« List # 12 - Unconscious Mutterings | Main | Tip toe through the Chu Lips . . . »

Snapshot of Mama at 24

When my mother was twenty-four years old and working as a nanny in Athens, she traveled to the island of Tinos, on March 25, to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. In the Greek Church, this is the most extraordinary event in human history: the Incarnation of God.

Having lost her father at such an early age meant that Mama had no dowry; her choices for a husband were limited, so my mother focused all her maternal longings on becoming a Godparent.

The cathedral in Tinos and the surrounding monastery is dedicated to the Theotokos. For hundreds of years, Christian pilgrims have made the journey to venerate the sacred icon housed within its walls. And on this Aegean Island, protected by the veil of God, miracles are commonplace events.

During this special day, it is difficult to get more than a few minutes in front of this wondrous Icon, as there are hundreds upon hundreds of people squished together like sardines, vying for their private, distinct moment with the Mother of God.

It is a mysterious depiction: on the surface it is like any other icon comprised of wood and paint, and yet there is something intangible that warrants a second look. It is the warmth and authenticity of the message that draws the devout back. It is easy to identify with the young Mary and the complexities of her situation. She cannot understand how she can bear a child but in total obedience she accepts the Divine Decree. In that moment, she recognizes the probable consequence for herself – the scandal, the disgrace, perhaps even death. Still, Mary gives herself up completely.


Much like my grandmother before her, my mother kneeled before the Mother of God and prayed:

Please, my beloved Theotokos, only you know why I have traveled all this way, only you know the longing. Please do not turn me away empty-handed. Bless and untie my hands. Help me baptize a young child.

It was then that my mother felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and saw a blonde-haired young girl, no more than thirteen, dressed in black smiling at her. The young girl addressed my mom:

Listen carefully, I know why you came. You came to baptize. In a few moments you will see a woman dressed in black enter the church. She will be carrying a two-year-old girl in her arms and heading for the altar. Be ready as there are others here, waiting for the same opportunity.

It is then that my mother notices a young widow carrying a small child and heading towards the altar. Somehow, Mama found the strength to push through the throngs of people. She reached the altar just as the mother was getting ready to dedicate her toddler to the Virgin Mary.

“Ya Vaptisma, for Baptism”, my mother asks. The woman nods. All my mother remembers of the Church service after that moment is the sea of men, women, children, cantors and deacons, ecstatically shouting Panta Aksia, Panta Aksia, Panta Aksia ~ Ever Worthy.

At the end of the Baptismal Service, when my mother asks the young woman if she has another child, perhaps another daughter around twelve or thirteen years of age, the answer is no.

del.ici.ous digg reddit StumbleUpon facebook Technorati Twitter


What a touching story!!!. My parents had also visited Tinos and prayed there to be blessed with a female child. When my sister was born she was baptized in Tinos. Yes there are lots of stories worthy to be remembered.