Break Up


We often hear “That guy is my ex now, or my friends broke up”. So, what is a break up? In a male-female relationship, a break up is when two people who were in love decide to call it quits because of some reasons. Break ups are never easy because having known each other for a while, the reality of separation becomes painful. There are a lot of questions as to why my friend may break up with me or why s/he initiated the breakup. 

The story of Dave and Daisy could help us understand better. 

Dave and Daisy have known each other for some years, and over the years they have bonded very well.  They were in love and their relationship was known among their parents and friends. Dave used to be a caring boyfriend until he joined his school’s football team and became famous. His friends persuaded him to ‘experiment’ with other girls instead of being hooked up with one girl. In order to fit into the group, he became unfaithful and whenever Daisy would question him, he would become sarcastic so as to put are off. After a while, his academics started dwindling and the school asked him to withdraw from the team so as to focus on his studies. He was unable to take responsibility for his failure, and so blamed Daisy for his failure. Finally, he decided to break up with her.

There are many reasons couples break up; infidelity, lack of responsibility for one’s faults, pleasing people at the expense of a relationship, lack of negotiation and compromise, drifting apart due to differences in interest, goals, abuse and so on.

Dave had been carried away by peer pressure and his use of sarcasm was to defend himself from admitting his infidelity towards Daisy. Admitting one’s mistakes and sticking to one’s principles are very important in a relationship. Fame comes with its challenges, and yet Dave could have kept in mind that he is of great worth regardless of what the others suggested, and that he did not have to please them in order to be part of them.

These days people break up by just sending a text message or going silent on the other. Yet for someone who had cared for and loved his girlfriend or her boyfriend, it would be human and a loving act to meet up with the other person and gently break the news to them, giving them time to process the news and pointing out the reasons for the break up without pointing fingers at my partner. This will help the one who was left to easily let go and start another relationship without a sense of rejection. 

Not any and every conflict leads to a break up, we should work hard to learn to settle our differences amicably. However, there are moments when a break up is inevitable for instance, in abusive relationships. Love is a responsibility which each of the partner has towards the other. And if for any reason I get to suffer physical, emotional or any kind of abuse, I can decide to leave that relationship.

As we get to know each other, our love grows and this helps us to accept the ups and downs of our relationship. It is necessary to consider the following before breaking up: 

  • Be honest with myself about the authenticity of my desire to break up.
  • Take time to reflect before any decision about a break up.
  • Do my part to resolve any conflict and accept my boyfriend/girlfriend as s/he is.
  • Decide to break up because the relationship is abusive and unhealthy.
  • Take time to appreciate the values and good things which we have shared.
  • Use kind language to express myself.
  • Respect the other person’s desire for distance as they process the news and try to move on with life.
  • Apologize for my mistakes and bad influence or example which I may have shown.
  • Take time to go through the process of healing and moving on without repressing it through another relationship or unhealthy behavior.


Media is plural of medium which is a means that passes on information from one end to the other, from a sender to the receiver. Media has existed throughout the ages in different ways and especially within Africa, our ‘Traditional Media’ comprises of storytelling, drama/theatre, dance, proverbs, the use of music and musical instruments like drumming, signs, symbols, names, ways of dressing and rites of passage. On the other hand, the modern means of communication are the internet, television, videos, radio, cell phones, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, journals, books and periodicals.’ (New Media, 2013)

All these instruments are used to transmit different information that has contributed to the enlightenment of people at different stages of life. When I was a child, while in class at times I used to daydream and the next moment I would hear clapping of hands or whistling or my name being shouted out loud. All these means were used to communicate to me that I have to come back from that other world and concentrate. Funny as it sounds, this too is a form of media and can come in handy at times. Signalling at someone not to share an embarrassing story too is a form of media.

A wink of an eye acts as media by symbolizing agreement to what someone has said or to showing a liking for them, a nodding of the head would mean that my message is being understood and accepted, a glance coupled with a smile would mean that somebody likes me or they are interested in what I am communicating. These are mostly means of communication on the physical level.

When we look at modern means of media we find that there are two groups; Print media which comprise of books, magazines, newspapers and materials of such kind, and Electronic media comprising of the internet, cell phones, videos, eBooks, digital magazines, online music and many more. In our world today we are able to see that there are many messages which are being transmitted to us, but do we ever take some time to question the kind of information that it is? If it is helpful or not? If it can help us to grow or regress? Can build or break our relationships?

