Special to the Times-Free Press
Turning 105 is not an everyday occurrence, but Rose Pulgliese, a beloved resident at the Leonard Florence Center for Living for over ten years, takes it in stride. “I live a good life,” concedes Rose.
Born in East Boston on September 18, 1916, Rose grew up in a very close knit family consisting of her parents, one sister and two birthers. From a very early age, Rose’s faith became an important part of her life. She was a regular church goer, and religion was deeply integrated into her life. It still is today.
Madeline Siracusa, Rose’s niece, commented that Rose was like a second mother to her. “She truly adored her many nieces and nephews,” said Madeline. “Never having children of her own, she lavished her attention and time on family members.
Rose’s career spanned over 40 years as stitcher at the exclusive Priscila’s of Boston bridal salon on Newbury Street. “She was so incredibly talented,” said Madeline. “I was always amazed by Rose’s sewing ability and the high quality of her designs. Her attention to detail was impressive.”
A patron of the arts, Rose loved going to the theatre and the opera as well as listening to music. To this day, she relishes hearing the hits of the 50’s. Cooking was a form of relaxation for Rose. She liked nothing better than making Italian specialties for extended family and friends. Favorites included macaroni and meatballs, eggplant in any form and home-made chicken soup.
Rose moved into the Leonard Florence Center, operated by nonprofit Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, over ten years ago and is admired by staff and residents alike. Linda Keller, a nurse at the Leonard Florence Center, marvels at Rose’s active schedule. “She is clearly a role model for all of us,” said Keller. “Rose participates in activities, always smiling and laughing. It is a pleasure to have Rose live on our campus.” According to Linda, Rose can often be found at exercise classes, attending movies and concerts, and playing Bingo. Added Keller, “Rose is quick to offer a kind word or positive remark. In short, we all adore her.”
For her part, Rose enjoys being a resident at the Center. As she explains, “When I first had to give up my Boston apartment I was devastated, but soon realized that I was able to make my room into my new apartment. I still have all my favorite things with me. The Leonard Florence Center is truly my home.”
From a very early age, Rose’s faith became an important part of her life. She was a regular church goer, and religion was deeply integrated into her life. It still is. Linda Keller recalled how excited Rose became at the prospect of going to church on her birthday. “My fondest memory of Rose is when I took her to Mass on her 103rd birthday,” said Linda. “The priest asked her to sit up front and then acknowledged her birthday to the entire parish. I will never forget the smile on her face when the whole church applauded her that day.” Added Linda, “We went to breakfast afterwards and the staff gave her a special hat. Then the entire restaurant sang happy birthday. She was beaming from ear to ear!”
As one would expect, Rose has witnessed many significant events in her lifetime. When asked which one has the greatest impact, she was quick to respond. “That’s an easy question,” said Rose with a smile. “I have to say my most important personal event was when Father Hennesey asked me to crown the Blessed Virgin. It was the best gift of my life!
“Rose is a very special spiritual woman and I think this is a main reason why she has lived to the young age of 105,” reflected Keller. Rose agrees wholeheartedly. But she also maintains that her close knit circle has much to do with her longevity. “I have a very large group of family, friends, staff and residents who support me every day,” said Rose. She added, “They mean everything.”
About Chelsea Jewish Lifecare
Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, a highly respected leader in senior living, employs over 1500 people and provides care to over 1200 individuals daily, with campuses in Chelsea, Peabody, West Roxbury, and Longmeadow MA. Offering a full continuum of services, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (www.chelseajewish.org) is redefining senior care and re-envisioning what life should be like for those living with disabling conditions. The eldercare community includes a wide array of short-term rehab and long-term care residences, ALS and MS specialized care residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, memory care, independent living, adult day health, ventilator care, home care and hospice agencies that deliver customized and compassionate care.