Baptism necklace

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Mom’s baptism chain
Mom’s baptism chain

My mother grew up in poverty, where household necessities were hard to attain let alone fancy jewelry. Since it is tradition in the Catholic faith my grandma gathered enough money to buy my mother a necklace in the wake of her baptism. Although the traditional necklace gifted after a baptism comes with a pendant, the one my mother was gifted did not due to my grandma only being able to afford the chain. My mom migrated to the states at the age of 18 on her own. She often tells me stories of the events she witnessed during her migration here. She told me tales of being racially profiled and harassed by men due to her vulnerability, that came with being a young woman who spoke no English. Every single ounce of adversity she faced contributed to the strong woman she is today as well as the way she raised my brother and I. Throughout all these unnerving tales she told me of the one thing that she always prayed to and often cried to which was her baptism chain. This chain reminded her of home and all the people she left behind in search of a better life. When I was baptised my mother put the same chain around my neck that she was given as a child. Today my mother’s household although religious, does not maintain a great emphasis on going to church every Sunday. With this being said often my religious knowledge and values are lacking, which is why this necklace means more to me than religion. Today this necklace signifies home and my mother. 

Place(s): Georgia, Mexico, New York

– Johan Mendez

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant