Mother of the Year Leila Abdallah says mum’s the most important title

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Mother of the Year Leila with Danny Abdallah and their children Liana, Alex and Michael in their home in Sydney. Pictured behind them in a frame are their children Antony, Angelina and Sienna. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Inspiring mum pays tribute to ‘the greatest mother’, Mary the mother of Christ

Mother of the Year Leila Abdallah, who lost three of her young children to a driver affected by drugs and alcohol, says that she will always pray for and support women who like her, have lost a child.

Ms Abdallah said she felt “humbled, privileged and grateful” to be chosen and dedicated her award to all bereaved mothers. “I was extremely surprised, I didn’t see it coming,” she said.

The Sydney Maronite Catholic and her husband Danny inspired the nation when they forgave the driver who crashed into their four eldest children, killing Antony, Angelina and Sienna along with their niece Veronique Sakr and injuring their daughter Liana and their nephew Charbel Kassas in February last year.

In February with the Sakr family they launched I4GiveDay, an annual day to encourage people to seek healing through forgiveness, in memory of the children.

Leila, with her husband Danny, has been passionate about sharing how she has gained strength and solace in her Catholic faith.

“A wise mother prays for her family, leads them to God and points them towards heaven,” she told The Catholic Weekly following news of her award.

Faith also helped her to take with equanimity the loss of some precious sentimental items connected with the children during a recent house robbery.

“The reason the robbery we had at our home didn’t upset us is because we have detached ourselves from the material, worldly things and attached ourselves to spiritual things that matter so much more; to kindness, love, and care for each other,” Ms Abdallah said. “These are the things to strive for.”

During the coming year, the mother of six said she would continue to support all bereaved mothers, particularly with her prayers.

“And I will continue to give my children Liana, Alex and Michael everything they need to be truly strong in this world and to lead them to heaven,” she said.

The mother of six says that ‘Mother’ is the most important title in the world and in a statement paid tribute to her husband Danny and all of her children as well as her mother, mother-in-law, Bridget Sakr and Rania Kassas. “Any mother will tell you, losing a child is the hardest thing imaginable, but you never actually surrender or give up,” said Ms Abdallah. “They are still present in your life.

“While they may not all be here for me to physically look after them, they are a constant presence in my life.”

“I am a mother to six children. While they may not all be here for me to physically look after them, they are a constant presence in my life.” She added that “the greatest Mother of all is Mary, mother of Jesus and all of us”.

The national award was given by Christian organisation Family Voice Australia. Greg Bondar, awards selection committee chairman, said the committee was “delighted” to have given Ms Abdallah the award.

“The award seeks to honour mothers of all families, highlight their important role in the development of children, and recognise the positive impact of mothers at home, work, in the church and in the family,” he said.

“Leila has become an inspiration to all mothers on dealing with life’s worst events with calmness, inner peace and love.”

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