much Hurt Caused by Anger’

CULTURE

The Real-Life Philomena: ‘You See So Much Hurt Caused by Anger’

Forced to give up her child for adoption as a teenager, the woman who inspired the Oscar-nominated film starring Judi Dench talks about forgiveness and keeping her faith.By Nolan Feeney

FEBRUARY 8, 2014SHARE

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Left: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena. Right: Philomena Lee. (The Weinstein Company; AP)

For decades, Philomena Lee didn’t think there was anything interesting about her life story.

After becoming pregnant out of wedlock in Ireland in 1951, a teenage Lee was disowned by her father and sent to live and work in a convent alongside other unmarried mothers. When her son Anthony was three years old, the convent’s nuns, in exchange for a generous donation, gave him up for adoption to Americans, who were told he was an orphan. A distraught Lee watched from an upstairs window as strangers drove off with her child.

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For the next 50 years, Lee told nobody about Anthony. That’s just how life went for sinners in the Catholic Church, she thought.

But one day, she told her secret to her daughter, Jane Libberton, who quickly began the search for Lee’s long-lost child. It wasn’t easy: Irish law makes it extremely difficult for adopted children to learn about their parents and birth records, and the nuns at the convent where Lee lived stonewalled her requests for information. Eventually, Libberton pieced together the identity of Anthony: Renamed Michael Hess by his American parents, he’d grown up to be a top attorney for the Republican National Committee.

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By the time Lee and Libberton solved the mystery, however, they were too late: Hess had died of AIDS in 1995. His ashes had been buried at the the convent at Hess’s request—he hoped that his mother would return and find him. Just as the nuns wouldn’t give Lee and Libberton any answers about what happened to Anthony, Hess himself had journeyed to Ireland to ask about his mother—with no luck.

Acclaim and Oscar nominations for Philomena, based off journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, have brought international attention to the stories of Lee and the thousands of women just like her. Last month, Lee partnered with the Adoption Rights Alliance to launch The Philomena Project, which will advocate for changes to Ireland’s adoption-records policies and help connect mothers and children separated by the country’s history of forced adoptions. In late January, Lee, Libberton, and Mari Steed, U.S. coordinator of the ARA, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with senators and diplomats about the project, and they spoke to The Atlantic about the film, faith, and forgiveness.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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When you started your journey a decade ago, did you ever think it would bring you to Washington?

Philomena: No way whatsoever.

Jane: When mom first met Martin, she didn’t even really want it to be a book, did you? You didn’t really want the story.

Philomena: Oh no. When I told my daughter after 50 years, I said, “No, I can’t.” Because I kept it a secret so long. No way. So then I just decided, well, look, if it can help a lot of mothers my age, I’m nearly 80—

Jane: You are 80!

Philomena: We were ostracized in them days because we had babies out of wedlock, because that was a very awful thing to do. Women my age kept it a secret and wouldn’t tell their families. A lot of the babies born, their offspring, they’re now looking for them. A lot of ladies my age still haven’t come out to say it. So many people responded to the film, and a lot of them actually were women like me coming out. People like Mari and her colleagues have been trying for years to get the government in Ireland to give people rights to their records.

Is the project more about helping adopted children here connect with parents in Ireland, or about putting pressure on Ireland to change its policies?

Mari: Both. Some of the senators and congressmen we met are from the states where a lot of the babies were placed to—in Anthony’s case, Missouri—so we met with Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill. Somebody might go to their local representatives and say, “I was born in Ireland and am a citizen here, what do I do?”

Likewise, we met the Irish ambassador [Anne Anderson] and it’s the same thing. “If one of our citizens should happen to come to the Irish Embassy or call one of the consulates, would you be able to give them these resources and point us in the right direction?” We don’t want to do any hard-hitting political lobbying, but we would like them to lend their voices and their support if at all possible. I think the response was very positive.

Jane: It was very positive! Obviously my mom and I have no experience of being here in Washington and meeting senators, that’s like—

Philomena: Wow-wee!

Jane: We had no idea what to expect. Each and every one was different, but very positive. We felt like we were following in Anthony’s footsteps because he worked in these buildings.

That must have been special.

Philomena: Very much so. This was his world.

Activists have said you’d need to drag Ireland to the United Nations to see these changes happen. Have you had more success going the political route than through the Church?“We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church.”

Mari: Absolutely. With the Church, you really will get nowhere. I’m not saying that’s a negative or a positive. That’s simply what it is. They’re not going to change their mind or suddenly change their policies. And not only that, but all of the records, as of this year, have finally been transferred out from under the ownership of Church agents and are now under the government’s Health Service Executive in Ireland, so we’ve almost removed the Church from the picture, at least as far as the records are concerned. But I think eventually it may take a UN case similar to the Magdalenes cause in Ireland. We’ve got the right players, we’ve got people affiliated with the project. If we have to go that route, we will.

