The first time I went to St. James was in 2008 for a friend’s funeral. While deep down I believed in God, in those days I was not actively practicing my faith or attending Mass.
Two years later, on September 30th, my mother died. I couldn’t attend her funeral because I just had given birth to our youngest child. That was a fearful and difficult time for me. But I finally told myself, “I have six kids, and I need to be brave.” With that I picked up my mother’s Bible, started reading, and began praying. I found comfort. What’s more, I found God who felt like a friend who had been there all along, but I had never gotten the chance to know. Then I was no longer afraid. Reading my mother’s Bible led me to join a Bible Study Group. The group consisted of five to ten members of the Micronesian community, and we would meet over the phone once a week.
As a result of Bible Study, with the encouragement of that group, my husband Cooper and I decided to get married. We had been together for nine years, and we had six kids. We decided to take the next step to formalize our commitment to each other and demonstrate our faith, in front of our children and in the eyes of the church.
A friend from Bible Study connected me to St. James and Deacon Ross Beaudoin. He has become my friend and father figure. That’s when I was introduced to St. James again.
Prior to coming to St. James for the first time with my family, we had attended various churches in the Metro area. In every church we entered, people would stare at us. They would count my kids and look away or just start whispering. At one point I told Cooper, “If you want to go to Mass, go without us. I don’t want to see anyone counting the heads of our children.”
But the first Sunday we came to St. James, I almost cried because I felt so welcomed. The moment I walked into church, I felt goosebumps. I knew I was in a special place. People were smiling and greeting us with open arms. They even picked up our kids and played with them. There was so much welcome from everyone. That’s when I told Cooper,” I found my home, my family.” We discovered that we didn’t have to dress up for Mass in fine good clothes It takes me hours to dress our six kids. But here at St. James, we don’t have to do that. It’s jeans and t-shirts and we’re good to go! Without my friend’s funeral, my Bible Study Group, and the encouragement from Deacon Ross, I would have never known about St. James.
On July 27,2011, we were married at St. James. On the same day, more than ten kids from the Micronesian Community were baptized; one received First Communion. From that day forth, Cooper and I became the link between St. James and the Micronesian community.
St. James has been an important part of our lives and our community ever since. In the last ten years, over fifty Micronesian kids have been baptized. There have been First Communions, Confirmations and weddings. Today four of my children are servers, my husband helps with the collection and I help with Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
My family has been through a lot, and St. James has always been there for us. I believe that I have found my purpose in life: to be a bridge between my people and St. James.
So that’s how I came to St. James! Thank you, Lord. I am blessed to have such a great life. I thank God every day for my St. James family.
Beaurina, I am so thankful for the wonderful gift you, Cooper, and your delightful kids have been to me. I’m from a family of 16 kids, so I know well the ‘look’, and I love St. James for accepting and loving people wherever and however their journey has taken them. I love the fact that you’ve taken leadership roles. I haven’t been able to get to know the kids well enough yet to know their names and which is which, but that’s something I want to do when we can meet again.
I love this story!
I have only been to St. James twice, and started Sunday after Easter 2021.
I really feel St. James is living out the “We Welcome You to the family of God” song.
More churches need to be so warm & compassionate!
Thankful you wrote your story, you are wonderful~*~*~*~*