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Mother Theresa’s Eulogy
Saturday, January 28, 2017
by:Linda Broda
To quote from Saint Mother Theresa…

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home”

“Be faithful in small things because it is within that your strength lies”

“A life not lived for others is not a life”

If you judge people you have no time to love them”  

All of these are quotes from the Saint Mother Theresa but they very well could be the story of how Theresa lived her life…………

Over the past few days I have had the privilege to watch, to listen and observe as the family shared some great stories and memories about “Mother Theresa”.

When I first met Theresa,  I heard the reference “ Mother Theresa”, and was not quite sure what the meaning was. Certainly, she would have to be considered a saint based on hearing stories from the past however  it does have deeper meaning.

So today we are going to share what stands out the most in terms of how Theresa lived her life. From my perspective, she had it figured out along time ago and knew what her role was in supporting her husband “Papa Joe” and their family over the past 68 years. 

Theresa was born at home in the Grayson area in 1930 and was delivered by the local midwife. As a young girl, her sister had shared that Theresa passed out, her mom was frantic, called the doctor who was in Neudorf. In the meantime, her mom gave her oil from the Coal oil Lantern, Theresa threw up, and came too immediately. Those old home remedies sometimes were the best.

Theresa went to Flegel school up to Grade 8. There were 31 kids at the time and from the enrollment records of 1937, Theresa was a good student and did not miss very much school. From there she worked on the family farm. Cooking, sewing, milking the cows, and the annual stooking in the fields, Theresa worked side by side with her sisters and brothers. She also had time to learn how to dance with her sister Anne, listening to the grammaphone while mom and dad watched. The girls loved to get ready for the school dances and local sports days. With four sisters, they had lots of fun growing up. It is believed these events is where a certain young fellow made his way over from the Killaly area, who was also a pretty good dancer, and they started spending time together. Joe would show up in his brother’s car, or a truck and began courting Theresa. They made trips to the lake and would go into Grayson to Cecilia Hall, sit on planks in the hall and watch the  movies on the reel-to-reel.

At age 18 Theresa married Joe on November 9, 1948 and the family was so privileged to be able to celebrate their 65
th wedding anniversary a few years ago. Her wedding dress was described in the local paper as “charming,” in a gown of white satin and lace, with floor length veil and beaded sweetheart headdress. She carried a bouquet of natural carnations and asters. Sister Anne was a bridesmaid along with Johanna Fischer, Emily Krupski, Helen Rogalski and Marion Fischer. They had a dinner and dance at the Grayson Hall with about 500 folks attending the dance. As per the local custom, little shots of home brew were shared and passed around. Theresa’s wedding present from her mom and dad’ was a fairly length list – it included the Kitchen Table and Chairs, a bedroom set, a dining room table and buffet and what seemed to be a usual practice back then – four cows.  

They rented a farm in the Killaly area and started their family. Theresa continued to hone her skills as a cook and one day when she was making bread for the first time on her own, she called Papa Joe into the kitchen to try the freshly baked bread. Papa Joe walks into the kitchen with an axe and saw, he was pretty sure he would need that to cut the bread. This was also the time Theresa would love to go berry picking, whether it was wild strawberries,  saskatoons, whatever was growing locally. I am sure this is where she mastered her Saskatoon pie skills that we all enjoyed throughout our life times. 

In 1955 , Joe and Theresa loaded up Andy, George and Karen and moved into Melville. After the youngest was born, Joey, Theresa went to work at the Melville hospital where she worked until 1986.

hile raising the family, Theresa was a very busy mom and sometimes key dates did slip her mind. A certain April 23, 1959 rolled around one year, little George was turning 7. The day quickly went by and George was anxious and looking forward to his birthday celebration. The evening meal had ended, and much to George’s disappointment, it appeared there was no birthday cake.  The disappointment was written all over his face, Theresa looked over and said in shock “Oh my God, it is George’s Birthday.” Like a bolt of lightening, Theresa jumped out of her chair, went to the freezer and pulled out some cupcakes, Theresa then put  a birthday candle in the cupcake, and the family all sang happy birthday. This became something that was not talked about due to the sensitivity of the issue but a few years ago, George shared how he really felt that day. Everybody else would get a cake with money in the cake, apparently the cup cakes were CASH FREE.   

Since that time, Theresa I do not think, forgot about any of our birthdays again. If the truth be told, I believe Theresa actually felt worse about the incident than little George.

In the early 60’s Joe decided to get a lot at Crooked Lake and Joe and Grampa Broda cleared the lot and started to build the family cottage which became the second home for the Broda family.
Avid golfers, Joe and Theresa became longtime members of the Last Oak golf Course. She gave up the game a few years ago but I think she could still beat all of us. Theresa could hit the ball down the middle of the fairway and sometimes had a pretty hot putter. Often George and his dad would take Theresa and I on in a golf match, very rarely did they beat us.  

A highlight for Theresa came in August of 1999,  Theresa participated in a local golf tournament at Crooked Lake, what a time to make your dream come true. Her ace at the 152 yard 16
th hole won her $10000. Another ball was already within a couple feet of the pin, and all she was hoping was to beat the guy closest to the pin. Then all of a sudden, the ball hit the pin and dropped in the hole ..  In her words” there were eight people on the tee box, they were hugging, they were screaming. It was unreal said Theresa.By that time my stomach was topsy-turvey.“ The family actually had trouble believing the news. 

