A Search for Faith, Family, and Miracles
by Justin Calanoso

YES! Weekly

Editor Brian Clarey offers his take on “My Cousin the Saint,” and his alternative weekly, Yes! Weekly, offers its picks for summer reading. Brian’s story begins:My Cousin the Saint

“Justin Catanoso and I have a lot in common. We are both editors of weekly newspapers, and both of us grew up in the Northeast before settling in Greensboro to nurture our families and careers. We are both married to beautiful blondes, and we both have daughters named Rosie. And we share a common heritage.

“Catanoso, like my own mother, is an American of full-blooded Italian descent, and we can both trace our roots back to Calabria, the toe of the boot.

“You can read the history of Italy in his face: his Roman nose and heavy brow, raw intelligence gleaming in his dark eyes, his jaw like an outcropping of rock, his olive-oil skin and hair like black wire.

“He looks like he could be one of my uncles, out there throwing bocce balls on the lawn.”

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3 Responses to “YES! Weekly”

  1. Joe Pedalino Says:

    I was given your book from a good friend of mine. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and completed it in 3 days. I didn’t think much about it until afterwards, but it was given to me by a man who is exploring his own religious convictions and will be converting to the Catholic faith this coming spring! While I don’t have any saints in my family ( except my mother and father RIP), I do come from a long and very large Sicilian family. Three of my grandparents cam from the same town in Partinico Sicily. My paternal grandmother came from Petralia Sottana also in Sicily. Like you I was fortunate to return to Sicily and “discover” my roots in my mid 30′s. I was able to piece togther all of the old stories from my aunts and uncles on both sides of my family tree. I was able to sleep in the house that that my grandmother was born in, and like you walk the same streets and fields that my grandparents did as children. Also like you, I was able to experience these things again with my 2 children who were 6 and 7 at the time. All I can say is that I don’t really understand how I feel sometimes in regards to my heritage, but to quote the actor Paul Sorvino…” Life is too short to go through without being Italian”. God bless you and your family, and I hope that your faith grows as you experience each and every new day……Salute!!!

  2. justin Says:

    Joe — Thank you for this wonderful comment and sharing your story. One of the true gifts I’ve had in doing this project was having a reason to trace these roots, to meet these relatives, to be welcomed into their lives. I love the Sorvino quote! We are not alone in feeling this way.

    Tell me — where are you writing from?


  3. Brian Clarey Says:

    Just saw this… Thanks again for your time. My Calabrian grandmother is reading the book now. I’ll let you know what she thinks.

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