Have the ways the Catholic Church has changed in the past several decades made it any easier?

Mari: Yeah, not really. Their attitudes really haven’t changed.

Jane: In Ireland.

Mari: Yeah, absolutely not in Ireland. Here in the States, we tend to get a lot more encouragement and sympathy. In Ireland, it’s still this stubborn willfulness. They’d rather stay silent and take the bad press than issue apologies, because they know that will open them up to legal liabilities.

Jane: My mom still very much has her faith and is still quite protective of the Church, so you find it a bit awkward sometimes.

Philomena: Sometimes. You just believed everything you were told. You didn’t query it, you just didn’t query it. People would say, “Are you against the Catholic Church?” No, I’m not. At the time they did it, they took me in, they gave me a home for my baby. They gave us a home. It was the Church that caused all the problems because the Church made a baby out of wedlock a mortal sin. So we firmly believed we were sinners. That’s the teaching of the Church.

Were you worried people would take an anti-Catholic message away from the movie?

Jane: I don’t think we even thought about the Catholic stance at all, this is just my mom’s story and what happened to her. Obviously people have come out and said, “This is an anti-Catholic film.” It was never intended to be. This is what happened.”People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving.”

Philomena: No! It’s my story.

Jane: There are other Catholic groups that are in support of it, [saying] that it isn’t an anti-Catholic film because she retains her faith all the way through it. We’re just telling the truth of what happened. It was never, ever from the start meant to be an attack on the Church. Steve Coogan [who plays Martin Sixsmith] says the same thing. He’s from an Irish-Catholic family. He spent a lot of time with women my mom’s age when he was a child. He never set out at all to make an anti-Catholic film. It’s just different people who have different views. As mom said, yes, they did take her in. Where else would she have gone? But they kind of caused the problem in the first place. They were part of the solution, but they were part of the problem.

Did you feel surprised that so many people found your commitment to your faith inspiring?

Philomena: We did, actually. People can’t understand how I could have been so forgiving. But I mean, Anthony would have been 61 last year. When he was adopted and taken away, I went to Liverpool, two years I stayed there, and then I went down and did psychiatric nursing for 30 years. Now, you don’t work in a psychiatric hospital and not see some awful, sad faces. You see so much hurt and pain caused by anger. I was angry in the beginning, and I used to think, why did this happen to me? And then nursing the patients, sitting down and talking with them, helping them with their problems—it made my own slide into the background. I’ve seen so much hurt caused through anger. And I thought, “I couldn’t go through my whole life being angry.” It’s just not in my nature to be angry. I was upset and very sad and very hurt. But I just went on with life and got married and had children. Working with psychiatric patients, it helped me to heal a lot of the pain I had.

One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is the moment of forgiveness near the end. Steve Coogan, as Martin, seems confused by it, asking, “Just like that?” But Judi Dench, as you, says it actually takes everything inside you to forgive.

Philomena: When my daughter first found out about this story, she was very angry, and I think Steve Coogan took on her anger.

Jane: Martin was a political journalist, and he wasn’t particularly angry. He’s seen all sort of things in his career. Steve asked a particular question of whether you forgive the nuns, and you did. I said, “I don’t,” so he took the anger and put it in his character. Martin wasn’t an angry character, he was a journalist.

Were the nuns as big of an obstacle in learning about Anthony as they appeared in the movie?

Jane: When we went the first time, they didn’t help. They were very pleasant very nice.

Philomena: Lovely.

Jane: We sat down to tea like this. We knew Anthony’s grave was there. But they didn’t give us any information about the American side of things. When we went back the second year, I’d said we found Anthony’s partner and we found Mary, who was adopted with Anthony, and then they went to the cupboard and gave me papers they could have given me before. Without those papers, there never would have been a book. They just weren’t helpful.”We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella.”

Did they not fully understand?

Jane: Oh, they understood. [The character] Sister Margaret was [based off] the present-day nun we met with Martin. She was delightful. She’s English like I am, so she knew where I was coming from, because in the United Kingdom, at 18 years old, you can find out your history if you’re adopted. In Ireland, you can’t. I didn’t get angry with her. I was angry, but I didn’t shout out her like Steve Coogan shouts at Sister Hildegard [in the movie]. She knew exactly what I meant when I said, “To me, what you’re doing is completely wrong.” She did sit there kind of stony-faced. She was in the position where she felt she couldn’t give me the information because that’s what she’d been taught by the Church. And we’re only talking about seven years ago. It wasn’t a long time ago.

