Francis Xavier Matovu, 82 and Princess Bernadette Nassuna, 77, recently marked 50 years in marriage. The celebrations at their home in Kabuwoko, Masaka, attracted the Bishop Emeritus of Hoima, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward Albert Baharagate, who presided over the thanksgiving mass
- Francis Xavier Matovu, 82 and Princess Bernadette Nassuna, 77, recently marked 50 years in marriage. The celebrations at their home in Kabuwoko, Masaka, attracted the Bishop Emeritus of Hoima, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward Albert Baharagate, who presided over the thanksgiving mass
By Mathias Mazinga
Francis Xavier Matovu
I met my dear wife, Bernadette, through my friend, Pius Kasirye, with whom I was teaching at Kasozi.
One afternoon, as we relaxed after having lunch, Pius told me about a beautiful girl who worked in Rakai as the head of community
Pius told me Bernaddete was a well-behaved girl, which was why he wanted me to marry her. Subsequently, Pius made arrangements for me to meet Bernadette.
Even before I met her, I had already made a decision to marry her because all along, I had desired to have a wife who knew cookery and home economics in general.
When Bernadette came to visit, we did not talk a lot. I just declared my intention to marry her and she also accepted, without giving me any excuses.
You must note that I was a junior secondary school teacher, which was a high level academic status at that time.
Well, we soon made arrangements to meet her parents. Of course at that time things were different. We did not take a convoy of vehicles as people do today. I was accompanied by about four people and we took simple items like sugar,
soap and meat.
Later on, we organised our wedding. We exchanged our marriage vows at Kasozi Catholic Church on August 26, 1961.
Msgr. Lawrence Walakira presided over our wedding mass, which started at 10:00am.
We held a reception at Biikira parish hall, after which we went for another reception at my parents’ home in Kiwoomya.
We served our guests soft drinks like soda accompanied by roasted groundnuts and pastries. You know, at that time, the culture of buffets had not come.
We also hired traditional Ganda dancers to entertain our guests. Surely, I don’t regret marrying Bernadette. She has been very patient, tolerant and caring. It has been with her support that I have been able to educate all our children, who are all well-placed. We have bankers, teachers, administrators, in the family.
I would be a liar if I told you that I had not had any quarrel with Bernadette. As a couple that had no prior knowledge of each other, we inevitably had misunderstandings. But we always applied the Christian virtues of patience, tolerance and forgiveness to prevail over our confl icts.
I got in contact with my husband, Francis Xavier, through his friend Pius Kasirye, to whom I was known. Kasirye had seen me doing community development work in Rakai and had probably admired my character. So, he proposed to Francis Xavier to marry me.
One day, Kasirye approached me and persuaded me to meet Francis, whom he said wanted to marry me. He also assured me that Francis was ideal husband material. He then took me to Kasozi, where I met and had an evening chat with Francis.
Francis impressed me. He was a learned man with progressive ideas. He was also a staunch Christian. I realised that we would rhyme well as husband and wife.
Francis later told me he admired my wisdom and creativity. I was an on-job trained midwife, with a wide knowledge of home economics. I had done my informal training with the White Sisters at Rubaga.
Well, there and then we agreed to enter into a marital relationship and soon started to organise our introduction ceremony and subsequent wedding.
The introduction ceremony was a simple one. Francis came with one car, accompanied by only three people, for the introduction at my father’s home at Kateerero in Kkooki. They also brought few goodies.
We organised our wedding soon after. Our wedding mass at Kasozi was attended by many people. But we managed to serve all of them with soda, ground nuts and pastries at the reception at the church hall.
Later on in the evening, we had another reception at the home of Francis’ parents, where traditional Ganda ensembles entertained our guests. We served our guests with soft drinks like soda and local brew.
Needless to say, we have had serious challenges and problems in our marriage. But our Christian training has helped us to overcome all these. For example, Francis would at times become problematic after taking beer.
But by the power of prayer and the virtues of patience and forgiveness, I tolerated the habit. Young couples of today should learn to be tolerant towards each other’s habits. They should also be ready to exercise mutual understanding and to forgive each other, if something goes wrong in their marriage.
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Patience, forgiveness guided the Matovus through 50 years