By Sr Francesca M. Mariano FSP
I am the ninth of thirteen born of the second marriage of my father. Six died in infancy. My father was 42, widowed with five children when he married my mother, then only 18. Their marriage was arranged by their parents. My mother didn’t know about the five children. After the wedding my father began bringing them home, one after the other. They were aged thirteen, eleven, nine, seven and five. They considered their father’s new wife as their own mother. My parents welcomed all their children from the hands of God who rewarded them with the joy of having many children. I always enjoyed the company of my big family. Many times we disagreed and quarreled, but beyond that we loved one another.
Then each one followed their own vocation. I entered the convent and at present I’m assigned here in Italy. Six remained in the Philippines and five went to the USA. And now our Lord is calling us back to Him one by one. Three in the Philippines have gone back to God and three in USA. Thanks be to God, we are still many.