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 Photo Jana

From the OLSH Randwick Parish Bulletin, her story by Jana Rajnoch.

In 1982 the Rajnoch family – my parents, Zdenka and Jan, my two brothers Paul and Lukas and myself at a young age arrived in Australia. We first stayed at the Endeavour Hostel in South Coogee. We were very blessed to land in Australia and stay in such a beautiful part of Sydney.

Coming from a communist country, unable to freely practice our faith, we had to leave everything behind as have many others. My parents couldn’t tell anyone we were leaving for safety reasons, knowing they would most likely never see them again. I admire the strength, courage and faith of my parents, especially my mother, to leave everything they knew, everything they had as well as their families and friends, knowing they may never see them again. My younger brother was only one and a half years old the day we crossed the border and we left with two suitcases that contained mainly nappies.

Arriving in Australia after staying in a camp in former Yugoslavia for three months, my father was the only one who spoke a bit of English. The first few years were challenging as they are for many, arriving in a new country with a different culture, not speaking the language and not having the education and qualification recognised.

our lady of the sacred heart randwick 407km 2851

My parents had to take whatever jobs they could. With three children and language limitations they didn’t have many choices. They were grateful for everything. They worked hard, starting from scratch and were grateful to live in a free country where you can freely practice your faith. My older brother and I started working as soon as we could while we were still at school so we could pay for our school fees, uniforms, school books, and other expenses to help our parents. We really had to pull together in every way and whenever conflict arose, we had to put our differences aside. I remember how mum would walk home after a long day at work instead of catching a bus so she could save a few cents to be able to buy a loaf of bread for us.

In the first few days after our arrival we went for a walk to Coogee Beach and on the way it was the first time we saw a fruit and vegetable shop full of fresh produce. We were really taken by that. We were able to buy ONE apple. I still remember how the five of us shared our first apple at Coogee Beach, a very special moment till this day.

All these experiences made us very resilient and grateful for all we have. As we had no family and didn’t know anyone, we were forced to work   through our differences at times and many challenging situations along the way. This also strengthened my faith as often I turned to God and was always drawn to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. All these experiences were great training for life in communication, patience, conflict-resolution, gratitude, appreciation and how to deal with things in various situations throughout life.

I went to Brigidine College. A stand-out experience was being part of the school orchestra playing the violin, and the school orchestra performing at the Opera House. I have moved in and out of the area a few times and every time I’m back, I enjoy coming to OLSH as this is the parish where my faith really deepened and strengthened as I went through various challenges throughout my life.

randwick shrine

Having faith can get you through anything in life. I had faith in the past, however as I went through some difficult times in my life, I have witnessed and experienced many miracles and blessings along the way which are humanly impossible and for which I am very grateful. Having had the grace to experience these, it really strengthened my faith to another level where I have total certainty God exists.

The peace, serenity, calm, hope, strength, and guidance God provides when we truly surrender is humbling. Being present in every moment and notice all the beauty around us that God created, as well as being grateful for everyone and everything and acknowledging all the blessings and miracles in our daily lives gives us so much peace in our hearts. The impossible becomes possible and when we let go of the past and forgive others for their actions, however hurtful and painful they may have been, we gain so much peace, joy and freedom in our hearts and in our life. I feel truly blessed and have so much to be grateful for in every moment.

We can all choose to hold onto hurts, resentments and any injustices from the past and be captive to that, or we can find the hidden blessing in every situation and find the peace and joy in our hearts.

Photo Jana