Pentecost Sunday - Year B - 20th May, 2018

Rosanna

This is a true story about parents who spend their lives in loving service. "Rosanna speaks with her eyes; people do not understand her at first but we always do," says her father, John

She is a young woman with a totally misshapen body, barely able to move, with only half a lung. Yet she is a person who radiates happiness and has a deep love of Our Lord and devotion to our Lady of Lourdes.

Rosanna listens to all the conversation and talk with her eyes. Her life, her joy, her appreciation and understanding of all that goes on around her is entirely due to her parents' imaginative love and unstinted care and thought for her, and in their teaching her to understand and take part in the life that goes on around her.

Her father, a middle-European, was forced to fight for the Germans at 17, was taken prisoner by the British forces and sent to England as a prisoner-of-war. Later, he met Sheena from Ireland, fell in love and married. Six years later Sheena gave birth to her severely handicapped little girl. They were convinced that their loving care would help her to develop and trusted God to help them. The doctors 'gave' Rosanna ten years to live.

Her parents have, so far, given her twenty-eight.

Reading this, or seeing the family together, people think: "What a moving story", which, indeed, it is. But very few realise the continuing sacrifice the parents make in their dedicated twenty-four hour a day service to their daughter.

Rosanna has made her First Communion and has been confirmed. Her greatest joy is to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. John and Sheena share their prayer life with Rosanna and they both encourage and strengthen her through their faith and devotion. She receives holy communion every week with her parents and the love she feels for the Lord is expressed in a beautiful crooning noise she makes after communion.

Each year, her birthday is celebrated with a mass in thanksgiving for another year of her life.

Sheena bakes a special cake for the party after the mass and John carves a wooden candle holder, a new one each year, a symbol of the loving care and service they give Rosanna every day of every year of her life.

They put all the love they have into what they do - looking after Rosanna.

Fr. Eamon Raftery C.M.