Aachchie thanked and praised the Lord in good times and bad


Anyone who associated with Aachchie (a.k.a. Mummy, Arch, Aunty Pauline, Pauline and Sr. Pauline) would have heard her say: “Thank and Praise the Lord!”

One thing I learned from her was to thank and praise the Lord, in both good times and bad. I once asked her why we should say this when times were bad. She said everything the Lord gives us is a blessing: If we have trials and tribulations, it is because there is something to be gained or learned from them. No life experience can be dismissed.

It was this unquestioning faith and reverence for God that enabled Aachchie to keep travelling alone, even at the age of 82, till just six months before her death, to her weekly Wednesday meetings, her Sunday meetings, and to wherever else she pleased.

Most of Aachchie’s pension was spent on travelling to these meetings, and with the remaining money she would buy goodies for the household, despite my mother’s insisting that she saved her money.

The trishaw drivers Aachchie travelled with would tell us how she would buy them a snack or a lunch packet or a little treat. Her acts of generosity were done in the true spirit of giving, so only God and the recipient would know.

Many were the occasions when family and friends would advise her against travelling alone late at night. But she was firm in her conviction that God would look after her, saying she was doing God’s work. Her favourite psalm was Psalm 23, whose opening line is: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. … ”
Another of her favourite sayings was: “Families that pray together stay together.” As Sunday approached, she would keep reminding us about the Sunday Mass, much to our annoyance. But this only strengthened her resolve to see that we attended Mass.

She loved to talk of the old times, her childhood, her growing-up years, married life, and so on. Any willing or unwilling listener would get caught for an hour or more of chatting or counselling.

We cherish the memories of her dogmatic nature, resilience and strong will in everything she did.
Thank and praise the Lord for your life, Aachchie. You will be missed dearly. May you rest in peace.

(Excerpts from eulogy read at Pauline Wijeyesinghe’s memorial service)

By Dedunie de Silva

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