THE CHRISTENING OUTFIT
February 19, 2007
An heirloom Ė thatís what it has become! It all happened so
accidentally. When our best friend Dennis Taus sent me 12 metres of
Egyptian brocade as a wedding gift and asked me to have my wedding
gown fashioned from it, of course I agreed enthusiastically. The
material was so very beautiful that Mrs. Mary Ostashek, the
seamstress and I decided that a simple pattern was needed to
showcase it. Because of the abundance of material she suggested
making a long self-lined train, which was removed for dancing at the
reception. Therefore the material never became soiled or frayed and
was still pristine after the wedding.
On November 15, 1964, our first child, a daughter, whom we named
Jacqueline Marianne Emerans, was born to our great joy! When I
phoned my close friend Sharon Heaphy to tell her our wonderful news
she asked me what had happened to the train of my wedding outfit.
Sharon had been my maid of honour when we were married. I told her
that it was hanging in my closet along with the gown. She
immediately asked me if I would allow her to use it to make
something for my new baby daughter. Sharon is a talented seamstress
so I did not hesitate to agree. She called me some time later to
inform me that she had completed the item, could she bring it to our
home. Alex and I were absolutely thrilled when we saw what she had
made. It was a christening dress and matching coat from the material
from my train! Just beautiful! This was her baby gift to us.
Father Regan at St. Michaelís in Creighton baptized three-week-old
Jacqueline on Sunday December 6, her daddyís birthday. The sun shone
in through the church windows causing the lovely dress to shimmer in
the light. My mother was most impressed by the talents of my former
maid of honour! It was a traditional Dutch custom at that time to
ask my parents to be the babyís godparents because our child was a
girl. If it had been a boy we should have asked my husbandís
parents. My sister-in-law Denise was the babyís porteuse, which
meant she carried the baby. That was a French tradition, which
unfortunately my parents did not understand.
Our second daughter Michelle Joanna was born on June 11, 1968.
Father Regan baptized her in St. Michaelís on June 30. Her
godparents were Alexís sister Lillian and her husband Guy Thibaudeau
who came from Montrťal for the ceremony. Of course our second baby
wore the same christening outfit as Jacqueline had worn. Lillian
commented on the elegance of the little dress and matching coat and
asked where the material had originated. When I reminded her that it
was from the train of my wedding gown she was most impressed.
The next child to be born in our extended family was my nephew Willy
de Burger. I offered our christening outfit for his baptism to his
mom Shirley who accepted readily. When his sister Grace needed it
she also was gowned in it for her christening day.
Our third daughter Allison Erna was born on January 16, 1974. For
her baptism by Father Joseph Hompes at St. Christopherís in
Whitefish, she donned the lovely family baptismal ensemble. Allison
was three weeks old and her godparents are my sister Liesje de
Burger and my brother Frank de Burger.
Since then various nieces and nephews have worn these clothes for
their respective christenings. Then it was the turn of the next
generation. Emily Susan, our first grandchild, was born on September
21, 1988 to our daughter Michelle and her husband Jamie McIntosh.
What a thrill it was for me to see my adorable granddaughter wearing
the same christening ensemble that her mother and her aunts had had
on! Emily was baptized on November 19, in St. Pius X Church in
Lively by Rev. Mr. Bob Richer a long-time family friend.
Next came our second granddaughter Rachel Anne Fex Jordan, the
daughter of our eldest daughter Jacquie and her husband Scott
Jordan. Rachelís birth occurred on May 17, 1995. This delightful
red-haired baby was christened in St. Johnís Church in Toronto
decked out in the by now famed baptismal garb. Her grandmother Viola
Jordan loved the story of how we came to acquire this wonderful
outfit. Rachelís brother Trent Alexander Martin Jordan was born on
November 21, 1997, weighing nearly 10 pounds. Our third grandchild
but our first grandson! We were most excited to meet this baby boy!
When we first saw him we wondered if he could be baptized in the
traditional outfit, as he was so large for a newborn. However our
daughter assured us that he would follow the family tradition and be
similarly garbed. I noticed though that the snaps at the neck could
not be done up at his christening in St. Johnís Church.
Our youngest grandchild, Matthieu Alexandre, came into the world on
September 22, 2006, the son of Allison and our son-in-law Reynald
Moisan. Alex and I now are the very proud grandparents of two
granddaughters and two grandsons. Matthieu was baptized at St.
Johnís in Toronto on December 17 wearing our traditional christening
This wonderful Christening Outfit now hangs in my closet awaiting
the next family birth. Unfortunately our friend Dennis Taus has
passed away so that he will never know the entire story of the
amazing material and its uses through the years and how precious it
has become albeit in a different form from what he had intended.