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Prayer and Pizza

Flo Consiglio, the “Pizza Woman of New Haven,” recently passed away, and the town mourned. The local paper carried tributes to her on the front page for at least two days and provided a place for people to send in even more tributes online.
I know the name might give you the idea that she was one of those “local town characters.” Yes, she was local and a character, but she was a well-known business woman, who started an incredible pizza business with her husband and then carried it on after his death.
Why was she so well known? The pizza from Sally’s Pizzeria was and still is, hands down, the best. But it was a whole lot more than that. Flo knew how to make everyone feel important. Politicians and actors came to Sally’s; moms, pops, and their kids came to Sally’s; priests and sisters came to Sally’s; they ate right alongside each other, and they all received the same treatment. Although I have to admit that when the sisters came in, Flo never took our orders. She served us the kind of pizza and the amount of pizza that she wanted to serve. She would always tell us, “You are in charge in your classrooms; I am in charge at Sally’s.” We never rejected anything she served us!
She had people working in the restaurant who might not have gotten jobs in other places, and they were all treated as her family. It was sometimes hard to tell who were her natural-born children and who had been legally adopted over the years. They all worked hard, they sweated, and they loved their work. Love was one of the most important things in that restaurant. Whenever anyone walked in, they were overwhelmed with the feeling of family and community. And faith was crucial. Everything that Flo did was a prayer for her family, her friends, and her customers.
Flo did not make the pizzas, so even though she’s gone the pies will follow the same recipe and will taste the same. But without Flo, there will be something missing that those of us who return there will have to provide for each other.
Will we have the love and the faith of Flo to continue her legacy?
Sister Pat is a member of the RENEW staff, a Dominican Sister, and loves working with Young Adults as the program manager of Theology on Tap.

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