To know Jean Maria Kwagala, the ten-year-old who never recovered from a drowning incident that occurred on 6/12/2021 in Methuen, Massachusetts, was to know an angel right here on earth. She was one of those obedient superstar kids, rare to find that every mother would have loved to parent - she excelled in almost everything she put her hands on.
She loved life and made friends with everyone in her circle and she won all the awards at her school Saint Patrick in Lowell, and at home as well! In challenges where she could not possibly find a quick pathway to succeed, she called upon her guardian Angel and the Blessed Mother, in her customary prayerful manner -to help turn her creativity on, much to the amazement of her teachers, peers, and parents.
Her mom Margaret Kyakuwa - says on Thursday 6/10/2021, when school closed for the summer break she came home with many awards and they couldn’t possibly go through them all during the ride back home. Best reader, Best environment leader, Best behaved” Best in Mathematics, if there was a “Best” award out there at Saint Patrick school, it had Jean Maria Kwagala written all over it –“she easily won these “Best of everything awards”, her Mom said.
Mom realized that she had to make time to go over each award in acknowledgement of her gifted daughter’s effort, she devised a plan and struck a deal with Maria, to look at one “Best award” every Sunday until they were all properly celebrated and to add to the excitement a hug was to follow each one of them as enticement for delayed gratification, and that sat well with Maria!
Her mom says that if she were ever to write a story about her Angelic child Maria Kwagala, words could not properly express all the gifts that she possessed. “She was a partner who broke the monotony of my stressful work days by a warm welcome and a huge winning smile and a quick offer to make me a sweet cup of tea”. She sang a lullaby to her younger brother to go to sleep every evening and she was also an incredible cook at such a young age.
Her love for God was contagious at home and in Sunday School- she did not go to bed without prayer. “I want to be a religious Doctor and Teacher as well so I could help people” she would say! When asked what kind of life she would rather live, having learned of purgatory, she said “pious or non”, her devotion was unshakable even in her perception of what adult life would be like.
She worried about souls in purgatory and she prayed for the dead whenever she went past cemeteries. She would say to her Mom, please help me keep all the coins as offering for the poor souls in purgatory that need to be expiated.
Maria’s conversations with her Dad were amazing, if you were in the next room listening to them talk you’d be amazed at her ability to engage adults with incredible intelligence. In a phone conversation with her Jajja (Grandma), who expressed a wish to come and babysit her, she replied ably and told her that needn’t worry about all that, she would be the one Babysitting Jajja.
Thursday and Wednesday were her Hamburger days at Burger King, and Mummy made the burgers just as good, but she loved these outing days much as she was cautious not to overspend. Her favorite day to go to school was Tuesday for Art and computer classes, she was so creative in making Birthday cards mummy did not need to spend money on them. “I'm going to miss her, she was mummy's girl and Daddy's girl too, such a sweet soul with incredible spiritual maturity” – says her Mom! She is going to be sorely missed by many in the Ugandan community of Boston and her family and friends. Maria united people in life, during her short stay in the Hospital at Tufts he and now in death.
Her last conversation with her mom “No matter what happens keep smiling and keep praying no matter what happens, tell all your friends to do the same” as she dropped her off in Methuen for the very last time, she won the hearts of Doctors and Nurses at Tufts Medical in her last days and she somehow managed to pull a promise from her brother -that he would take care of their Mom like she did -during her absence.
Family and friends are invited to visiting hours on Saturday June 26, 2021 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at St William Church, 1351 Main Street Tewksbury, MA. A Funeral Mass will follow the visitation at 12:30 pm at the church.
On Monday June 28, 2021 Family and friends are invited once again to visiting hours from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Sacred Heart Church 321 South Broadway, Lawrence. A Funeral Mass will follow the visitation at 11:00 am at the church. Burial will follow in St Joseph Cemetery, 96 Riverneck Road Chelmsford, MA.
Memorial contribution in memory of Maria may be made to https://gofund.me/71e4b38f
Arrangements are by the Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen. To leave an online condolence, please visit Maria’s tribute page at www.dewhirstbolesfuneral.com
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