‘The Mother of Plow­den’ – Lera Man­ning.

Lera Man­ning cel­e­brated for her 100 years on earth

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ta­mara Bai­ley/Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

FROM TRAV­EL­LING far dis­tances up steep hills to take fruits to her grand­chil­dren to mak­ing the great­est sac­ri­fices for her chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, vis­it­ing shut-ins, be­ing heav­ily in­volved in com­mu­nity and giv­ing of her­self self­lessly, 100-year- old Lera Man­ning has done it all – ef­fort­lessly.

The gold-and-white-themed party held re­cently in her hon­our was fit­ting for a queen, with over 100 guests at­tend­ing to salute the woman they deem an an­gel on earth.

Ru­per t Thomas, a fam­ily friend, said the life she lived im­pacted not only her fam­ily, but the en­tire com­mu­nity.

“She lived a re­spectable life in the com­mu­nity and is a com­mit­ted Chris­tian. She has a keen in­ter­est in ed­u­ca­tion, and she sac­ri­ficed just about ev­ery­thing in or­der to ed­u­cate her chil­dren. It would be safe to call her the Mother of Plow­den as she looked out for every­one with a smile on her face, no mat­ter what she was go­ing through.”

With four (for­merly six, two now de­ceased) chil­dren – Lil­via Fran­cisFoster, Hy­acinth Fran­cis-Smith, Lid­ney Fran­cis and Der­rick Fran­cis – over a dozen grand­chil­dren and over a dozen great-grand­chil­dren, Man­ning has a legacy for all fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to carry on.

“These are years of wis­dom and a legacy of wealth that she is pass­ing on with these gen­er­a­tions. I pray that she may not live one more year, but 10 more years,” said rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Min­istry of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity, Patsy Smalling. Man­ning was pre­sented with a bas­ket from the min­istry and hailed as one of the 18 cen­te­nar­i­ans cur­rently liv­ing in the parish.

Just be­fore belt­ing the song You Raise Me Up, Man­ning’s spe­cial re­quest, young Ta­fari Reid shared how Man­ning has im­pacted his life.

“She is a bless­ing to me. When oth­ers were sit­ting, she was stand­ing. When oth­ers were stand­ing, she was out­stand­ing. And when oth­ers were out­stand­ing, she was the stan­dard. I pray God will con­tinue to bless her.”

A mem­ber of the Church of God of Prophecy in Plow­den, where Man­ning has been a mem­ber for years, said she was never afraid of walk­ing and took up the chal­lenge with other mem­bers of the church, fre­quently, to walk to con­ven­tions, visit shut-ins, and spend time do­ing God’s work.

She is also a fam­ily woman.

“She sold in the mar­ket – that was her main job. She did farm­ing, and she made hand­i­craft items. She did any­thing she could to make sure we had what we needed. I re­mem­ber once when the mar­ket truck over­turned, she still get on go­ing. That’s why I will spend the rest of my life tak­ing care of her, be­cause of the sac­ri­fices she made,” said daugh­ter Hy­acinth Fran­cis-Smith.

Her son, Lid­ney, said his mother al­ways did as much as she could – if her ser­vice wasn’t the best, she wouldn’t give it at all.

“My mother is very car­ing and ten­der­hearted. I re­mem­ber once when one of her grand­chil­dren had a cold, and she used her mouth to clear his nos­trils. That’s the type of love she has for her grand­chil­dren, and, in­ter­est­ing to note, to­day, that grand­child is a med­i­cal doc­tor. I en­cour­age every­one here to give your moth­ers the same love she has given you.”

Man­ning ended the night beau­ti­fully singing one of her favourite hymns, Blessed As­sur­ance, with her daugh­ter, Hy­acinth.

Lera Man­ning

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