By Eric Martin
Good Shepherd Church, Lockridge Parish, came alive with reverent rejoicing during a special Sunday evening Mass on 3 March to celebrate a truly remarkable achievement, the 100th birthday of Adriana Olinda “Olive” Carvalho.
Surrounded by friends and family, Adriana celebrated the secret of her success in reaching 100 years of age.
“I would like to begin by thanking God for giving me the gift of 100 wonderful years.” Adriana said, as she addressed those gathered at Good Shepherd.
“Today, I say with a heart full of gratitude: O’ give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his steadfast love endures forever.”
Adriana directly attributes her longevity to the power of God’s love and her willingness to renew her dedication to her faith on a daily basis.
Her routine starts with morning prayers, breakfast and then the Eucharist, after which she engages in a time of prayer, reciting from her favourite resources, the Pieta and Prayers for Seniors, before repeating the Rosary.
Even the homily was a testament to Adriana’s dedication to her faith and the impact that this has had on those whom she has cared for.
Her godson Fr Gino Henriques CSsR, who is Director of the Singapore-based Evangelization 2033, celebrated the Mass.
“Love is the story of Olive all through her life,” Fr Henriques said.
“The love in her heart kept her faithful both to her faith and to her family – she shows the great love which she has in her heart for us and for the Eucharist.
“I can testify, I happen to be her godson and a first cousin, how whenever I came to preach missions in Bombay, despite being a traditional working mother she would always come and meet me, have a chat with me and always bring me a gift.”
Stories of Adriana’s faith, the devoutness of her life, and the impact that this had on others were repeated themes of the evening’s speeches.
Adriana Olina Sequeira was born on 1 March 1919 in Salifao Goa, a Portuguese colony at that time, the youngest of three siblings and raised lovingly in the Catholic tradition by her parents, Augustine and Fermenia Sequeira.
She attended Mater Dei School in Goa before being admitted to St Xavier’s College in Mumbai (then Bombay) as a student of the arts.
World War II proved a drastic interruption to her studies and two years into her degree Adriana was forced to leave and support herself, finding employment with the then-British Central Telegraphs Office working in the accounts department.
It was her first, last and only job and before retiring at the age of 58, she had spent 35 year supporting her family, her parents and her mother financially at different times through the varied challenges of life.
Adriana met her beloved husband Eugenio Carvalho in Goa, followed by a courtship and wedding in Bombay in 1951.
Their marriage was blessed with five children; Ariana has been further blessed with the arrival of six grandchildren and four great grandchildren, by whom she is lovingly called “Big Nana”.
A loving wife, Adriana spent many years looking after her husband when Eugenio was diagnosed with a heart condition, in and out of hospital she never left his bedside, she would come home just for a shower and a change of clothes before returning to the hospital to be with him.
Eugenio died in 1997, and it was only then that Adriana would agree to be brought out to Australia to join the rest of her family. She arrived in Australia in 2010 and has been here ever since, establishing herself as an active and faithful member of Good Shepherd Church, Lockridge Parish.
Her example, the way in which she has lived out her faith on a consistent, daily basis for 100 years is one that should resonate with all Catholics.