Joan Levy Earle, February 6 2020

The Joy of Grandparenting

Originally written by Joan Levy Earle for igNation on Dec 26th, 2019

Malcolm Muggeridge is a familiar name to both Anglicans and Catholics alike. He is best known for his book about St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta called: Something Beautiful for God.

How fortunate for me that some of his family have been blessing my life for years. What joy their friendship has brought to me, beginning with Cecilia Muggeridge who is Malcolm’s great-granddaughter.

I met her for the first time during a retreat near Montreal, Quebec. Her welcome smile made our first encounter memorable; Cecilia is an Assistant Numerary with Opus Dei, helping to operate the Manoir de Beaujeu at Coteau du Lac.

After we became friends, I learned her brother Sebastian Muggeridge is studying for the priesthood with the Companions of the Cross. Through these children, I was introduced to their parents, Christine and John Muggeridge, Jr.

As I looked back over my life as a convert to the Catholic faith, I was reminded of the late Anne Roche Muggeridge, John’s talented mother. Her book: The Desolate City and her articles for Challenge magazine had a great impact on my faith life.

I believe that God provides people to influence our lives and encourage us; we just don’t always see the connection when it happens. As a person who looks for signs, becoming friends with the Muggeridge family has been another sign of God’s love in my life.

Last year I told my Catholic friends, Mary and Peter Crighton about getting to know the Muggeridge family, which prompted an unexpected surprise.

This Toronto artist Peter Crighton said that he possessed an original pencil drawing of Malcolm Muggeridge which was created by an art school acquaintance about 30 years earlier. Peter framed and gave me the drawing for the Muggeridge family.

When he saw the rendering, these words of Malcolm’s grandson John were the perfect response: “Yes, that is certainly my grandfather.”

A new book published by Justin Press in Ottawa is called Grandparents, and one of the contributors is John Muggeridge, Jr., who describes some of the influence of his grandparents, Malcolm and Kitty Muggeridge on his own life.

There are eight other articles with tributes to grandparenting, including one by Louise Bastien which was published in French, in order not to lose any of the original context.

In the introduction written by John Gay, he states: “The connecting thread that runs through all of these stories is gratitude; gratitude for services rendered through love…”

All of us have had grandparents; some have influenced our lives more than others. My paternal grandfather Stanley Levy was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica of a West Indian mother and a Spanish Jewish father.

He emigrated to Montreal as a young man and fell in love with a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed woman from England and they had 13 children, my father being the second oldest son.

I remember Papa Levy as being very smart, and Nana Levy having the ability to play the piano, knit and do needlework. Though they passed from this life in their early seventies, their legacy carries on.

I am grateful for their gifts of an appreciation of music, the depth of wisdom and the pleasure of knitting which continues to fill my life in retirement.

Not all grandparents are as famous or well-respected as Malcolm and Kitty Muggeridge, but they can play an important role in our development from childhood. Some grandparents may be deceased prior to a grandchild’s entering the world, and the relationship might only be through photographs and stories shared.

Those memories are valuable pieces of one’s family tree. For those fortunate to still have grandparents living, gratitude can be offered through cards, phone calls and frequent visits.

Those of us now fortunate to be grandparents know that we have a responsibility to encourage our grandchildren through unconditional love. Time spent together is precious, and when they look back and remember us, we can only hope that those memories will bring a special joy to their own hearts.

Written by

Joan Levy Earle

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