Gossip some years back used to be done in person and it would take a long time to spread. But today with all these means of communication it is very easy to destroy the character of a person merely because of envy, personal hatred, jealousy, competition and many other malicious motivations. But I as a recipient am responsible for how I translate the information which I have received and what I do with it.

These days there are newspapers, magazines, and different means that have been used to tarnish the image of certain people, whether true or false. The passing on of immoral, violent, and abusive information which have tremendously influenced our perspective of life can easily make us get used to violence, abusive behaviour and also learn to demean others.

I think that the media can be used in a different way to share good things that others have done, innovative ideas, information that builds up and promotes the integrity of people, among many other good things. Now how can I positively make use of media?

Debbie’s Tips

  • I will analyse and see what it is that is being communicated to me through the different forms of media.
  • I will be critical in seeing if the information which I am receiving is beneficial for me or not.
  • I will make sound judgements on what kind of information I will retain in my mind.
  • I will censor and choose what kind of information I can have access to.
  • In using and sharing information I will aspire and work at communicating positively influential information.
  • I will respect and promote, especially in the use of these forms of media, the dignity of other people and my own.
  • I will be objective before believing hearsay,  by doing more research to understand the subject matter better.
  • I will be precise on what I wish to communicate as to be able to give the very best to others.

Social Media

Social media is the commonest word being used almost everywhere in the world simply because it has become for most of us a way of reaching out to others, of creating friendships, maintaining relationships, grabbing opportunities for jobs, auditions and participation in different entertainment activities.

There are many social media platforms which are being used to cater to the different needs of people throughout the world such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, WeChat, and many more. There are many good things which have come up as a result of the use of these means such as reunion of family members who either lost touch or were separated from birth, in the case of parents and children, it has also become quite easy to learn how to cook delicious meals for those who are interested in that field, to learn some computer programs or musical instruments, art, basic life skills and many other things that we can aspire to learn that are beneficial to us and to other people.

However, there has been a lot of cyberbullying, hacking, peer pressure even in the use of these social media platforms among others. At times I can post a picture of myself and instead of getting compliments I end up receiving unwarranted criticism, not really because the photo is not good but merely because the person bullying me, also called a troll, does not like me or has a personal grudge against me. 

There are also risks of becoming addicted to the internet and social media platforms, I remember one time I used to have my phone with me everywhere even in the bathroom so that I could not miss any posts by my friends. It is also becoming quite common that people are meeting and creating relationships online, others end up in marriage yes but some turn out to be stalkers or so possessive that they request for the password to monitor and see who I am communicating with. There are different forms of abuse online.

Online gaming is quite enticing and yet it too can lead to addiction. If I have not managed to create authentic physical  friendships with my peers, it will become so easy for me to immense myself in this other world of gaming as a way of escaping my reality and doing something else.

Pornography has become a very dangerous immoral plague that is ruining our society. It is quite easy even today for any person of any age to have access to it, and consequently there are many youths being lured into participating in the shooting of such immoral videos.

What then can I do to make a difference in my use of the different social media platforms?

Debbie’s Tips

  • I will evaluate the necessity of having accounts on all the available social media platforms in the world.
  • I will choose to use each social media platform for its rightful purpose.
  • I will respect the dignity of others and my own in commenting and seeing what to post and not to post.
  • I will aim at sharing with my peers information that is building and not destroying.
  • I will aim at resisting peer pressure that comes through friends and the different advertisements.
  • I will keep in mind this question when posting anything: “Would I be able to say the same things to this person face to face?”
  • I will observe what friendship truly is and not just accept all friend requests just to broaden my social network.
  • I will make a clear distinction between my life online and physical social life, so as not to live an illusionary life.
  • I will be open to new ideas and initiatives, while also paying attention to the risk of predators roaming the different social platforms.
  • I will keep private things private and protect my passwords and personal information.
  • In case I meet a person online to begin a romantic relationship with, I will take my time to get to know him/her in person  before making any long term decision.