Theresa called herself an average golfer and maintained about a 24 handicap. She started golfing in the early 80s and it always had been her dream to hit a hole in one. Theresa had never made a hole in one until that day - $10000 was her prize. She put the money to good use and bought a new vehicle for herself. I think every time after that as she came up to Hole 16
th, her expectation was nothing less than a hole in one. 

Theresa took an active part in the ladies golf group and really enjoyed the golf tournaments and weekly events. The rest of the week she would be out there with Joe starting at 6:00 or so in the morning and off by 8:00 – 18 holes done! You could never beat them out there in the mornings nor keep up to them..

The cottage became a real hub of activity for the Broda family. There are many stories of late nite card games playing for perogies, or whatever the activity, Theresa was busy ensuring we were all fed and taken care of. In fact, even if her boys or grandkids came back to the cottage a little under the weather from certain activities they were involved in, Theresa made sure their tummies were full. 

During these times at the lake and birthdays and anniversaries with her and Joe’s family, Theresa loved to play cards. She was a bit of a gambler and despite her quiet, reserved persona, Theresa tended to be a little competitive. One such story goes back to a time where Joey and Maureen were recently married, with a young baby and unfortunately were on the losing end of the card game that night. Maureen and Joey kind of gave the hard luck story that they would not have any money to buy milk for the baby, pay day was a few days away. In a rare moment Theresa showed no mercy, and exclaimed “ You Lost – that’s the way the cards roll and showed no mercy towards the newlyweds and took all the money.  

This gambling streak continued during their retirement years as they went to various casinos and enjoyed the bus trips to some of these establishments. Even in her last few months at the home,  Theresa went to the Bingo game and whether it was ten cents, or 25 cents. She loved to win. 

In her retirement years, besides the golf course, Theresa loved to go to her grandchildren’s activities. Whether it was dance recitals, swimming competitions, figure skating, hockey games, whatever the kids were involved in, she loved going to watch……… All of us counted on her to also be our backup babysitter, without hesitation, she would pitch in wherever she could as her time with her grandkids was pretty special.

I often thought of Theresa as a type of mentor as well. Many of us, including Karen and her brothers, participated in cooking lessons. Whether it was learning how to make perogies and cabbage rolls, her famous butter rolls, or dill pickles, Theresa was always eager to show us all. The only problem was, very often, there was no recipe… you just add a little bit of this and a smidgen of that, the good news is that one of the grandchildren has captured this on video to help us along if need be. The other good thing, Karen has got a few of these things mastered and will carry on the traditions for the family.

Our Christmas’s will always be memorable, Theresa and Joe would host the annual Xmas event right up to just a few years ago. They would make sure we all sat at a table in the basement – wall to wall -  carrying the food up and down the stairs but the more around the table the happier Theresa was. This past Xmas we were so blessed that Theresa was able to join us at our home with most of the family, for what will be remembered now as a very special xmas.

Theresa had patience like no one else I have ever seen.  As many of you know Joe was an avid shopper, whether it was the local thrift shop, bargain store or sometimes the garbage dump at the lake,  Joe brought home many found treasures for Theresa. In her later years she became very astute and was quick to help him set up a display area deep in the basement…….. perfect location for those treasures.
In 2,000 George purchased some land just on top of the valley and that became a frequent spot for Joe and Theresa to spend some time. Theresa loved to garden and she took advantage of the space and took pride in her cucumber patch and was eager to share in the potatoe patch for what would eventually turn into the perogies……….  As part of this area, George had built a tree stand and feeding program for the deer on his land, the tree stand was equipped with some very nice burlap curtains and a heater. One day George went out to watch what was coming in for deer, he went up the stairs of the tree stand, looked like the door was slightly ajar, pushed it open, and sitting there was Joe and Theresa cuddled up in a blanket, waiting to video tape the big one. Theresa made sure they had ample food to eat and hot coffee to drink as they spent their days looking for the elusive “Big one”

Another great love for Theresa was their animals. Through the years, they had no hesitation taking in a stray dog or cat. Frank and Tammy were the beneficiary of one very special dog, Trixie which became their life long pet and instilled the importance of rescuing the dogs and cats that often would come along at the lake, most recently Diggs. In her later years, Theresa cherished her two cats that were great company for her. She was so very pleased that Misty and Chico, found a great foster home and are being well taken care of .

Raising six kids was a bit of a challenge however Theresa became very thrifty over the years. The arrival of the flyers in the mail was an event in itself, from that developed the grocery list. As family members took over the job of grocery shopping for Theresa, we quickly learned how to shop and be more price conscious. Andy has inherited this trait by the way and often will drive miles to get a bargain. Theresa would go through those flyers in detail, and our list was very specific, this kind of soup, at this price, don’t get it if it is this price, etc. Some of us veered a little sometimes and would buy a bigger container of milk, or a case of soup, or even, God forbid, something not on sale. She would not say anything to you directly, but the next person would hear that so and so, did not follow the list.

There are many memories of Theresa and these are just a few key moments during her lifetime. All the grandchildren had great stories to share and there was always one common theme, how much there gramma loved them and how much they loved spending time with gramma. 

Sometimes certain members of the family made decisions she may not agree with, but in the words of Mother Theresa,
“If you judge people you have no time to love them” .  That was Theresa’s motto, she would never pass judgement on anyone.

After a visit with Theresa, Theresa’s parting words were “
LOVE YOU GUYS”  and I am sure that is what she would like me to say to the family today………  “Love you guys”

Theresa with grand daughter Carrie right.