Albina and Salvatore Bruzzese Pilot photo/ Courtesy the Bruzzeses
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EVERETT -- Almost every day, 67-year-old Albina Bruzzese goes to her parish, St. Anthony of Padua in Everett, to perform some sort of service. She cleans the church. She does the laundry. She distributes Communion to the shut-ins of the parish. She sews articles that need mending.
“I dedicate my life to the Church,” she said, speaking from her Everett home.
A retired hairdresser, Bruzzese has always relied on her faith to get her through life.
“Every day of my life, I try to do everything with God,” she said. “Every day I wake up and say, ‘Gesucristo aiutami’ (Jesus Christ help me)”
According to Bruzzese, it was God’s help that has propelled her through difficult times, such as when her mother was old and infirm. Bruzzese took care of her in her home as her mother, who had Alzheimer’s, suffered several strokes and was left blind.
“If it wasn’t for my faith, I don’t know if I could have taken care of her like I did,” she said, adding “my faith sustains me like food.”
A native of Italy, Bruzzese came to live in Massachusetts when she was 13 years old, first settling in Hingham with her family. At the age of 17, she married her husband, Salvatore Bruzzese. The couple had two children, both of whom are now married with children of their own.
“We Italian people stay married,” said Bruzzese. “I love my husband more today than I did yesterday.”
Together with her husband, Bruzzese has been a parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua for over 30 years. In addition to volunteering at the parish, she is also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a member of the Padre Pio Society. Bruzzese also noted that she belongs to a weekly Bible study led by her pastor, Father Dominic Rodighiero. She praised how Father Rodighiero explains the gospels in a way that anyone can understand and how he is always willing to answer any questions his parishioners may have.
“My husband jokes that I should just take my bed to the church, I’m there so much,” she said with a chuckle.
Perhaps what Bruzzese is most proud of is the parish’s “House of Sufferenza.”
According to Bruzzese, the Padre Pio Society raised enough funds to renovate the former convent and turn it into a house “for people who need a place to live for a time.”
“The Italian community donated everything inside that house -- from the furniture to the plates, everything,” she said, adding that every year, the Padre Pio Society holds an annual celebration to help keep the house open to anyone who may need it, she said.
Currently there are two religious sisters living in the house, one of whom volunteers at the parish alongside Bruzzese, beautifying the church.
“To me, having faith means to be a good human being,” she said, “to have the love of God.”
“If you don’t have the love of God, you can’t love yourself and if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love no one,” she said.
St. Anthony of Padua, Everett
Year established -- 1927
Pastor -- Father Dominic Rodighiero, C.S.
Parochial Vicar -- Father Lino Garcia, C.S.
Deacon -- Thomas Marchant
Parish Secretary -- Ersilia Matarazzo
Dir. Religious Education (English) -- Doris DiTullio, Maria Sentance
Dir. Religious Education (Spanish) -- Maybell Montano
Music Director -- Kathleen Hersey
School Principal -- Maria Giggie