Hong Kong Correspondent
Antoinette Faure has had faith since childhood and has regularly read the Bible since she was 15, but why did she only get baptized at 90 years old?
Coming from a vastly majority Catholic community in Grenoble, France, also mostly Catholic, she was almost destined to be baptized. Her story was reported in STICNA Catholic website, Christian Forums and Aleteia Catholic website.
Faure did not reveal why she was not brought to be baptized, nor how much religious education she had at home. However, as a teenager, her parents’ quarrels prompted her to begin reading the Bible.
“I started reading the Bible every day when I was 15, because it calmed me down,” she told Aleteia. She added that after marriage, so did her companion. “My husband, whom I met in 1968, did the same, even though we didn’t go to Mass.”
Faure opened up about why she did not get baptized earlier. Firstly, she did not have self-confidence to request baptism. Secondly, Faure presumed it was for the young and wondered if she was too old. Fate stepped in when Faure met young people from the Catholic Le Rocher (for urban missions) association. She realized then that she had never found the courage to ask for baptism. The volunteers introduced her to a local priest, an advisor to the association, They introduced her to Fr Marc Burtschell, the delegate for the parish of St John XXIII
“I asked him what he thought. I know it’s late to be baptized and I’m old, but he told me it was no problem,” Faure said.
In meetings with Faure, Fr Marc realized how strong her faith was and began preparing her for baptism, and First Communion.
“It struck me that this simple woman with a solid faith had gone through all these years without daring to ask, or without anyone realizing, that she wanted to go further. During our talks, she told me how the Bible had strengthened her relationship with her spouse during their nearly fifty years of marriage. Every morning they would read a passage to each other before going to work. I thought it would be nice to offer her First Communion at the same time.”
The Bishop of Grenoble, Guy de Kerimel convinced the priest to go ahead with the sacrament as she was baptized months later.
Faure recounted her pleasure: “I felt a lot of peace and calm. For several days, it was wonderful. It gave me a lot of joy, and it helped me to accept my sciatica and the pain. (She can longer walk.) I’ve had a hard life, but I’m very grateful for everything that’s happened. I have always said thank you to God, but I say it even more now that I’m baptized.”
“I was very touched to see this elderly woman, already bent with age, bowing to receive baptism,” said Fr Marc. (Photo: https://yeuthuongphucvu.com/)