My Abuela, Mary and Femininity
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My dear sisters in Christ,
I would like to start this letter by introducing you to my grandmother, Luisa Yanes-Paumier. Born in Santiago de Cuba, she married a Navy sailor & had three daughters. When Fidel Castro came into power, she & her husband filed the paper which would permit them to leave the island. The family immigrated to Miami, Florida in 1968, where they would adapt to a new American life. Because of breast cancer, I never had the chance to meet her on Earth, but because of her legacy I know her almost as well as my immediate family members.
I am constantly told of Abuela's influence in our family, both in the love that she gave & the choices she made that forever changed our family. I will always be grateful for their sacrifices. As I have grown in my faith - particularly in my relationship with Mary - I could see how Abuela was a great role model of womanhood. In fact, her example helped me better understand Mary's role in my Catholic faith.
I imagine that Abuela was like Mary when she & St. Joseph had to flee to Egypt. Both had a sense of urgency, & both placed the family as their first priority. When my grandparents decided to leave Cuba, Abuelo wanted to send only their daughters first. Abuela was against this, and responded with "Either we all leave or no one leaves." Keeping the family together was essential. Almost every story I hear about Abuela is about how she selflessly placed the needs of her loved ones before her own.
There is critcism about how little we hear about Mary in Scripture. For example, we don't get to know exactly how Mary felt when she fled to Egypt. I believe that is actually a blessing because it allows us to relate to her. Whether you are reserved or outgoing; headstrong or soft-spoken, we can find some part of ourselves in Mary. We can also find Marian qualities in the women in our lives.
It's hard to say in what ways Abuela and Mary relate to each other. On the one hand, Abuela helped me better understand Mary. On the other hand, I saw Marian qualities in Abuela.
Both women helped me to understand what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a Catholic woman.
My sister, embrace your femininity. It is good, it is beautiful and it is yours. Look to our Mother Mary, for her womanhood is truly universal. Look to the women in your life that you want to imitate. Each of us carry a Marian quality if we only have the eyes to see it.
With love & blessings,