Concetta Immacolata Mongiardo died peacefully at home on May 8, 2018. We celebrate her fruitful and meaningful life of 103 years well-lived, marked by love, faith, integrity and loyalty to her family, friends, and country. Her generosity and ministry to others defined her and extended well beyond her nuclear family. Some relatives she hardly knew came to her home for dinner and stayed on for weeks, months, and even years. She was a healer to many, both of the body and the soul. For some, she practiced what we now call homeopathy on grateful recipients who trusted her healing hands. Others sought her advice and wisdom which she thoughtfully imparted. She never forgot her roots and the family from her beloved S. Andrea Ionio, Italia. Geographical separation was no barrier to the bond that linked them. There was ample room in her heart and mind for all those she cherished.
Her faith in God and religious devotion sustained her throughout her life. When she was no longer able to attend daily mass she participated wholeheartedly in the televised broadcast. She joyfully sang along with the priest in Latin, Italian, and English. She was also a repository of memorized fables, allegories, songs, and poems which she recited and sang at will to the marvel of her listeners.
Politics was one of her great passions, and she watched and listened attentively to the pundits and news programs, sharing her spirited opinion to members of the family and others. She deemed it an honor to vote, and so she did in nearly every election since she became an American citizen. Among the memories she treasured was meeting two Presidents, having lunch at the White House, and greeting Pope John Paul II on the White House lawn. Without hesitation, she approached him and asked for his blessing which he gladly bestowed upon her.
Never idle, she knitted scarves and sweaters, crocheted lacey tablecloths, bedspreads, and doilies, and created needlepoint works of art. Cooking and baking were second nature to her. A rolling pin was all she needed to make ravioli money could not buy. Like all naturally gifted cooks, she knew that recipes were only a suggestion and meant to be altered or improved upon. Sitting at her table for hours talking and eating were sources of joy to her and to all of us.
One of the few regrets she had was leaving school because she was needed at home. Her lack of formal education was no deterrent to her love and appreciation for knowledge. She encouraged her children and grandchildren to “go to school forever.” But even they, with all their schooling, were no match for her natural intelligence and wit. She amazed us all.
Concetta Immacolata Mongiardo was the selfless heart and center of our lives. We are honored by the numerous gifts and memories she left for us to treasure. She is at her eternal resting place with God and loved ones. May she rest in peace until we are together again.