there was an opening and expanding of each section of the Italian
community. They became aware of the need to be able to show their
children their identity, their roots. There was an opening up of
different groups wanting to show where they came from, their hometown,
their pride. We were Italian, yes, but there was a distinction.
Each one had to show where they came from and which characteristic
made them different in that mosaic.
Q: Did you have a role model in your life?
model all along the way was my mother, Angela Maria Messina. She was
a widow at 27 and yet she had the courage to come to this strange
land and start a new life. In Italy she was – after many years
of perseverance – granted permission to serve as the first woman
telegraph operator in the early 1920’s. In 1927 she had a Singer
sewing machine sent in from the States and she opened her embroidery
workshop on George Street in Ottawa. I helped her for 18 years until
her death in 1948. The most important thing that my mother taught
me was to stand on my own feet, to put out the helping hand, and to
always have the courage to move on.
What things in your life are you proud of?
pride in being able to achieve what God had given me. I’m proud
that I was able to take hold of my life with so many wonderful people
along the way. The most important thing is that feeling of contentment.
I found who I was and what I wanted out of my life, and at the same
time, I saw my children do the same thing. I am very proud of each
one of them because every one of my children work hard out in the
field, which is the world, and in which it is not easy to live.
What would you like people to remember you for?
like to be remembered as a child of God who worked very, very hard
in order to better herself. And more than anything else to be remembered
for love, peace and understanding.