Beautiful white dress with a long train and veil, Black Tuxedo, wedding bells, huge 5 tier wedding cake… this is how our weddings are like these days. So having decided that I would like to share my life with this particular person, the big day is lavishly planned for. Most times though the main focus is being put on the engagement ceremony, or wedding day rather than marriage life itself.

Life after wedding day should be given more importance, so that the couple understands that it is a lifetime commitment and not just a ‘contract’ which can be terminated anytime one feels like it.

Those moments of growth and getting to know each other were actually preparing the couple for this particular life, a life where two become one by the bond of marriage while remaining two unique human beings. Each contributes from the abundance of his/her gifts, talents and skills for the growth and development of each other and the family which they will raise together.

The transition of thinking from my needs to our needs requires a great deal of commitment, trust, love, and patience from each partner’s part. The couple are to work as a team, put ideas together in managing finances, relations with other people, household chores, duties and needs, planning for their future children, balancing between work and family life.  Boundaries are quite important to be set in order to safeguard the sacredness of marriage.

Often times, if I was not faithful, during courtship, to this one person I was intending on sharing my life with then it will be even more difficult to remain faithful during marriage. Others complain of the monotony of seeing the same face day in day out, how nagging my partner is, how there is lack of understanding between us ever since we got married, how restrictive s/he became after marriage, and many others reasons. At times the reasons might be true but having extra marital affairs is merely a justification and not a solution. Each human being is capable of listening and understanding what the other is communicating. I should not lose sight of the fact that we have been united majorly by love and it is easier to understand and be understood. Expectations at times can cloud my judgement but rather acceptance of who I am and my husband/wife should take precedence. We begin our journey as we are, beautifully unique individuals brought together by love to begin a journey of life as Husband and Wife.

Debbie’s Tips

Marriage is a lifelong adventure and while at it I will make plenty of discoveries about my spouse and myself, and so I will;

  • Keep in mind that my commitment has been made to this one person with whom I will spend the rest of my life with.
  • Begin this new journey without being pressured nor because s/he is the next best thing that I have come across.
  • Keep in mind that the engagement and wedding days are merely a preparation to the goal which is marriage.
  • Remember that we both continue to grow together through trust, communication, patience, understanding, discovery of ever better ways on how we resolve disagreements and share different life experiences.
  • Support my husband/wife in fulfilling his/her dreams through encouragement, moral support and believing in his/her potential.
  • Always remember that my spouse becomes the first person to turn to in everything.
  • Treasure moments of sharing the day’s events which help us to walk together on this journey of life.
  • Share temptations and challenges which I might be going through because s/he is my basic support in life.
  • Set boundaries in my relationships with other people especially of the opposite sex so as not to fall into the temptation of having extra marital affairs.
  • Keep in mind that I cannot change someone but can change my perspective of him/her and treasure more the things I like than those that make me uncomfortable.
  • Keep handy those beautiful moments of love which we have shared and we can easily go back to especially during moments when the going gets tough.
  • Do my best to work as a team in going through life with all that it brings along the way.

Falling in Love

When I hear these words ‘Falling in love’ my face lights up with joy, and I begin to think of the experiences I have had, how it felt like being in love and being loved. So then what does it mean to fall in love? ‘Falling in love’ sounds like one is walking blindly until s/he falls into a ditch and then exclaim, ‘I have fallen in love!’ Well, it is a journey that one goes through. It all begins with having a crush on a person and then other reasons. (See the article on CRUSH)

Attraction begins to grow and a desire to see the face of the person, talk or just to share ideas or joke around begins. All this comes after I have accepted myself as I am, and love myself healthily that I will be able then to have the capacity to reach out, love another and wish to begin to share my life journey with him/her.

There are many things said about falling in love, that ‘it was love at first sight’ or ‘I found myself having fallen in love with you just like that!’. Well, it takes more than instant attraction at first sight. Sometime back, I was walking in the streets and I came across a handsome young man, we looked at each other as we passed and after a few steps I found myself turning to have a better look at him only to find out that he too had just done the same thing, we smiled at each other, he turned and began walking back towards me and I also turned and waited for him to reach me. He introduced himself and I did the same, but since we were both in a hurry we agreed to get to know each other better and so we exchanged phone numbers.

