By Theresia Titus
Being a young mother is undoubtedly daunting to any woman.
Perth woman Therese Le-Sanders, who recently became mum to a baby girl, spoke to The Record about her journey as a daughter, teacher and now mother of a baby girl.
For Therese, being a young, Catholic mother has a significant aspect to her life.
“I think it is extra special, it’s like a gift,” she said.
“I didn’t know how it would feel to be a mother until I held my baby in my arms.
“It was then that I realised that I am going to be the person who is going to nourish her, give her life and also teach her to become like me or even better.”
Therese shared several photos of her daughter with The Record and said that she already has many visions for her little one. Having her daughter grows up in the Catholic faith is one of them.
“It is up to her where she wants to go, but I want her to have that [Catholic] faith,” she said.
“The fact that she is going to be grounded in good morals and values through our faith and will learn to be a kind person in the future, helping other people, while also aiming to be a disciple of Jesus, is crucial to me.”
Therese admitted that her inspiration to be the best mother for her daughter comes from her own life experience.
“I would like my daughter to have the same experience as I did.
My mum has been consistent in her style of parenting and still looks after my family; she is still an outstanding mother to me,” she said.
“My mum has been a rock for me and seeing her still mothering [me] is amazing.
“It encourages me to aim to be that kind of mother to my daughter, in addition to spreading the faith like she has to me.
“It’s such a beautiful feeling,” she continued.
Born in Australia, Therere’s her father Minh Le is the President of the Vietnamese Catholic Community in Perth.
Therese told The Record that both of her parents fled Vietnam during the war, forcing them to leave the seminary and convent. They met in Perth as refugees.
Therese credits her parents for the faith she has. From a very young age, she has been involved with music at her local parish of Bayswater and the Vietnamese Catholic Community, as well as teaching Sacramental classes.
“My dad used to play the organ at Claremont Parish, St Thomas the Apostle Church and he would teach us how to play the organ. I never had a music teacher, it was my dad who taught me,” she said.
“He would ask us to play at the beginning and end of our evening prayer, and then Fr Nguyen Mong Huynh had found out that we had done that so he asked if we would like to play at the parish Mass.”
Therese reinforced that it has been her mother, in addition to her own experience of becoming a mother, which strengthens her Catholic faith.
Therese recalled the moment her mother had a stroke.
“We were terrified, but my mum has a profound faith in God, always trusting and always full of confidence, accepting that whatever God has planned for her she would accept,” she said.
Speaking about her own experience, Therese explained how her own faith was tested during the birth of her daughter, a 36 hour labour.
“The birth of my baby is a big deal for me because I thought, ‘after the pain, my baby came out naturally and healthily’, and we just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Therese says her personal experiences and the support she has received from her family, Church and school community has molded her into the Catholic woman she is today, and allowed her to nurture the faith of the students she teaches.
“I look forward to strengthening my daughter’s faith and love of Christ by providing her with the same engaging opportunity,” she said.
“I pray that she will be passionate about being involved with the Church, and that her contribution will positively impact the life of others.”
From pages 22 to 23 of Issue 16: ‘Celebrating Women’ of The Record Magazine