Home' The Southern Cross : May 2016 Contents Page 8 May 2016
Southern Cross | feature
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To be invited into a family circle at such a time
is a privilege and a trust without equal.
Nothing matters at such a time,
but the wishes of those we serve.
The Dall’Ostos were a close
family growing up in Italy but
after moving to Australia in the
late 1950s they eventually lost
regular contact with each other.
However, after the passing of
their elderly mother the seven
siblings made a pact to meet
tradition that has now lasted
more than 20 years and has
brought the family back together.
Lindy McNamara reports.
Growing up in a small village in Mosson,
near Vicenza in northern Italy, the Dall’Osto
siblings were a tight knit bunch. Although
16 years separated the oldest and
youngest, the five sisters and two brothers
enjoyed each other’s company and the
noise and ample food that went hand in
hand with a large Italian family.
Their father worked in the local factory
where beautiful fabrics were produced,
their mother looked after her large brood
and the children enjoyed a carefree
existence. Their Catholic faith was central
to their life and everyone looked forward
to going to Mass each Sunday to pray and
spend some time with their neighbours.
But when two of the children made the
bold decision to move to the “lucky
country” of Australia, the family dynamic
was suddenly changed. It wasn’t long
before parents Gianninna and Giuseppe
also decided that their future was further
afield and the remainder of the family
moved ‘Down Under’ over the following
two years. It was 1959 and there was a
huge influx of Italian migrants to Australia,
and like many, they arrived unable to speak
the language and confronted by a culture
where Vegemite was preferred to spaghetti.
“We came for a better life, because our
parents wanted a better life for us,”
recalled fourth oldest child, Cecilia Curtoni.
Initially the family settled in St Peters but
then bought a home in Woodville North.
The language barrier made it particularly
difficult for their parents, so going to
Mass at St Maximilian Kolbe at Ottoway
provided a great comfort and familiarity
as they eased themselves into their new
As the siblings grew older their transition
to being Australians got easier; some went
straight to work, others finished school
and then moved away to different areas
of Adelaide. They all became immersed in
building their own families and often the
only time they all managed to get together
was for family functions.
With the passing of their mother in 1994
the brothers and sisters were brought
together once more. United in grief and
with the realisation that a link in the family
chain had been permanently broken,
they decided to make a real effort to get
And so began a beautiful tradition that has
rejuvenated the family and its faith.
For the past 20 years, come rain, hail
or shine, the Dall’Osto brood has been
meeting on the first Monday of every
month for prayer and reflection – and of
course, a good natter about what has been
happening in their lives and that of their
extended family. While English is now the
chosen language, their Italian roots have
not been forgotten and there is always a
selection of their homeland treats on offer
at supper time.
The monthly gatherings have provided a
means of support and hope during difficult
times the family has faced over the years.
Oldest sister Elisabetta Carlassare passed
away in 2004 which was a devastating
blow. Her daughter Gianna now attends in
her place, along with her father Faustino
who has been a regular since the start.
When Graziella Gasparin’s son Robert was
terminally ill in 2009 the siblings received
permission to access the church at 3am
each week so they could pray together
for him. Joining them was family friend
Rosa Annibaldi, who also found solace
through the Dall’Osto gatherings after her
husband’s death. She has been “adopted”
by the group and now joins them every
While it’s still a rowdy Italian family
gathering, the monthly get-togethers are
really about praying for others in need.
“The Lady of Medjugorje, Fatima and
Lourdes inspire us to pray, pray, pray and
we are inspired by that,” said Graziella.
“We pray for anyone we know who is
sick, for people who have died, for the
priests, for the Church, for our children
and grandchildren and for the holy souls of
purgatory to release them from purgatory.”
While it’s a long way from Italy, when you
look around the table at one of their prayer
gatherings not much has changed. Sure,
the hair might be a bit greyer, there are
more laughter lines on their faces, but they
are still brothers and sisters enjoying each
other’s company and the love of God.
Faith brings family back together
CLOSE KNIT: The monthly Dall’Osto family prayer gathering, back row from left, Alfredo Curtoni, Mirco Dall'Osto, Faustino
Carlassare, Graziella Dall'Osto, Gianni Dall'Osto, Graziella Gasparin and Debbie Dall'Osto and front Cecilia Curtoni, Gino
Piantedosi, Olga Gasparin, Rosa Annibaldi and Elida Piantedosi.
Photo: Nat Rogers
FLASHBACK: The Dall’Osto family in Italy in 1958. Two of the children are missing from the
photograph as they had already left for Australia at this stage.
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