In our archdiocese, there are numerous persons who have toiled diligently in the vineyard. They laboured with love and their dedication and faithfulness to the church community and to God would have no doubt stood the test of time. One such lady is Martina Nessie Thomas, lovingly called ‘Aunty Nessie’ who hails from the community of Gasparillo in the parish of Tortuga.
She is 93 years and while it is quite common for seniors to be forgetful, her memory is still sharp. Aunty Nessie has been instrumental in spearheading Sunday School classes in the community and was also the brainchild behind ‘The Little Ones in Concert’ – the annual children’s Christmas concert which was a fundraiser for the annual Senior Citizens’ Healing Mass.
Aunty Nessie was born November 11, 1924, the third of six children born to Jonas and Octavia Wardell. She was raised in Tableland. She recalled that children in those times attended church to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the Saturday before the Mass. They would then need to remain at home for the rest of the day in order to prepare for First Communion on Sunday morning and then Confirmation around midday.