The Weinstein Company

Did you have a sense of how widespread this was?

Philomena: You mean everybody having babies? Women having babies?

The forced adoptions across the country, I mean.

Philomena: I was a teenager at the time. I didn’t know anything about that. I didn’t know about babies being gone abroad and getting donations for them. I didn’t know the first thing about that. How would we know? The nuns wouldn’t tell you. We were Catholic, we went to church, we went to mass, that’s all we did. I worked in the laundry for three and a half years.

Mari: There were many Irish families who might have had a mother and baby home just up the road and didn’t even know it. They just knew it was the nuns who ran their business. Nobody really knew what went on behind the walls or dared ask. I think they had an inkling, it just wasn’t discussed.

Philomena: And often the mother’s parents were glad to get rid of you, because it was such a shame on them. We were ostracized so much. We had to lose our identities. I wasn’t Philomena Lee anymore. I got a name called Marcella. For three and a half years, I was Marcella. Some of the women now come forward and say, “Did you remember me when I was there?” I wouldn’t have remembered them because they’d have another name. From the day I went in till the day I came out I was Marcella, not Philomena Lee.”And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him.”

Tell me about the first time you told Jane about Anthony.

Philomena: I go home to Ireland every year. I call it home still even though I’ve lived 56 years in England. My brother, he was a young lad. He was 18 months older than me when I went to the home. He drove me when they discovered I was pregnant. He bounced him on his knees and hugged him and loved him. My father was out signing papers with the nuns—in them days you didn’t query what they were doing—and my brother was out with me in the halls. For years he felt so guilty. “I should have run away with him.” But with the police, the guards, we call them guards in Ireland, [he] wouldn’t have gotten away with it. I went home in 2003, was it? He said, “For goodness’ sake, go back home and tell them.” My son is older than Jane. I went home and sat them down and told them.

Jane: Well, you told me. You came out to see me. I’d just moved house and renovated it. And my mom, you’d [just] been to Ireland, and you said, “Oh, I’ll pop around and see you.” It was slightly unusual because we normally meet in the day, and you were feigning interest in my decor. I just had some new light switches. I remember it very clearly. You looked at them said, “They’re very nice.” You’re not really into that kind of thing.

Philomena: Not decorating, no.

Jane: So she sat down, and we did open a bottle of wine, and she just came out with it. “I had a baby in Ireland,” I think is what you said. But immediately I knew who this child was because we always had his photograph in with all the other family photos. He always looked like he was in an odd place because he’s got nuns with him, or he looks like he’s in a hospital. I had asked you once when I was a child, and you said it was a cousin’s son, and I didn’t think anything more of that. But I felt immediately sorry for her, because I’ve got children, and he was three and a half when he was adopted. I couldn’t imagine having to give a child away at that age. It would just be awful.

Philomena: Awful, awful.

Jane: Clearly you would have bonded with him because they’re little people at that age.

Philomena: He was a lovely, lovely little boy.

What was it like seeing the movie for the first time?

Philomena: We didn’t know what to make of it, did we? We saw it together.

Jane: It was very hard to judge whether it was good or not because we’d been so involved in it. We met the next day at lunch and I said, “I think it’s okay? I think we’ll be alright with this film.” But we couldn’t tell. People asked me if it was good and I said, “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you if it was good.”

Philomena: We couldn’t!

Jane: It took a couple viewings. Then it went to the Venice Film Festival and received such fantastic reviews. I started reading the reviews to mom, and we could see why people liked it. But it took other people to point us in the right direction.

But you’ve come to enjoy it?

Jane: Yes, we certainly laughed.

Philomena: Oh yes, it’s very funny.

Jane: Life’s not all doom and gloom.

It was already such a tough, emotional movie to watch, it would have been a lot harder without those funnier moments.

Philomena: The thing is, I found him. And the whole of my life, all I wanted was to find him. Finding out he was dead was very hard, but at least I found him. I used to think over the years he could be in Vietnam, he could be on Skid Row. It’s the not knowing. But once I found out how successful he was, then I was able to put my heart to rest and my mind to rest. At least he had a very good life and a wonderful partner. And I’m sure, up there, he helped me to start this 10 years ago. I believe that.

Mari: He’d be so pleased.

Jane: I think he’d be pleased, being a political man.

Philomena: I’m sure he is. The thing is, I’m sure because about one year [before finding him], maybe less than that, I started going back to mass. I had given up going to mass and communion and confession. Somehow or another I said, “I think I’ll start going back.” I went to mass at the beautiful abbey near where we lived. They had a Catholic mass every Friday morning. I joined that and got back in there, and I’d go down and light my candle in this beautiful place. Somehow after this, my brother said to me, “Will you go back home and tell your daughter?” after I started [getting that] feeling. I’m sure Anthony was up there.

