Were Christina still alive, she would have turned 16 today. Christy loved birthdays…especially planning them! She always wanted to invite “everyone” to celebrate with her — even those who didn’t invite her to theirs. One day I told her she didn’t need to invite those who didn’t invite her. To this she replied, “Mom, it doesn’t matter if they invited me; what matters is that I want to share my day with them.”
That was Christy. She knew what mattered. If she were here today, she would be thanking God for all of you. She would also be thanking all of you for being a part of her life and for carrying on her legacy through Build the Faith.
In October of 2017, Christy was nearing the end of her life and she was in hospice. Given her special connection to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we decided to take her to Mexico to the shrine. Though Christy was in a great deal of pain, we felt it was important for her to make this last pilgrimage. Because walking was challenging for Christy, we acquired a wheelchair for the trip. As we were passing by the tabernacle in the shrine, Christy asked me if God would be “mad with her” if she didn’t kneel. I told her God would understand if she didn’t kneel. As I said this, a look of relief swept across Christy’s face. A moment later, though, Christy was rising from her wheelchair and kneeling before the Lord. That’s how strong her belief was in the Blessed Sacrament and how much God meant to her. She was going to express her love and reverence for the Lord, no matter what.
This memory is one I treasure dearly. For such a young girl, Christy truly understood the value and the gift of the Holy Eucharist. In fact, she had remarkably had this understanding since she was eight years old. On the day of her First Communion, she had taken a piece of story paper, drawn a picture of herself receiving the Eucharist and written below the picture, “Today was the best day of my life. I received Jesus.”
I have no doubt that receiving the Eucharist is what has kept me going as I struggle daily with the loss of my daughter. Receiving Jesus gives me a peace and a joy that I cannot even begin to describe. I believe that if Christy were here with us today, she would tell you all that we are so fortunate to have Christ alive in the Eucharist; that it’s the greatest gift of all and we are taking it for granted. She would implore you to go to Mass, receive Holy Communion, and thank the Lord for your life, your family, and your friends. She would tell you that the best birthday present you could ever give her would be to get closer to God and to continue to support her through her non-profit, Build the Faith.
Though we are fortunate enough to have many churches in our hometowns and the surrounding areas, there are millions of people in the world struggling with daily life that do not have a church or any means to receive Jesus and get the spiritual food and support they so desperately need. As Jesus told us,
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. (John 6 53:59)
I feel so blessed to have you all sharing this journey with me. Thanks to your love and support, Build the Faith has been able to spread Christy’s legacy of faith, hope and love around the world and bring the Holy Eucharist to thousands of people.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful Butterfly! I love you and miss you so much!
Jesus, I trust in you.
Monica Lacouture was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She came to the United States in 1995 where she and her husband married and were blessed with three children — Daniel, David and Christina (the inspiration behind Build the Faith).
Although Monica was raised a Catholic and attended parochial schools, she admits that throughout most of her adulthood she was a “lukewarm” Catholic. Her faith took an unexpected turn in late 2012 when she attended a retreat and experienced a personal encounter with Jesus. Little did she know, that three months later she would come to rely heavily on her newly strengthened faith as she dealt with her daughter, Christina’s, terminal cancer diagnosis and treatment. Throughout Christina’s battle with cancer, Monica’s faith grew and in 2016, inspired by Christina’s strong faith and trust in Jesus, Monica, and Fernando founded Build the Faith. As President of Build the Faith, Monica feels blessed to be able to continue her daughter’s legacy of faith and hope.