June Volunteer Spotlight – Kathleen Too
Written by Radio Maria England on 07/06/2021
Why are you involved with Radio Maria? (How did you hear about it, what are your hopes for this, would you encourage people to listen and why?)
I started volunteering for Radio Maria England last year just before the lockdown period. My friend, Alessio Manetto, asked for my help and he said that the Radio station was really short of volunteers. I can vouch for that last statement, there is so much to do and the Radio Maria England team of volunteers is still very small. So every little helps.
During my time at Radio Maria England, I have learnt not only about social media campaigns but also I was approached to help with new programmes. My first programme was about English Marian Shrines. Little did I know that there are many Marian Shrines around England and Wales and not only the major ones like Our Lady of Walsingham. The more involved I became with the Radio Maria station, the more blessings came to me. The latest programme that I led is called “Science and Faith”. There were a lot of questions in my head for decades around evolution and Darwin and the book of Genesis (How did the Lord create the universe in 6 days? Who were Adam and Eve?). Even if I am a practising catholic, I often brushed these topics aside, using the excuses of life is too busy and refusing to think the issues through. I did my postdoc in the Medical Research Council- Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB). If people know of this lab, it is often nicknamed the “Nobel Prize Factory”. For those who do not know the lab, the work of the MRC-LMB has been awarded 12 Nobel Prizes to date and over 30 Nobel Fellows have at some point or another in their career, been a researcher in the lab whether as a student, postdoc or principal investigator. I still remember many cheese and wine evenings after guest lectures/ colloquium, and during one of the after lectures chat, one of the Directors of the MRC-LMB (by the way, he is now a Nobel Prize Winner) said in a group conversation that one cannot be a religious catholic believer whilst at the same time believing in evolution and doing research in molecular biology. Up until then, I reflect on that conversation and I did not have any answers at the time to answer back to him. I felt a bit like Peter the Apostle, denying the Lord (but in my case a lot more than 3 times in my scientific career). My faith was not deep enough and in fact I had never really found or looked for the answers to those questions myself. After one of the communications meeting of Radio Maria England on zoom, Fr. Sam, the Director of Radio Maria England asked me if I would help the President, Dr Charles Wilson, to lead the radio programme on Science and Faith, it felt like the Lord’s calling to address those science and faith issues that I had. Through this programme, I have met many very accomplished scientists and professors in Cambridge but also worldwide. We recorded 8 shows so far and more to come. Through this, I not only learnt the answers to the questions that I had, all answers viewed with a scientific lens (If you want the answers to the questions by the way, you will have to listen to my show: https://anchor.fm/scienceandfaith1), but I also learnt how to audio edit podcasts, I widened my network of scientific contacts and improved my marketing/ coordination/ promotion and organisational skills. This has led to me becoming a more fulfilled individual with many blessings in my own career in publishing. Truthfully, the Lord is great and Mother Mary is watching over me, and I would truly encourage everyone to get involved.
Why is your Faith important to you? – Was there a period in your life when Faith became particularly important?
There have been several special encounters with God. I see them often as special signs that the Lord is watching over me and has my best interest at heart. My first visit to Lourdes was in 2000 with my mum and dad. My parents had treated me to this amazing tour of Europe (Calais, Paris, Geneva, Monaco, Nice, Milan, Florence, Venice, Verona, Rome) as a graduation present and we decided to end the summer vacation with a visit to Lourdes. There, I am not so sure how to describe this special moment. It was like baring everything in front of the Lord and presenting all that I am and feeling so blessed and trusting in the Lord and that he knows what is best for me and leaving all my worries and uncertainties at his feet. I later realised that some might describe it as the “gift of tears”. It was the most beautiful holiday ever. So 5 years later when my dad passed away, my mum and I felt the need to go back to Lourdes to seek that healing experience and the consolation of our lady in the feeling of deep loss. Mum and I bonded like never before and we have tried to go back to Lourdes whenever she is visiting UK / Europe. I will keep the other encounters for some other day.
What is your local Church and are you active in any of its groups? What do you most enjoy about Church?
Currently I split my time between St Philip Howard (SPH) and Our Lady of Assumption and the English Martyrs (OLEM) depending on my weekend schedules and availability. Both churches have truly amazing parishioners. At Olem, I love the 5 Alive choir and their choice of songs. I love hearing the second reading in French, and the music and songs remind me of the songs back in Mauritius where I grew up. I also got to know a lot more of the parishioners during the lockdown when they organised rosary chains so that there was a rosary said every hour for the intentions of the group, but also for the healing of covid19 sufferers. At St Philip Howard, I joined a very active rosary group and we pray online everyday at 7.30pm the different mysteries, the Divine Chaplet, St Joseph Prayer, the Angel Prayer, Oratio Imperata and sometimes a novena e.g. the latest being the Novena for the Holy Spirit during the 9 days from the Ascension of our Lord to Pentecost feast. The SPH rosary ladies are one of the most generous and kind people I have recently met. They helped me to organise the cake sale for Radio Maria England raising a total of £150. Thank you so much everyone for your generosity and contributions.
If you would like to volunteer, please email Volunteers@RadioMariaEngland.uk and we’ll be happy to speak to you about your talents!