That evening I got a text message from him. We began sharing some personal information as a way of knowing each other slowly. Then whenever we would get a chance within the day we would check on each other to see how the day was going and share whatever experiences we had gone through. At the end of the day we would spend more time to talk about everything that came to mind and slowly we began to discover that love and acceptance was growing between us. It was not a smooth journey because we were two unique people with different backgrounds and perspectives of life, however, along the way we discovered what would make the other uncomfortable and with the ability to express ourselves, love continued to draw us stronger together.

So falling in love is not a magical feeling that just appears from thin air, it all begins from somewhere and with the passage of time it grows mutually, not one-sided, until the two people take this journey together to see where it will lead them.

Debbie’s Tips

How to know if I am in love:

  • Pay attention to the feelings deep within me especially towards this particular person.
  • Admit what I feel and take some time to see how to go about the feeling of love that I am experiencing.
  • Give time to the other person also to discover that which they are feeling without imposing my own feelings.
  • Accept myself as a unique person and with this in mind allow myself to reach out and begin this journey of loving another person.
  • Take time to listen to the other person as they begin to open up and share their life with me.
  • Spare some time to spend with the person I am developing a relationship with so as to gradually make them a part of my life.
  • Respond to this person with love so that in growing to know him/her I can love him/her as s/he is.


Courtship is the moment when two people who have fallen in love with each other, have passed through the stages of infatuation and flirting, begin making a journey of commitment towards each other in the hope that this will lead to engagement and eventually marriage.

This is when we begin to officially address each other seriously as Boyfriend and Girlfriend. There are many things that might happen during this period, there is a deepening of knowledge of each other through constant communication either through the phone, social media platforms or even in person through dates. This enhances the sharing of intimate knowledge of each other, and allows each person to grow in learning how the other partner behaves in different situations. Misunderstandings and arguments are bound to come up, but it takes a whole lot of courage to accept my responsibility, admit my mistake and apologise. Often it is said that the three difficult phrases are ‘thank you’, ‘may I’ and ‘I am sorry’, yet courtship is a moment to begin practising and growing in this habit of feeling for the other. Of course care is to be taken so that these moments help me to grow and not to give in to unhealthy demands or threats that I might receive.

I remember this beautiful relationship I once had with a handsome young man whom I was in love with. When we began ‘seeing’ each other or courtship in other words, there was that constant desire to communicate and we both enjoyed texting, speaking, meeting up and calling each other during the day and even at night. When we would meet in person, as we walked and talked it seemed as if the whole world had disappeared before our eyes, and probably the hooting sound of a car or bicycle bell would have to bring us back to earth. One time having hugged each other good bye, I entered a taxi and immediately took the phone out of my pocket and began texting him because I was already missing him, the taxi driver looked at me, smiled and said, ‘the two of you are really in love’. I smiled shyly and continued on to send an ‘I miss you already’ text and immediately he responded, ‘I miss you more’.

So at this moment what I truly feel deep within me is expressed through my body language at times by holding  hands, smiling at each other and my boyfriend/girlfriend is able to understand this and the words which I am communicating, and reciprocate them. It is during this period in life that we begin to also get involved in the lives of each other and that might entail meeting the siblings of my boy/girlfriend, being introduced to his/her friends, attending social occasions together, others even go to church together, these are beautiful moments when I get to share my life and get accepted as I am without fear of being rejected. It is a moment of growing intimacy which may eventually lead to the beginning of planning for a life together, officially declared through our union in marriage.

By the time we begin to make plans regarding our future, we should be aware of our differences in opinions and way of life.  Courtship time  is considered a moment of experimentation, but it is better to keep intense intimacy and sex for marriage for it is a union of those who have given themselves totally to each other and not just a one night stand or passing moment of fun.

Debbie’s Tips

Keeping in mind that having a boyfriend/girlfriend is the beginning of growth in commitment I will;

  • Commit myself to be an active participant in our relationship.
  • Let myself express what I feel while respecting my boy/girlfriend.
  • Introduce my boy/girlfriend to my friends and siblings as a way of sharing my life.
  • Conduct myself respectfully while also respecting my boy/girlfriend.
  • Not to put conditions so that s/he always bends to all my whims.
  • Be careful not to be alone always so that we may not tempt each other into sexual activities.
  • Express myself, my point of view and be open to listen to my boy/girlfriend’s so that we can solve our differences harmoniously.


