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Trust in God, says fire Dad

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Warren and Amelia Wilson smile with their family during an interview with The Catholic Weekly. In the background a Rosary hangs from the wall while Warren holds a picture of Jesus risen from the dead. The two items were salvaged from their fire-ravaged home. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Warren and Amelia Wilson smile with their family during an interview with The Catholic Weekly. In the background a Rosary hangs from the wall while Warren holds a picture of Jesus risen from the dead. The two items were salvaged from their fire-ravaged home. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Even if bad things happen to good people it’s vital to keep suffering in perspective, urges father whose family lost everything to fire

When fire gutted the home of Warren and Amelia Wilson in June, they had no insurance, no savings, and no rental record to enable them to rent a house with their nine children.

But thanks to their parish of St Gertrude’s in Smithfield and the children’s Catholic schools, they’re now looking forward to their best Christmas ever.

True to Fr Peter Strohmayer OSPPE’s promise that the community would support the family not just in the traumatic days following the blaze but over the long haul, they’re now preparing to celebrate Christmas in their new home just a short walk from the church and primary school.

“It’s been a really rough time and we still have a long way to go before we can rebuild and be in our own home …”

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With a sympathetic agent and Fr Peter (the parish administrator) as a referee, last week they were able to leave a three-bedroom house they were grateful to be offered for the more comfortable home.

“Just being together is the biggest Christmas gift we can have,” beamed Warren.

“It’s been a really rough time and we still have a long way to go before we can rebuild and be in our own home again, but we’re happy and this Christmas will be a great one,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

“The way people reached out to us from different walks of life, from the church, the priests, and the schools; that was a miracle for us. So it doesn’t have to be an elaborate Christmas but it will be a beautiful one and we thank God for that.”

Warren and Amelia Wilson with their nine children aged 4-21 show the few possessions they were able to save. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Warren and Amelia Wilson with their nine children aged 4-21 show the few possessions they were able to save. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Warren said that as the cost of living continues to rise it’s a struggle to make ends meet while putting money away for the rebuilding of their home.

But he is encouraged by the offers they’ve received through their parish.

His family will be able to rely on volunteer architecture, surveying and building work when they’re ready, as well as new appliances.

“Through all this journey of the last four months every time I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to get help’, bang, help came to us and I’m like, ‘You’re a fool, why did you doubt?’,” Warren said in an interview at their current residence.

“The family are determined to continue giving back to the community that’s supported them ….”

“My message to every family who is worried about how they’re going to manage this Christmas and whatever challenges come next year is to just trust in God and He will find the way … Life isn’t easy, but when you pray from your heart things will be fine. God is always there for us.”

The family, which provides the weekly flower arrangements for their church and music ministry each Sunday evening, are determined to continue giving back to the community that’s supported them so much.

“We’ve learnt that the goodness in so many people’s hearts is really amazing,” he said.

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