In the main western gallery of the mausoleum in the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa, Italy stands a marble statue carved by a noted sculptor of what the locals call the Paesana.
The Paesana, whose name was Caterina Campodonico, sold nuts and cakes at her little stand at one corner of Ponticello Square in heart of the city for more than fifty years, Thousands of people knew her, and she and her treats were very popular.
One day, in her later years, Caterina caught a bad cold and was bedridden for several weeks. Since it was the first time in decades that she had been absent from her stand, it caused quite a commotion amongst the townspeople. When they found out what had happened, dozens visited her at her bedside to offer words of encouragements and prayers. Their thoughtfulness touched Caterina deeply.
Eventually, Caterina regained her health and returned to her stand. Seeing the faces and smiles of her friends and acquaintances made her realize how much they meant to her and how much she meant to them. It caused her to think deeply and reflect.
Soon afterwards, Caterina paid a visit to the Staglieno Cemetery and met with the manager. “I am growing old and before long, I shall depart from this world,” she said. “While I am still alive, I want to have a memorial made for myself. I would like it to be a statue.”
The cemetery manager protested. “That will hardly be possible. Our regulations are very strict. The statue would have to be made of marble and be the work of a recognized artist. Such a statue would cost a great deal of money.”
“Oh I do understand,” she said. “I have the money, but more importantly, I have many friends, and I do not want to be forgotten by them when God calls me home. I want to be remembered.”
And so she was. The sculptor Lorenzo Orengo carved a statue that stands now and forever in the famous Italian cemetery.
“I want to be remembered.” It is a cry that has been echoed down through the centuries, in every nation, every culture from the beginning of time to the present day. It is evidenced through the grandest of tributes such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, to the simple prairie cemeteries of the old west.
At Forest Lawn, we believe every life deserves to be remembered. It’s the reason we exist—to provide a dignified and fitting tribute to remember those whom we love. To learn more about how simple and affordable it is to create a memorial plan, please give us a call at 800-2-FOREST or click here.