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Auntie Erminia: Loving and Inspiring

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day my beloved Auntie Erminia – my dad’s eldest sister – entered this world and also left it.

My be-love-d Auntie Erminia. The woman who loved me unconditionally –

Who rejoiced in my very being.

The story goes: she came to visit one day when I was about 18 months old. She visited regularly – but that day, when she said she was leaving, I went and got my coat to go home with her. I couldn’t even speak – with words – yet. But, I knew. She was the super awesome aunt and her home was oh so fun! Oh the stories of time we spent together in her home and in my grandparents’ home in Italy… and the ways she spoiled me and all she taught me…

My hugs and joy at greeting you – Auntie Erminia was a role model for that… and so much more! My gosh, she treasured… and inspired me!

She was the first woman I knew who worked outside of the home

She tenderly cared for her body – doing her hair and painting her nails

She gave birth to my amazing cousins, Roseann and Anthony, who have always been a big sister and brother to me – even today!

She had a vibrant marriage with Uncle Al. They enriched one another and also balanced each other out. I loved when he would tell “an inappropriate” joke and she would giggle as she muttered, “Oh, Al!”

You see Auntie was the eldest daughter in an Italian family. She learned well her lessons on duty and tradition. She immigrated to America as a young woman and forged a life here with lots of struggles. By the time I was born, her life was in a season of peace and plenty… and joy.

Auntie helped me learn our culture and she also helped me understand how sometimes we need to live outside the boxes – creating our own flexible structures that help provide loving and life-giving framework for others.

Auntie saw my truth and how I was pushing the boundaries – and she was cool with it, quietly encouraging me.

If one of my regular sleep-overs happened on a weekend, Auntie and Uncle Al would take me to mass at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Boston. They took the time to walk me around the chapel, showing me the different statues and images and giving me money to light a candle. Through their example, they taught me different ways to pray. That was at a time that my parents were not bringing me to church.

It’s an important reminder. As an adult, if your faith is important to you, create opportunities for the young people in your life to join you. Whether it’s meditation time in the morning or going to church or taking a walk in the woods… Just make sure it is an appropriate amount of time (a 10-year-old can meditate for maybe 5-10 minutes!). Also make sure that it is an appropriate level (a 5-year-old can maybe walk a mile or two – even if you usually walk 3).

Today, I’m thanking God for Auntie Erminia, her life and light and love… and so much more. I’m grateful that her spirit lives on through me and others. May Auntie be showered with heavenly kisses today!

Food for Thought and Love in Action

Who has loved you unconditionally? Who has inspired you? Can you reach out to the person and thank them? What about tell someone else about the person – share a story the way I just did?

Who is a young person in your life whom you can spend time with? How can you love on them and remind them of their giftedness?

What is the culture and traditions that you hold dear? How do you share them - especially with the next generation?

What are the boxes that society OR some individuals have tried to put you in? Who has helped you get out? Is anything holding you bound now? What is a next step you can take in becoming free to be the person you were meant to be?

Let’s Pray

Oh Divine One Who Is Known By So Many Names –

thank you for the gift of life and love

for all who have treasured us and inspired us

for all the struggles that have shaped us and made us who we are

Please put on our hearts and in our minds how we can reach out to others in love.

Give us clarity as to what has held us bound and help us to step out in faith.

May we know your love more intimately and share it more abundantly.

Amen. Ase’ and So it is.

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