The endless Christian faith and perseverance of my grandmother lives with me everyday

Estimated read time 3 min read

The older I get the more I think about how this small woman, my grandmother, (barely 5 ft tall) made such a big impact in my life. Her Christian faith, the foundation of a difficult life, carried her from being an orphan in a Catholic convent to a role model of love, devotion, and faith honored by her many descendants.

She was born in a small ranching village just outside Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico which was high in the mountains at the end of the 19th century. This area had no roads. It was only accessible by a 2 days ride on horseback over mountain trails and crossing rivers.

An AI image I created imaging my grandmother's childhood home
An AI image I created how I imagined my grandmother’s early childhood home on a ranch

At age five her traveling salesman father had to place her in a Catholic convent school because of her mother’s death. Her only sister died soon after. Her father disappeared on a business trip into the interior and was presumed murdered.

An AI image I created imagining my grandmother at the catholic convent school
An AI image I created how I imagine she attended school at the Catholic convent where she lived as an orphan

She lived at the convent without any family ties where she studied language, religion, and secretarial skills until she was hired in her late teens for a local judge. His son, Rafael, was a young lawyer who lacked direction in his life. Eventually she would marry the judge’s son, my grandfather, who under her influence eventually became a judge himself. They went on to have 16 children of which only 10 lived to adulthood. Then in the early 1960’s her husband was killed when he was struck by a car under mysterious circumstances.

Despite these hardships she kept her family together nuturing her children and grandchildren always believing strongly in the promise of her Catholic faith that God would provide. She once took her children on a hard journey by horseback which was the only way to get to the village where she was born to remind them of their heritage.

my granmother takes children on horseback to her childhood village in Mexico
AI image of my grandmother taking her children to visit the remote mountain village where she was born in the mountains near Morelia, Mexico

Christmas at her house was pure love. She at times could be very strict but it was always in a loving way. I spent summers under her care and love in Mexico as a small child. Starting when I was very young she would have us pray together. She told us that we must have Jesus Christ in our lives always. She took me to be baptized at the Basilica of the Virgin Mary soon after my birth. When she told me about the struggles of her life she did not complain but instead always said that Jesus teaches how to overcome.

She lived into her late 80s and passed some years ago.

A painting I bought in Mexico some years I ago which reminds me of walking in Morelia or Mexico City with my grandmother as a small child.

Today she has over 100 descendants, many of the girls like my daughter who have the characteristic dimple which shows when smiling. She was my grandmother, Refugio Reyes, who I loving knew as “Cuca”, who taught me about love, dedication, and faith. This legacy of faith lives on in our family.

Professor Tony Magana

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours