Lucy Set to Chat her Way into her Second Century

August 26, 2017

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

- Longfellow, US poet and scholar (1807-1882).

Lucy Pinto, with an airy bedroom, with window open to the green lawn and bushy trees, gazes at the stars and the moon as they unfold themselves after sunset in her airy and commodious house, Lawrence Villa, at Mudarangadi, close to St Francis Xavier Church, Kehna, under Udupi diocese. She is now set to cross into her second century on September 4, 2017 – with her close family, neibhours and friends preparing for the great landmark day for her. But, first we should take a passing look at her pedigree and growth through a century.

Born on September 4, 1917, Lucy is the eldest of seven children of Peter (Pedru) and Angelene of Shirva parish. Educational facilities being scarce and affordability to educate limited (children were needed for home and farm work), she didn’t step into any school. Lucy was married off at the age of 14 to Thomas Mendonca who later worked on ocean-going ships, starting at the age of 20, and died of heart attack in 1966 at the age of 59. By that time the couple had eight surviving children (surviving is the key word because in the rural setting many children died young) – five boys and three girls. Two of the latter, Brigette, died following penicillin injection adverse reaction and the second, Angelene, died of snake-bite. The third and youngest of the children, Jacintha, now sporting the congregational name of Sr. Flavia, 59 years, joined the Holy Cross Order and had been Superior of the convent at Neermarga.

The eldest, Fr Lawrence, 79 years, is working for Varanasi diocese and had been Vicar General and Principal of the diocesan college. Of the rest, Jeafry has retired from State Bank, Dominic is working in Muscat, Edward, earlier working in the Gulf, is now retired and Baptist is settled in Bombay. Today, centenarian Lucy has 16 grand-children and 16 great-grand-children.

Coming back to the centenarian Lucy, who is well-known for chatting about her life, the best repository of her recalled memories is Nancy, the dedicated middle-aged care-taker/companion of Lucy for the last nine years in Lawrence Villa where Lucy preferred to live independently for the last fifteen years. Though she was partially paralysed 20 years ago, through physiotherapy in Bombay, she has recovered enough to move around the house and look after her toilet needs unaided.

Asked about her bride-viewing experience, Lucy said that she had no inkling of the visiting party led by the elder brother of the prospective groom. In fact, when the party arrived with the proposal, Lucy was busy thrashing paddy in the courtyard of her house. Her bridegroom was given a dowry of Rs 100 and she was decked with heavy-duty gold which since has been recast into lighter jewellery with a gold chain still worn daily by Lucy along with her rosary. Talking of religious devotion, one of her constant prayers is for priests and nuns to be true to their vows and vocation.

Lucy, working on a plot of six acres has literally sweated it out to bring up her eight children – collecting cashew nuts and cultivating a variety of vegetables and marketing them in Shirva.

Fortunately, her husband, Thomas, who greatly valued education for his children, had squirreled away some savings which were used to educate their children and opened for them doors for religious service and good employment.

Today, Lucy is mentally alert but for age-related reduced hearing and missing some front teeth. Lucy has a sweet tooth with payasam, sweet dishes, mangoes and ice-cram being on her wish-list. If she can be made to hear with high decibels, she has a torrent of replies. For instance, asked about her children, she rattled out all names in the sequence of their birth. As for the future, she surrenders to God’s plans for her and is ready for anything. We can only wish her happy and healthy post-centenary years and conclude with Daniel Webster, US statesman and orator (1782-1858):

“Venerable men! (Here men embrace women, including Lucy – JBM)You have come down to us from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyously!”

Three cheers to Lucy’s Centenary!


By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Valerian Cornelio, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 03 2017

    For your 100th birthday, I wish you the happiest, healthiest, sweetest, luckiest, brightest, sunniest and best of all birthdays!!!!

  • Lorna, Thottam/Miraroad

    Wed, Aug 30 2017

    Congratulations and very happy birthday Mrs.Lucy with good health and joy.

