Who have been the influential individuals in your life? Who has shaped you into the person you have become today? Many people played a role in your journey to help you become resilient, independent, and flourish!
I reflect on the generosity of the people who make up St. Louis Center in my final days as CEO. I will never forget the love, commitment, and support you all have given the residents and me over the years. It was because of each of you that I have been able to serve at the Center, making it a lighthouse of hope for so many families.
There is a time for beginning projects and a time for passing them to capable hands. I am confident in Fr. Satheesh’s leadership and look forward to supporting him during this transition.
I grew up in a tight-knit farming community. My parents ran a small family farm featuring two cows, a donkey, a handful of sheep, chickens, and, of course, a pig. My father skillfully milked the cows, with some milk consumed at home and the rest sold to neighbors and a cheese factory.
Crafting cheese from the cows’ milk was a cherished ritual for my mother, Domenica, and a special occasion for all of us. A unique touch was the “little mouse” treat—a morsel of incredibly fresh cheese she would give me from the boiling milk pot. As a toddler, it was a delightful and heartwarming gesture. This act of nurturing reflected her commitment to providing for her children with what she held dear: the care and service to our family to ensure we would grow up strong and able to succeed.
The Beginning of an Era
After moving to the United States, I joined the Italian American Club of Livonia, where I met Mary and Mario Galasso. Mary was captivated by my work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and she became a steadfast friend. Throughout the years, our bond remained strong.
Mary’s heart overflowed with compassion for families grappling with disabilities. Her love for St. Louis Center was unwavering, evident in her role leading the Guardian Angel fundraising committee. She never gave up through challenges and always found innovative solutions to help support the residents. Therefore, her immense heart extended the Center’s reach, inviting others to experience its impact firsthand. Mary’s nurturing spirit made it all possible.
Mary’s tireless orchestration of small joys for the residents was similar to my mother’s quiet gestures of care. Mary gave a unique donation earlier this year—a meticulously crafted manger scene with a touching backstory. The handmade crèche was created by her father with her help during her youth, a labor of love that had the power to evoke tears even many years later. Her father’s love and guidance shaped Mary into a caring soul. This summer, Mary gave her cherished manger scene to the Center’s residents. Though Mary has now passed on, her memory lives on in the hearts of those for whom she cared deeply.
The Family Flourishes
At St. Louis Center, we are more than an organization—we are a family. This tight-knit bond between residents and the community is the bedrock of their success. Your pivotal role in this family has empowered residents to flourish, much like the roles of my loving mother and Mary.
The generous support of the entire St. Louis Center family has been crucial to sustaining our mission of caring for the residents, especially as they age. Today, with your gift, we can ensure the lasting impact of St. Louis Center’s compassionate care.
May God bless you, and may you please continue to be involved in proclaiming the dignity of the lives of the people entrusted to our care.
Fr. Enzo Addari, SdC
St. Louis Center received two $100,000 matched gifts. Not only was the match met – we EXCEEDED it, with a final total of $218,894!