SummaryThrough blessings, ordeals, and road trips, the Barretto family has learned to be grateful for the gifts that God gives them and to keep their trust in Him.
“For All Things Work Together for Good to Those Who Love God and Are Called to His Purpose” Romans 8:28
My husband Renden and I were both born and raised in strong Catholic families in Mumbai, India.
Our parishes were within a mile in the same town. We were both members of the Legion of Mary, and we met through a Catholic Charismatic prayer group.
We have been happily married for eighteen years and have three children. Cherub, our oldest son, is a seventeen-year-old high school senior. Seraphina is eleven and in sixth grade. Elijah will be eight soon; he is in the third grade and will be receiving Confirmation and First Communion this year!
Renden, our son Cherub, and I arrived in Florida from India in 2003 for employment. We fell in love with this beautiful country, and it has been our home for the past 16 years!
Both Renden and I had studied in Catholic schools. Renden received his Computer Engineering degree from a Catholic college, and I became a teacher in the same Catholic school that I had attended.
We wanted to give Cherub a wholesome Catholic education. When two parochial schools failed us, we turned to homeschooling, which is all the Lord’s doing and is marvelous in our eyes! We registered with Seton in 2010, and have benefitted very much from it all through the years!
Seton has motivated our family to live our lives according to God’s will and plan. The children have profited tremendously by the curriculum, which helps inculcate and build virtue, discipline, perseverance, confidence, and intelligence.
In the spring of 2019, Cherub scored 1460 in his SAT, and Seraphina, once a timid person, won a trophy for achieving a superior rating at the piano competition three years in a row!
Nurturing Faith and Family
A day at the Barretto household starts with morning prayers, and then Renden makes us a hot breakfast and homemade bread. The children help in cleaning up thereafter and then follow Seton’s lesson plan to do their schoolwork for the next few hours.
Later, the kids help mommy cook lunch, as our meals are made from scratch. After lunch, back to some more school work and chores before the doorbell rings, as the neighborhood kids look for them to come out and play.
Prayer and Bible discussions are the pillars of our home. We have a small altar in our home where we gather for saying the Rosary. Our growing zeal for the Faith led us to a gem nestled in Orlando called Incarnation Catholic Church, which belongs to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Cherub regularly serves as an acolyte.
With the help of our loving and supportive holy pastor, we introduced the Legion of Mary to the parish, through which we serve and evangelize together as a family.
“We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:12)
The Catholic curriculum intertwines our Faith with our life. Our Faith was soon tested through a fiery ordeal. In 2012, my father developed brain cancer and was given only a month to live, but suddenly, his health deteriorated overnight. I had to leave within three hours for Mumbai.
As legal residents of the U.S., every time we traveled abroad, we required a special document with the current date to re-enter the US. I made sure I had that travel document with me, and I left for Mumbai, leaving behind my husband and kids. My stay in India was supposed to be for a week, spending quality time with my father.
A week later, at Mumbai airport, while waiting to board my plane back to the U.S., I received the most devastating news: my travel document had expired and I would not be permitted to take the flight home. We were in a shockingly impossible situation.
My travel document could not be renewed from outside the U.S., and staying abroad meant abandoning my Permanent Resident application! Unfortunately, Renden couldn’t travel to India unless he renewed his document.
After a painful three-month wait, Renden and the children came to me in Mumbai. While I waited for a miracle, I thanked God for homeschooling, for despite our ordeal, my kids’ schooling did not suffer. Thanks to Seton, we could continue schooling from thousands of miles away from our home!
This was the only silver lining in the dark cloud. After six months, in May 2013, through God’s miraculous intervention and Renden’s relentless efforts, it became possible for me to step back into my home in Florida, with a grateful heart and tears of joy.
This reminds me of a quote from St. John Neumann: “O, what emotions were mine when I set foot on American soil.”
Seton for All Occasions
Homeschooling with Seton is a tremendous blessing not just in times of crisis, but also when planning a vacation.
The textbooks display lovely pictures, stories, and information about saints and cathedrals which inspire us. Seraphina has started making a list of all the places we should visit or to make a pilgrimage.
In this country, we take many things for granted, such as highways and rest stops, the varied terrains, even the history that makes this country so great. Recently, we went on an impromptu road trip with no specific plans, only prayers, and Seraphina’s list.
We headed north from Orlando, Florida, to Niagara Falls, Canada, and back via Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. We attended Latin Mass in a 200-year-old church in Kentucky, venerated the relics of St. John Neumann at his Shrine, and saw St. Katherine Drexel’s crypt.
We visited Baltimore’s first Cathedral where the fathers of the Baltimore Catechism celebrated Mass, and we saw the lately-discovered underground chapel.
Our family cherished every moment on our trip, and blessed and thanked God for this gorgeous and great country where we are privileged to live.
From our ordeal and our road trip, we have understood not to take things for granted, but to cherish and to be grateful for all gifts, big and small, that God gives us, and to keep trusting the Lord even in uncertainties.
God’s Will for us is always marvelously perfect!