I have heard such statements like ‘she or he has a crush on you!’ but what does it really mean to have a crush on someone? A crush entails developing a special liking of someone and desiring to be with them because I find him/her attractive and exceptional. It depends on how intense the feeling is. It might be simply to befriend that person or having a strong feeling that intensifies with time until I begin to fall in love with the other person.

Now what might lead me to have a crush on someone else? When I was still in school it so happened that I was so young and naïve and had made a commitment to finish school without having a boyfriend, so that I do not get distracted and fail my exams.

Unfortunately, while still in school I developed a special liking for one of my classmates. He was very intelligent, light skinned, had cute dimples which were so visible whenever he would smile and laugh, and so I liked having small talk, and making jokes so that I would often catch a glimpse of those dimples. Unknown to me was that he too had a crush on me but both of us did not have the courage to share with each other. At one point I even began unconsciously walking like him, until one of my close friends pointed it out to me. I could not admit it to her and she left me to discover on my own what I was feeling.  

This close friend of mine was mature enough not to reveal this information to any one, until I finally admitted it to myself and shared with her. Over time I discovered that I had a crush on this classmate of mine merely based on the physical level. Yet there are many other things that can make me have a crush on someone, some might be the unique way of speaking, laughing, dressing, behaving, good-heartedness, popularity, wealth, how the person carries him/herself, character and many others.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind though, that my body language often communicates what my mouth cannot easily say meaning that the other person can easily notice that I like them based on how I act in their presence, or how I communicate if it is through the different social media platforms. It is quite healthy to have a crush on someone be it a mere friendship, or something beyond that, what matters now is how I handle those feelings and emotions, which I am having within me.

Signs that I have a crush on someone might be, often finding myself day dreaming about this crush and smiling alone or planning what we will do when we meet or talk, his/her name is the first name that comes out of my mouth while calling someone else, and I might even begin to sing romantic songs because of my crush. In the presence of this person I may also find myself feeling nervous, shy, physically shaking or even having butterflies and becoming dumb all of a sudden.

It is tempting at times to consciously or unconsciously begin to flirt with my crush if and when I am not aware of my feelings and how to express them. This at times may make the other person uncomfortable and so s/he may distance themselves from me, and I become heartbroken, simply because the feeling was not mutual or unreciprocated.

Debbie’s Tips

So then having realised that I have a crush on someone I will;

  • Take time to understand what kind of feelings I am having towards that person.
  • Take time to really be honest as to name what it is that is making me feel attracted towards that person.
  • Continue communicating with him/her if we are already friends without any awkwardness.
  • Not to share with everyone about my crush and what I am feeling.
  • Seek guidance from a mature person to help me understand and see how best I can handle these feelings.
  • Give myself time to grow and be ready to truly clarify if my crush is simply momentary or growing into a deeper yearning to love the other person.
  • Respect myself and the other person by not being flirtatious until I have a clear idea of my feelings for them.

Developing In-Born Gifts and Talents

Each day presents to us various gifts of nature and life. Amidst all of them, am I aware that each person possesses within himself or herself, in-born gifts and talents? A gift is a special ability that I possess; which I was born with and a talent is a natural ability to do ordinary things in exceptional ways. From the time I was born, I have been equipped with gifts and talents that help me to learn better, relate well with others, journey through life’s challenges and trials.

In the midst of all this, these gifts and talents which I possess need to be developed because if I do not develop them, they will remain stagnant within me. Imagine an Apple seed, which is dry, tiny and brown. If it remains kept in a container in one corner of the store in the house, nothing about it will change. And yet I will miss out on admiring how big a tree it can grow into, the beautiful green color of its leaves, the tiny pink beautiful flowers that it produces, seeing the little fruits grow into big apples that eventually turn into green, red, yellow or striped yellow and red fruits.

Analogously, this is what happens to my gifts and talents if and when they remain within me, undeveloped and unused. They do not add any meaning to my life. And yet they are like small seeds planted within me but not watered and so they wither, disappear or die.

So how can I develop these gifts and talents? Firstly, I need to discover what they are and this is a daily journey where I come to that ‘Aha!’ moment of realization that all along I have had this gift and talent within me. So having realized, I now make a step to begin watering them, in the sense that I begin to apply knowledge that I possess in order to uplift this gift. Constant use of these gifts and talents also will give me room to improve, discover some flaws and rediscover some new inspired ways to utilize that gift or talent well so that I may not benefit alone but also make use of it for the good of other people that I meet every day in my life.

