Fr. Enzo gives communion to his mother, Domenica, not long after becoming a priest.
1922 – 1998
“Tu sei Enzo”
These were the last words I heard from my mother, Domenica, in the hospital the day before she passed away. Because of a stroke, she had lost her eyesight, but she was still able to hear. She didn’t recognize the voice of the other visitors, but as soon as I asked her “Who am I?” “Tu sei Enzo” was her answer, and her legacy for me.
She grew up in a small village in the Abruzzi region. She lost her father at a very young age and to earn some money she went to work as a nanny for a wealthy family in Rome.
Once WWII was over, she went back home and a few years later she was married to my father. That was the beginning of my personal history; I was the fruit of their commitment and love for each other.
She worked very hard. I still remember the long nights she spent making quilts (la trapunta) for those who were starting a family, or when she was getting up very early to make the bread for the family (no gas stoves or ovens in those days!). Everything was done with love and commitment.
During the Summer months, I would join my father in the fields. It was hard work for those months and it represented the survival of the family for the rest of the year. My mother was always coming to the fields to deliver the meals she had prepared for us carrying a large basket on her head. The meal was a feast and gave us time for a break from work during the hottest hours of the day.
This was my mother.
My mother had a strong faith which helped her to overcome the many health problems she faced throughout her life. Her faith also guided her in her charitable work toward people. The wife of a cousin of my father had a stroke, and the whole family went with her to the hospital, leaving at home her husband’s mother who was in her nineties. My mother and her sister went to her house and took her home without being asked until the family after three weeks was able to be back home and care for her.
She left a legacy in me, even after I left for the States. I deeply carry in my heart her last words “Tu sei Enzo.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!
Fr. Enzo Addari