Nolan Feeney is a former producer for TheAtlantic.com.

How we celebrate Christmas with the Family

AuntyUta

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Christmas Eve with the Family in 2021

 auntyuta  DiaryLife in AustraliaMemoriesOld Age  December 9, 2021 2 Minutes

It is our tradition, to celebrate Christmas with all the family on Christmas Eve! So, all my family want to come this year to my place again!  We are usually more than 16 people for this kind of get-togethers! This is including four of my great-grandchildren aged 2, 5, 7 and 9!  I have two more great-grandchildren in Victoria. Unfortunately I have not seen these for quite a while. – – – Sadly, it is going to be the second Christmas without Peter. – – –

Secret Santa will be coming again this year. So, everyone gets only one present! However, I am sure there is going to be some very special nice food provided once more due to the combined effort of several women. I am probably going to make some potato salad again. A lot of people do like my salad!  I sometimes used to add some herring to the salad! 🙂

And of course people bring along beer, wine and maybe some liquor as well as a variety of soft drinks.  (Mark is in the habit of drinking only Coca Cola when he knows, that he has to be driving home again.)

Our other custom at Christmas time is to make ‘Bunte Teller’ with Pfefferkuchen (gingerbread), nuts, special fruit and some sweets like for instance marzipan sweets and chocolates. 

I hope the weather is going to be fine, so that we can stay outside a lot and make good use of the new deck and to be outside in the open a lot of the time. 

Maybe some people are going to stay overnight again, that would mean, we could be able to cheer with plenty of nice drinks! 

All the outside area on the three different sections of the house have been made usable recently. So there is plenty of room for people to spread out a bit. There are even two ramps for my rollator! Colourful electric lights have been installed, and there are also about half a dozen solar lights spread out over the ground as well as some new electric flash lights! 

I hope, my son Martin will be able to come from Victoria, and that this time the borders are going to stay open. Martin told me, that he can stay only for a couple of nights, but that I am welcome to go back with him and his dog Millie to his place in Benalla. 

I am looking forward to spend some great holidays in Benalla! 

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Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyuta

PublishedDecember 9, 2021

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Eve with the Family in 2021”

  1. doesitevenmatter3Edit
  2. YAY! This all sounds wonderful, SweetUta! Enjoy your family, the celebrations, especially the love.
    I know Peter will be with you in thought, spirit, and heart. He will be smiling. 
    I’d love to know your potato salad recipe if you care to share it. I make a good potato salad but I’m always open to learning a new way. 
    (((HUGS)))
    👼🎄🌟🔔🎉🎅🎁🎄Reply
    1. auntyutaEdit
    2. Carolyn, I think it is a good idea to make the potato salad a day before you want to use it. Before I serve it the next day, I make sure to taste it first to find out whether it needs some extra ingredients. For instance, it is possible that it does need a bit of extra salt and also some extra vinegar. People usually like it, when it is sufficiently sour! When I make the salad, I like to add a lot of finely diced onions to the potato pieces, as well as small pieces of pickled or sour cucumbers. And I find, if I happen to have some nice sweet apples, it improves the salad to add finely cut apple pieces! Also a little bit of mustard can make the salad a bit more spicy. Of course, I start making the salad with a large amount of boiled and sliced, cooled down pieces of potato. (I take the skin off after I boiled the potatoes!) As soon as all the potatoes are diced, I add pepper, salt and olive oil plus the mayonnaise and also a bit of vinegar. All the other things that I mentioned are optional. 
      Peter always liked my potato salad too. 
      Stay safe, dear Carolyn,
      Hugs from U
      ta 
      1. doesitevenmatter3 Edit
      2. Yes, that makes sense. Potato Salad is great day of, but, also, tastes even better in the days after…the leftovers. (If there are any! Ha!)
        I add all of the things you do…but I’ve never thought of apples! I love this idea! I shall try it! Thank you for sharing this idea! I appreciate it! 
        (((HUGS)))
          
      3. And you can add herring!! Ha❤
  3. DebraEditI do hope the travel restrictions will be very light, and that you will have your wonderful family tradition on the 24th. God bless you, Uta.Reply
    1. auntyuta EditYes, dear Debra, we all hope there won’t be any travel restrictions. And I am so happy, that this time we will be able to mainly celebrate outside. This should make it much safer to have so many people around. We still don’t know, how this new variant of the Coronavirus might effect us.
      So, I send you hugs from the Australian summer! 
      Stay safe, Debra, and enjoy your Christmas as much as possible.
      Love, Uta