Ave Maria, it’s a girl!
Ave Maria, it’s a girl!
Djuro and Maria Basanovich with their ten children: Mathew Basanovic, 20; Marijan, 18; Tomislav, 17; Marko, 15; Ivan, 13; Adam, 11; Kresi, 9; Franjo, 7; Josip, 5; baby Maria-Ana
By Marilyn Kerjean
After seven months Djuro and Maria Basanovich are still telling the world about the birth of their only daughter, Maria-Ana. Their nine sons, aged 5-20, are still pretty chuffed about it too.
“My husband was so excited, he didn’t believe it was possible to have a girl after so many boys,” says Maria. “He wanted to tell the whole world.
“When I was pregnant I just thought it would nice if I had a girl after all those boys and God answered my prayers, but it would not really have mattered.”
Maria-Ana’s birth made the Daily Telegraph front page on Christmas Day.
Politicians have called upon Australians to have more children to arrest our declining birthrate. The Basanovics, of Bargo, near Camden, agree couples should consider having more children, but for a different reason.
“I wish other parents would accept a new life in their family because it is God’s gift that brings you so much joy, love and blessings from above,” says Maria.
Maria says her family has received many gifts from God. One of them was the healing of their 11-year-old son Adam from kidney cancer around the time Franjo, boy number eight, was born.
A friend arranged for the family to receive a special blessing from Pope John Paul II in April to coincide with Maria-Ana’s christening at the Croatian parish of Our Lady at Blacktown.
Fr Tony Mutnik, the parish priest, allowed the family and their 500 guests to use the church hall for the party afterwards.
Also present was Fr Chris Roberts, from the family’s local parish of St Anthony’s, Picton, who has ministered at all the children’s first sacraments.
“My husband invited all the people we knew since we came to Australia,” says Maria.
“We wanted everyone to be there at the christening so we could share our joy with all our friends.”
Fr Mutnik has known the couple since their marriage.
They wanted to begin a family straight away but he remembers their sadness when after a couple of years they had not conceived.
And he remembers their joy when their first boy, Mathew, was born.
Last week Maria-Ana turned seven months old.
Maria says: “We all love her, there is so much love around her. It is wonderful. I enjoyed all of them but she is already different to the boys when they were babies.
“God is good to everybody, but I know that I can rely on him for help, he gives me strength, sometimes it is hard to raise a family.”
It takes two trips for the devoutly Catholic couple to get all of their family to Mass.
All of the Basanovic children live at home, in their five-bedroom house (some bedrooms have triple bunk beds), except for 18-year-old Marijan who visits often.
“People are probably wondering, ‘Ten children? The house must be so untidy,’ but it isn’t,” says Maria.
“They all help, they do their own rooms and put away their own things. And they listen to my husband – I am a bit soft on them but his word is final.”