A colourful faith journey of a Filipina married to a Welshman

Janet is a Filipina married to a Welshman. She comes from near the Island of Malapascua at the tip of Cebu.

05-Faith-Story-Janet-Hanlon. Photo by Mariano Rossi on Unsplash

My faith journey while living in Shanghai is colourful. As a child of God I can share how God showed me His presence, answering my prayers, and how I experienced love and joy and learnt how to love and forgive.

I am a cradle Catholic and I was baptized as a baby in the Philippines. I am married with three beautiful children. All three of them are baptized catholic. My husband is European and is not a Catholic.

We arrived in China in 2006 and lived in a Chinese village. Later we moved to the big city in order to get better schooling for the boys. I did look for the church but with no Chinese language it was hard to find. I just focussed on life style, fashions and outings. But I felt empty. I was missing the practice of my faith.

My desire was to bring my boys to the church for their First Holy Communion. The teacher for the class of the children's liturgy was called Marie.  We would go every Sunday to the class and later would attend Mass. The catechism teacher gave the children assignments to find some verses from the bible. I was ignorant of the bible as I had never owned one and I complained that I could not find the texts. For two successive Sunday classes I said I could not find even Genesis. Marie give me confident that I can start and learn it.  Then the teacher asked me if I knew how to pray the rosary and I told her yes but that I had forgotten. I assured her I could learn because when I was young we did have evening and dawn rosary. And so we made a date to meet with others in her house.

I had a wonderful time not only in the rosary group but also in the Bible study group and then in the Emmaus retreat. There was also catechism for the children and during this time I also learnt a lot.

My third child, a daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. I received so much support during that time from the church community. The surgery was successful. Jane stayed 4nights at the ICU and I did feel God’s presence in the many twists and turns that her condition brought.

I meet wonderful friends here in Shanghai and my faith come back to life while there.

A great confirmation that my faith had come back to life was during the International Eucharist Congress in Cebu in the Philippines which is near my home. God brought me back home to celebrate what had happened to me in Shanghai!

I feel so much the love and blessing of God. Shanghai is the great place where I met really great Catholic people. I trust in the Lord in every situation.