Practically speaking, I might have a gift of good articulation of words. This might have been influenced by having the ability to listen and learn fast. And so, for a good listener it is easier to pronounce a word as it has been pronounced. The application part comes in through exposure to many other different words and languages. And in the end I might use this developed gift or talent to direct me into a particular profession like becoming a Linguist. This in the end will be quite beneficial to many people especially in translating books or talks during conferences.

So the aim of developing my gifts and talents is not only for my own benefit but also for other people who may be in need of that quality which I possess or may be inspired to learn from my example and develop their own gifts and talents.

Debbie’s Tips

Gifts and talents lead me to discover more about myself and provide beneficial services to other people. In order to develop my gifts and talents I will;

  • Commit myself to a task of discovering what gifts and talents I possess which are in-born.
  • Identify role models with similar gifts and talents as mine.
  • Learn from other people how they too have developed their own gifts and talents.
  • Creatively find my own way of making good use of them.
  • Research on what others have done in order to be motivated to challenge myself.
  • Nurture my gifts and talents through constant practice and work.

Venerable Canon Chiesa

Born on April 2, 1874 in Monta d’Alba in Italy, Canon Francesco Chiesa grew up to become an intellectually notable priest and professor as well as a noteworthy spiritual director of Father Alberione. Following his entrance to the seminary of Alba, Francesco earned a degree in philosophy in Rome, in theology in Genoa, and in canon and civil law in Turin.

A talented professor, Francesco Chiesa taught in the diocesan seminary  and for the Society of St. Paul for 50 years. Furthermore, he was also the pastor of the parish of Sts. Cosmas & Damien in Alba and a Canon of the Cathedral for 30 years. Using his gifts of study, knowledge and research, Francesco published many texts which were reprinted even beyond Italian borders. Being a spiritual director of Father James Alberione for many years, he is often and justly, referred to as the “godfather” of the Pauline Family.

In addition to excelling in his teaching and writing works, Francesco was a faithful priest for over 50 years. During his priesthood, he dedicated two hours of adoration before the Jesus present in the Eucharist. He died in Alba on June 14, 1946 and was soon after defined by his Bishop as “the best of the sons of this diocese”.

Prayer for the Beatification

Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life, you have enriched Canon Francis Chiesa with the singular gifts of science, pastoral zeal and holiness of life under the gaze of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Glorify in the Church this faithful servant and through his intercession, grant me the grace that I ask of you…
And you, Venerable Francis, who have taught Blessed James Alberione to transform everything as objects of meditation and prayer leading human knowledge back to Christ, grant that in your footsteps we may collaborate in building the Christian community and the promotion of true values in the current culture of communication. Amen.

Picture and text are courtesy of

Venerable Maggiorino Vigolungo

Born on May 6, 1904 in Benevello d’Alba in Italy, Maggiorino Vigolungo was raised up by a humble and devout family. Smart, cheerful and with a natural inclination to excel in everything, young Maggiorino desired to become a saint quickly, to become a priest, and to be an apostle of the good press.  Having chosen Father Alberione as his spiritual director, on October 15, 1916, at the age of 12 years old,  Maggiorino entered the Society of St. Paul.

Maggiorino was faithful to his idea and oriented by Father Alberione, made admirable progress in virtue and apostolate. He had a strong attraction to the Eucharist and made it his priority throughout his short life on earth. On July 27, 1918, 14 year old Maggiorino Vigolungo passed away after being struck by a serious illness. Before his last breath he said to Father Alberione: “I greet all of my companions; tell them to pray for me and that we’ll see each other again in heaven.”

Prayer for the Beatification

O Father, I thank you for having called the young Maggiorino Vigolungo to spread the Word through the “Good Press”. You have infused in him a lively desire for holiness and a great love for the apostolate of social communication as to offer his life for it. I beg you to glorify this apostle in your Church, as a joy and model of children and young people, so that his examples may influence in a Christian way their choices in these times characterized by global and multimedia communication. Through the intercession of Maggiorino, grant, dear Father, the grace I now ask… Amen.

Picture and text are courtesy of