Maria Galota’s story is of inspiration.
She was born in the beautiful small city of Noto,Italy, the 2nd child to her parents, Maria and Sebastian Quartarone. Her beginnings were tragic and heart-wrenching, but love woven through the threads of time made her the woman she is today. Maria’s mother passed away while giving birth to Maria, and since her father was unable to take care of a newborn baby, he made the difficult decision to give her up and keep her 12-year-old sister. The first three years of her life were spent at an orphanage until she was reunited with them after her father remarried. It is safe to say Maria’s early life was not sedentary. She moved a lot, from city to city and then country. She moved to Canada in 1965 with her father and stepmother at the age of 7. They lived in Canada for 11 years before moving back to Italy.
Just six months after returning to Italy, Maria’s life took a joyous turn when she crossed paths with the man who would become her lifelong companion, Sebastian. They were married in December 1977. The following year, Maria gave birth to a daughter, Maria Rosa and then a son, Giuseppe, a few years later. After 10 years, she moved back to Canada with her husband and two children, settling in Toronto and making it home. Maria finds inspiration and motivation rooted in her family. On June 6, 1994, Maria began her journey at Shepherd Village. Starting in housekeeping at the Manor and Terrace and in the laundry at the Lodge, she has dedicated these past 29 years to serving excellently as a union steward for over 20 years. Maria enjoys working at Shepherd Village and states she has a “good job in a good environment.” She finds fulfillment working among seniors and the nursing staff and is surrounded by great people. She had developed many long-lasting friendships at Shepherd Village, some even from the beginning. It is always wonderful to see Maria in the café with a beautiful smile and a “Ciao, Bella!” as she sees us. She can be seen laughing, telling stories, and actively listening to others. Maria has felt unconditional love from her husband, whom she has been married to for almost 46 years. When her husband Sebastian was 45 years old, while working as a landscaper north of the city cutting down some trees, he fell 10ft and damaged his back. From that point onwards, he could not work. Sebastian is an excellent cook and takes care of Maria as she returns from work every day. She acknowledges the ups and downs she and her husband faced, but they continue to live happily together. Her favourite memories shared with her husband are the cruise they embarked on for their 25th wedding anniversary and frequent travel back to Italy to visit. Maria lives by the saying: “Keep it going, take it day by day.” She believes that despite ups and downs, you must make the best of it. “Life gets a little tough sometimes, and it doesn’t always get easier.” She advised everyone to keep themselves busy through hobbies and interests. ‘As you get older, you experience life differently. How you react to a situation in your 20s is different in your 50s. Once you have a family, things change.” When asked what experience she would like to relive or a time she would like to return to, she remarked that it would be nice to be young again. “Enjoying time with Maria Rosa and Giuseppe again would be nice. They grew up so fast”. She is thankful that her children turned out well and now have their own families. Now a grandmother to 5, she admires her grandchildren as they grow free-spirited, enjoying their childhood. She enjoys going to the park and family picnics. She is grateful for her wonderful husband, children and now her grandchildren. Maria looks forward to retirement to spend even more time with her family. Her commitment to her family and work at Shepherd Village are beacons of inspiration, reminding us that even in the face of adversity, a heart filled with love can illuminate the world.
Maria, thank you for your support in the last 30 years at Shepherd Village. Ciao, Bella!