Story Walk: "operas"
The Last 100 Years by Sister Rosemary Burgio and Sister Maria Mariani
Sister Maria Mariani: When and where were you born, Rosemary?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: Well, I was born in 1908, and I was born in Italy. I was there until I was four years old. My father was Joseph, my mom was Germania Pettice. They were wonderful parents. My father loved music, and he played operas, so that we got accustomed to hearing good music.
Sister Maria Mariani: Where did you go to school?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: Well, I went to public school 27, and I was in the sixth grade, and the seventh grade teacher was going to be Miss Leiden, but when I got to September Miss Leiden wasn’t there. And we asked, “Where is she?” They told us that she went to the convent. When I went home, my mother explained to me what a convent was. She said that young ladies devote their lives to God.
Sister Maria Mariani: Was there any influencing factor or person that influenced you on becoming a Sister of St. Joseph?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: Well, I remember we made a retreat, a weekend retreat during Lent, and it made me think, and think, and pray. And that’s when I really made up my mind, definitely after that retreat. My father said, “I thought you were going to be a teacher.” I said, “I am, Papa. I’m going to be a religious teacher.”
Sister Maria Mariani: So you went to the convent, what year would that have been, Rose?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: In 1928.
Sister Maria Mariani: Having lived most of your hundred years here in Rochester, New York, what changes have you seen over the years in our city?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: The city has grown, really. In the beginning, I remember a horse, and a wagon, driven by a Mr. Wegman, he was selling fruits and vegetables on the street. Well, the Wegman, Mr. Wegman now, has, he’s passed away, but his sons, have these big, big stores, Wegman’s, all over the state, and they’re still growing.
Sister Maria Mariani: Did your mother buy vegetables from them?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: Daily. And the iceman used to go down the street, too. We used to run after the iceman, wagon, get little pieces of ice, I think that was a treat.
Sister Maria Mariani: Would you share a little about your religious beliefs?
Sister Rosemary Burgio: All I can say is that God has been very good to me. I have many, many blessings. And I pray for all the people I have met, or taught, pray that there is joy in their heart, and that they draw closer to God. That’s my one wish, now that I’m a hundred years old.