Author: Cath Laria, Cath Zirilli & Kathy Schimizzi
Family, Faith & Fortitude is a collection of stories from four generations of the Iermano family. These beautiful recollections told by the grand-children and great grand-children of Caterina Oliva and Antonio Iermano recount how the family survived loss and hardship in Calabria, Italy, and travelled across the world for a new start in Australia. Generations of Caterina and Antonio’s family thrived in their new home, but never forgot the importance of family. Three cousins named after Caterina—Cath Laria, Cath Zirilli and Kathy Schimizzi—set out to arrange a family reunion to celebrate what would have been the 125th birthday of their beloved grandmother. That joyful event took place on 7 December 2012 and was the catalyst for Family, Faith & Fortitude. Juggling their work and family commitments to record the memories of their family, what emerged was a tribute to the determination and strength of three remarkable Italian-Australian women inspired by the legacy of a heroic woman who will never be forgotten.
Cath Laria--- I am 68 years old, married, mother of 4 children and grandmother to 7. I migrated to Australia from Italy when I was 6 years old with my mother, sister and 2 brothers, and currently am semi-retired. I love reading, spending time with my families and friends and travelling, especially to London where my younger daughter lives. Cath Zirilli--- I have been happily married to my loving husband Joe, for 50 years. I have achieved much in my life, including obtaining a bachelor of teaching, as a mature-age student. I enjoy many hobbies such as writing poetry, art, sewing, music and cooking. The passion for the art of cooking was taught to all of us, by a wonderful grandmother, Caterina and my mother Marianna. The greatest privilege and achievement that still humbles me today, is having had four amazing and talented children to love and cherish. I have eight beautiful grandchildren and they, together with their parents, bring love, laughter, joy and meaning to my life. Kathy Schimizzi---- I was born in 1961 in Griffith, Australia and have lived in the “world’s best kept secret”—Canberra for over forty years. In 1983 I was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Computing Studies and had a career in information technology for nearly twenty years. I am married to Andrew and sixteen years ago we were blessed with the birth of our beautiful daughter Katie. It was at this time that I chose to become a stay-at-home mum—a role that I embraced with both arms! My role then extended to the care of my elderly parents—an experience that I will always treasure. I am the youngest grandchild of Caterina Oliva and Antonio Iermano