June 26, 1923 - October 7, 2020
She was predeceased by her beloved sister, Rosa Pinto and brother, Rocco Mele. Although she never married or had children of her own, she was devoted to her sisters' children: Nick, Donna, Fedele and Mario. Teresa's life was one of humility, dedicated to God and Family. Her nephew Mario once stated "She is the closest to a saint then anyone we know". No truer words were ever spoken.
At the age of 2 her father died from a cancerous tumour, leaving his young wife to care for 3 children under the age of 10. Her mother Maria struggled every day to put food on the table. Life was not easy in a small farming town in southern Italy.
Her mother made sure her children all learned a trade that would someday provide them with a decent living. Her brother Rocco became a stone mason and was responsible for the building of many houses in Toritto, Italy. Her sister Rosa became a seamstress (dressmaker) and taught many young girls to sew. Teresa's talents were channeled to embroidery. She too taught young girls this beautiful skill and her work was admired by everyone.
Although economically the family was thriving, and unfortunate accident caused her brother's disability and he was no longer able to work. Teresa spent many years looking after her brother, when her mother suffered from osteoporosis and became bedridden for many years. Teresa cared for her mother and brother without once complaining or resenting her lot in life.
Her sister, now married to Matteo, had 4 children and they were the light of Teresa's eye. The poor economic condition in Italy forced Matteo and Rosa to immigrate to Canada. Leaving Teresa, Rocco and Mamma Maria heartbroken.
Teresa suffered many losses in her 97 years. All the people she loved the most were slowly leaving her. Her entire life was spent and dedicated to the church conveniently located across from her home. Until 10 years ago when a tragic accident left her housebound. The last 10 years were especially hard on Teresa. Not being able to attend church every day and help at the the church was one of her greatest losses. She did however take some comfort from looking out her balcony and watching people coming in and out of La Chiesa Grande, for Mass, weddings, and other special occasions. Teresa's last 10 years were dominated by pain. We never once heard her complain. Nor did she ever lose faith in our Lord or question Him as to why she was suffering so. The only thing she questioned daily was why He was not coming for her. Everyone from her generation was gone. All those who would come to visit her were no longer on this earth to visit any more. Even those of a much younger age. She would have gladly traded places with any of them. Donna Wyllie would always tell her, "Zia I would be heartbroken if any happened to you". God came and took her to Heaven on October 7, 2020. Zia Teresa your nieces and nephews are heartbroken. Although we were separated by an ocean and thousands of kilometres, we were always close. You were a second mother to all your nieces and nephews and a second grandmother to your great nieces and nephews. Your love for us was felt just as sure as if you were standing here beside us. We talked weekly on the phone and would always start with, "Ciao Zia" Her memory was remarkable... she remembered birthdays and name days without ever needing to be reminded. Zia Teresa would call each and every one of us on our birthday and name sake days as well, we will never forget that. Anyone who met you fell in love with you instantly. We will always love and remember you. Ciao Zia
(written by Donna Wyllie)
Teresa's Memorial Service for family in Canada is private. There will a Facebook Live showing. Please contact Mary Camastra for access.