  • Richard Mathias, Santhekatte, Kallianpura. / Oman

    Wed, Aug 30 2017

    Congratulations to Grandmother on completing 100 Years. Great milestone. Wishing a good health. Great occasion to celebrate the century. Regards and best wishes to Dominic and the entire family members.
    Regards from Richard Mathias and Family. Santhekatte, Kallianpura.

  • Henry George D'Souza, Borivali/Mudrangadi

    Wed, Aug 30 2017

    Congratulations Lucy Mousi and wish you Happy Centenary Birthday. By reading the article, many of my memories have been refreshened. Incidentally, my dad Felix D'Souza and Thomas uncle were seamen and good samaritans of Mudarangadi at that time.

  • Benedicta Machado, Pangla/Udyavar

    Tue, Aug 29 2017

    Congratulations Baa, May God Bless you with good health and happiness.

    Wishes from Benny, Dony, Romel, Robin and Cristin

  • Lucy Rodrigues, Moodubelle/Andheri

    Tue, Aug 29 2017

    Congratulations and best wishes to Baa on this great occasion. May God bless her with good health and happiness.

  • jerry Mascarenhas, Madanthayar/Muscat

    Tue, Aug 29 2017

    Congratulations to our Baa.Have a very happy 100 th birthday. we were lucky to visit her in February and take blessing from her.May God keep her in good health always.Wishing her many many more birthdays with good health.We love you Baa.

    Wishes from Jerry,Pauline,Joel and Janice.

  • george, Mlore

    Tue, Aug 29 2017

    Happy Centenary Birthday to our Grand Mom Lucy. God grant her good health, peace and happiness throughout her life.

  • William Mendonca, Agardande, Mudarangadi

    Mon, Aug 28 2017

    I wish my beloved mousi (eldest sister of my mother) sound health, happiness and peace of mind throughout. Proud to be present in her centenary celebration.

  • Stany D'Souza, Mumbai / Bondel / Miyar

    Mon, Aug 28 2017

    Congratulations Lucy bai on achieving this important milestone. May the Lord bless you with good health and happiness in the days to come.

  • Cecilia Pinto Lobo, Shirva/Mumbai/USA

    Sun, Aug 27 2017

    Congratulations Lucy Akka May God bless you with his abundance good health and many more years I truly cherish my childhood summer holidays spent with you year after year
    A great moment for the family and proud to be one among them

  • Vincent Castelion, Mudarangadi

    Sun, Aug 27 2017

    Congratulations on this amazing milestone. May this day be filled with sunshine and smiles, laughter and love. Have a very Happy 100th Birthday.

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sun, Aug 27 2017

    Wishing Health & Happiness to this Grand Old Lady ...

  • Gracy Machado, Mumbai

    Sat, Aug 26 2017

    Very much proud to have my dad's eldest sister akka wish u good health happy 100 yes great moment

  • Shiny Furtado, London, United Kingdom

    Sat, Aug 26 2017

    So proud of you Baa. We are blessed to have you as our grand mother. You are an example of hard work, kindness and love. Wishing you many more years of good health.

  • Sr. Neeta Alva, Pangala now Neermarga

    Sat, Aug 26 2017

    Congratulations to our great and common Baa. She has always been an affectionate, kind and witty Baa. Everyone enjoyed her wit and fun. Baa is a light to the family. We love you Baa. May the Lord keep you in good health and renewed vigour.

  • Arun Rebello, Kundapur

    Sat, Aug 26 2017

    Happy Centenary Birthday wishes to our beloved Lucy Mai (popularly known as "Baa").
    "100 years" of memories and 100 years of life...You are very special and surely honour is due for all the great experiences that life has given you. You've done more in a lifetime than others can only dream, and you are the most amazing 100 year old that most have ever known or seen! Happy birthday!

    Wishes from Arun, Mamatha and Cindy.

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