The 12 D’Cruz siblings got together for a reunion earlier this year. Courtesy of Rosemarie de Souza

Faith roots run deep among 12 siblings

By 
  • December 20, 2019

Christmas was always special in the D’Cruz family — that tends to happen when there are 12 kids — but through the decades they have never let the secular overtake the religious in celebrating the season.

To this day, the dozen siblings of Indian descent continue to live and pass on the tenets of the Catholic faith that was so important in their upbringing. That’s thanks mostly to their parents, Michael and Cecilia, said Genevieve Falcao, who seems much younger than her 92 years. She said it was their parents who instilled in the children — all still active and ranging in age from 74 to 96 — a love for their religion and who she believes are still on the lookout for their offspring.

“We all feel passionately that they are praying for us constantly to be true to what they taught us to be a good and faithful servant,” said Falcao.

This comes through at Christmas time, which Falcao recalls as a wonderful time in the D’Cruz family, both while growing up in England and then after the family crossed the Atlantic to settle in Toronto.

“We’d even have Santa Claus and we’d do a little Christmas pageant,” recalls Falcao. “We used to do all that at one time. There were enough of us. We all had kids and the kids were still at home.”

But it goes back further, back to the family’s days in England, where Falcao said her parents really instilled the true meaning of Christmas. They weren’t a wealthy family and that meant there was none of the “I want this, I want that” that has evolved over the years in our consumerist, and increasingly, secular society.

“My parents made sure that whatever we had was something we would appreciate,” she said. “In our stockings we would get oranges and walnuts, you know, things like that. We never got expensive toys. So we learned from when we were very young to really appreciate whatever we got.”

Falcao has tried to pass this along to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And one way is to always make sure the Christmas cards she sends them — most of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are in the United States — is “always a religious card.”

“I try to get the picture of the baby Jesus on them,” she said, to remind the youngsters of the real reason behind the season.

The kids have received this year’s cards and through the help of modern technology were able to connect with their “Oma.”

“They received the card so they FaceTime’d me and they were so excited because of this little baby on the card,” she said. “It did mean something to them.”

As for connecting with her siblings nowadays, the 12 were able to meet face to face earlier this year. But at Christmas it’s mostly through FaceTime that the family stays in touch. Of the 12, most are in the Toronto area, with one sister in Switzerland, another in San Diego and yet another sibling settled in London, Ont.

“We can’t do without it,” said Falcao of FaceTime. “You can get all dressed up and then you can call. You look so good on your iPad or on your computer.”

Age may be a factor for most of the siblings, and many no longer drive. But it hasn’t kept them away from their beloved Catholic Church. One brother made it his life’s calling. Michael is a retired priest in Toronto after serving many parishes in the archdiocese, though he continues to help where he can in carrying on priestly duties. Others contribute in various ways, including as eucharistic ministers and volunteering with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

As for Christmas 2019, Falcao will be on a plane to a sunnier climate. She intends to spend the season at her daughter’s house in Naples, Fla. 

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Joe D"cruz - Lovely reading in regards all the Family members, Please convey my best to
Mrs. Pecus (ex-workmate) & wishing all a "Happy Christmas" & may the New Year bring
all you wished,being Prosperous too. God Bless. Janet & Denzil...

Joe D"cruz - Lovely reading in regards all the Family members, Please convey my best to
Mrs. Pecus (ex-workmate) & wishing all a "Happy Christmas" & may the New Year bring
all you wished,being Prosperous too. God Bless. Janet & Denzil (Perth- Australia).

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