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St. Madeleine Sophie in Guilderland mourns mother who kept daughter's memory alive

St. Madeleine Sophie in Guilderland mourns mother who kept daughter's memory alive

St. Madeleine Sophie School closed Monday to allow faculty members, parents and students to attend her service.
St. Madeleine Sophie in Guilderland mourns mother who kept daughter's memory alive
Cathi Aloisi and Lindsay Plant at Lindsay's First Communion in 2005, and Cathi next to a tree planted in Lindsay's memory.
Photographer: Provided; Jeff Wilkin

If parents enrolled their children at St. Madeleine Sophie School in Guilderland, they knew Cathi Aloisi.

"She was the first person most of our families met," said Principal Kelly Sloan. "Whenever they would inquire for open houses or tours of the school, she was the one who would meet with them and give them the tours.

"We say it's really because of her that most of these families are here," Sloan added.

Aloisi, who worked as librarian and administrative assistant during her 20 years at St. Madeleine Sophie, died on New Year's Day at age 60. She had battled cancer for the past two years.

About 200 mourned Aloisi on Monday, during a 75-minute service at St. Madeleine Sophie Church.

Daily Gazette readers met Aloisi in 2016, when she was the subject of a feature story in the newspaper's Life and Arts section.

Aloisi had lost her 8-year-old daughter, Lindsay Plant, in 2006. For many years, Aloisi submitted memorials published on the Gazette's obituary pages - heartfelt messages that marked Lindsay's birthday and holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the 4th of July.

2016: Mom's touching memoriams keep daughter's memory alive, May 22, 2016

A smiling photo of Lindsay, a curl of hair in the middle of her forehead, always accompanied the words. The messages often were sorrowful, like the one that appeared on Christmas 2005: "Like a doll on the island of Misfit Toys, I have no more dreams left, except for one: To wake up spending Christmas with you." 

"I have to make sure people don't forget her," Aloisi said during the 2006 interview. "She was so full of life. It's important that people who knew her have the opportunity to remember her. I've had parents, I've had a lot of dads tell me they read the memorials and they seem to hold their children longer on that particular day. They have a newer appreciation of their children and the time they spend with them."

Readers also met Lindsay in the story. Her nickname was "Lulu," she loved the color purple, was in third grade at St. Madeleine Sophie, loved peanut butter and Parmesan cheese sandwiches, butterflies and Saturday night visits to Barnes & Noble with Mom. She loved to talk and spend time outdoors.

Aloisi visited the mausoleum at St. Cyril's Cemetery, the site of Lindsay's interment, every day. She had been unable to make daily visits during late fall, family members said, because of her illness. The mother last visited her daughter on Sunday, Dec. 30.

The last newspaper memorial was published Oct. 3, for Lindsay's 21st birthday.

St. Madeleine Sophie School was closed Monday, to allow faculty members, parents and students to attend the service. Many wore purple clothing or pinned paper purple to shirts and blouses, an acknowledgement of Aloisi's favorite color.

There were remembrances. People talked about Aloisi and her love of books, her caring nature and her faith.

Sloan said even though Aloisi was receiving medical treatments for her cancer, she worked at school as much as she could. She last visited St. Madeleine Sophie before the Christmas break.

"She needed to be here for her own well being, we were like her family," Sloan said before Monday's service. "As much or as little time she could spend, she'd be in the office answering the phones and taking care of the daily things."

Ryan Cardin, one of Aloisi's three surviving children, said his mother never fully recovered from the loss of Lindsay.

"It was devastating for my mother," Cardin said, before the service. "I have two children myself, so I could never imagine the pain she went through with that."

Cardin said some joy did remain in his mother's life.

"She was always the life of the party, picking up a wooden candlestick off the table and using it as a microphone and singing Poison songs," he said. 

Cardin also said Aloisi had many good memories of St. Madeleine Sophie School. And her family.

"She just loved her family," he added. "She wanted to be a mother her whole life, from the time she was a child on, that was her aspiration, to be a mother. And she did it well."

Cardin said he could take some comfort in the belief his mother and Lindsay have been reunited.

"That's the only comfort I have, that hopefully she is with Lindsay and the rest of our family that has passed," Cardin said.

Joan Fallacaro of Niskayuna was a close friend. She and Aloisi graduated from the former Mont Pleasant High School in 1976.

"We were both in the secretarial program together and we both shared most of the prizes for shorthand, typing speeds, all that," Fallacaro said. "We were kind of academic geeks, we really liked school."

2016: Mom's touching memoriams keep daughter's memory alive, May 22, 2016

The women were maids of honor at each other's weddings. They became godparents and confirmation sponsors to each other's children. Fallacaro and Aloisi shopped together, and loved visiting Vermont during autumn.

Like Cardin, Fallacaro said Aloisi enjoyed happy times with her children.

"And funny things, small things were joys to her," Fallacaro said. "She loved this school and all the students and everything she could do for them, that was her joy."

During the service, daughter Erica Plant said she will remember her mother as a hard-working woman who sacrificed for her children. She said Aloisi was big on hugs, kisses, forgiveness and love; and for a simple phrase at bedtime: "Good night, sweet dreams, I love you, God bless you."

"She wouldn't have lasted as long as she did without the love and support of all of you," Plant said. "My mom was my hero, she was my best friend."

Very Rev. James Belogi, pastor at both St. Madeleine Sophie and St. Gabriel the Archangel in Rotterdam, said during his funeral mass homily that both people who knew - and did not know - Aloisi were comforted by the memorials she wrote to Lindsay.

Belogi also talked about motherhood. He said the Catholic church annually celebrates January 1 as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

"How fitting it is that Cathi would go home on that day, when we celebrated Mary's motherhood," Belogi said. "Indeed, for Cathi was above all a mother who cared for her children and her grandchildren."

Aloisi also was entombed at St. Cyril's Cemetery.

Fallacaro believes in heavenly reunions.

"In my mind, Cathi got there and Lindsay was waiting," she said. "She was twirling her around. In my mind, that's what I saw. She wasn't in any more pain and she was really happy."

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]

 

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