Villa Charities 2018 Annual Report VC19_AnnualReport_Interiors_Apr29_FNL2 - Page 54

“ His guidance meant a lot to all of us.” villa colombo vaughan profi le - Mary LaRocca, VCV Volunteer Villa Colombo Vaughan (VCV) prepared in 2018 to bid farewell to one of its most devoted and admired supporters and caregivers, Father Gerolamo Raff aele Bruzzone, or Father Ralph as he is known. Father Ralph began volunteering at VCV following his retirement in 2009, offering residents spiritual care and celebratory mass on Sundays. During his time at VCV, he came to recognize the importance to seniors of simple gestures such as shaking hands. “Seniors and the sick are the people Jesus left for me to care for, love and support in the last years of my priesthood,” says Father Ralph, who returned on April 10, 2019 to Savona, Italy, where he was born. “I am grateful for the opportunity to go back to Italy, but a precious gift is taken away from me – the presence of the residents.” “His guidance meant a lot to all of us” says volunteer Mary LaRocca. “He wrote a paper of life lessons to remind everyone that resident care is our first priority. I took that to heart. That feeling of making a difference in someone’s life is so rewarding.” With his return to Italy, Father Ralph’s life journey will have come full circle after a career of service on both sides of the Atlantic and postings in several communities. Fortunately for VCV residents, retirement led him to serve them. When asked to share a reflection with others searching for their life purpose, Father Ralph responded, “People should look within themselves first in order to understand what they want to achieve in life and, little by little, they will be able to put the pieces together.” Joseph Gulizia, President and CEO of UniversalCare, the operator of VCV, says Father Ralph’s presence at VCV will be felt deeply even after his return to Italy. “The contribution made by Father Ralph will be everlasting due to his unwavering commitment to the residents’ spiritual wellbeing,” Gulizia says. “He has given his time unselfishly and unconditionally.” The truth is, Father Ralph really never retired. Instead, he continued to care for and support VCV residents and families, and to assist other volunteers. 54 VILLA CHARITIES ANNUAL REPORT 55