September 5, 2021
Eulogy for Amalia Muto
Saturday, September 11, 2021
St. Gregory RC Church, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
delivered by Mary Melchiorre
My sister and I would like to thank you for coming to celebrate my mom’s life during this very unpredictable time. When the pandemic began my mom lost her love of coming to church so it would mean a great deal to her to know that you have come to celebrate her life in a place she felt very much at home.
It is important that we share with you our mom, nonna, wife, sister, zia, friend and what many would come to affectionately call her “G”!
My mom came to Canada from Aprigliano in 1951, at the age of 12 with her mom by her side to start a new life as many of you here have done. How brave for one woman with a young child; no English, uncharted territory, and a long boat ride to take such a leap of faith. Thank you for the courage to begin a new life that your grandchildren are fortunate to experience.
My mom was able to attend school in Canada and would graduate from St. Theresa’s school where my sister and I both attended. How remarkable is that! She was always self-conscious of being older than most of her peers in her class but later she would appreciate the value of being given the opportunity to learn another language. That skill would help many new family members and friends to this country. And so began my mom’s journey of how we will remember her as always concerned for others and wanting to help in any way possible.
Soon my mom would be reunited with her sister Mafalda in Canada. A bond that has served as a beautiful example of what being sisters means! The two have taken care of each other through many joyous and tragic events in both their lives. Just recently my aunt shared a story of how she would teach my mom various crochet patterns over and over until they could both create heirloom pieces for their families.
My mom and dad would begin their life together of 64 years strong! And together they would surround themselves with the love of family and friends! During this summer, my sister and I have been able to share many memories with my mom. Her greatest concern was that she never did enough for her family. We would like to take this time to let her know how much she thinks she didn’t do (Italian)
My mom would selflessly provide for her family in the best way to demonstrate love…through food! And how fortunate we were…there is nothing like coming home from school on a cold, winter Sault day to the smell of fresh homemade bread. We couldn’t get to the Nutella fast enough! Or being picked up from school that was literally around the corner because we forgot our umbrellas. My mom would soon share her love of kids by becoming a “special zia” to many! We have grown in an extended family through the various children my mom helped to raise. My sister and I had firsthand experience on what would happen if foul words were used…apparently hot peppers and soap came in handy and soon the kids would learn this lady can cook and she means business. Nothing but love came from the care she gave and she so proudly shared in the many accomplishments of the children she cared for.
My mom loved to sew and we have fond memories of Fabric Land and watching her sew our many outfits for special occasions and in true waste not spirit the scarp material was always available to make our barbies matching outfits.
My mom never missed baking for our birthdays and a special cake tweaked with a little Vermouth was something to always look forward too. Friends would soon learn of her baking skills and her famous Ginetti to which my friends lovingly referred to her as “Gina Ginetti!”
Knitting and crocheting intricate patterns became her hobby. And she found comfort in creating for others. A few years ago my mom completed two bed spreads for Daniel and Alyssa to bring to university. How fortunate for them to have these beautiful heirloom items to remember their nonna!
While knitting, sewing, baking and crocheting are not necessarily skills my sister and I have developed yet they definitely became the patterns and recipes to which she would use to give to others.
Besides the love of her family our mom had very strong religious beliefs, a great devotion for prayer and an abundance of devotion to God. Her phone calls to the kids when they were studying always ended with “don’t worry Nonna will pray for you!” We will miss the unconditional love for us through your prayers!
In a kitchen most people might have a junk drawer mom has what we call the “church drawer” where you can find many past bulletins, news articles of Fr. Trevor’s ordainment, tributes, prayers, the rosary and obituaries. These mattered to mom because they honoured someone’s life and their life story mattered!
Our mom became involved with the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) and how proudly she spoke of the work done by these ladies. She would find joy in a community of women that also had a strong faith and wanted to contribute. In our house St. Anthony is held in high regard. And there was a great deal of joy for my parents in both being able to contribute to a festival that they loved being a part of. A part of bringing what they left to their new life.
My mom was often humbled by others’ generosity and would never want to inconvenience others. She was extremely honoured to receive an award from the CWL for her contributions. She had never won an award before and this honour meant so much to her.
As small as Gina was it was the big things that mattered most family, faith and friends.
Her greatest gift was her kindness, care for others and gentle spirit. We are grateful to celebrate our mom in a place that was extremely important to her. My mom was able to celebrate her last mass on Sunday via the efforts of the church and volunteers to keep the community connected.
As difficult as it is to physically let go of someone the legacy of their memory is everlasting! So mom thank you for always wanting to do so much more for us that it felt like it was never enough! You will always be Our Little Mom, wife, nonna, Zia, friend with a big heart!
The featured image is my aunt’s passport photo. It was probably taken in 1950.
(there’s a similar picture dated August, 1950)
The above image was taken at my grandparents’ house – 106 Henrietta.
(and given that it’s dated, my aunt was 20 years old)
I opted for a different title for this in memorium post, because within her family – among those of us who were born in Aprigliano – she was know as Gilia. And I will always remember her by that name. The formal name, in Italian, was Egilia, but she hated it.
One of my favorite stories about my aunt is her admitting to a group of us, in one of our many visits, that she hated her formal name and that when she applied for a Sears Credit Card she used the name Jean because she liked it.