The Parish of the Immaculate Conception in
the Bronx, New York, honored its oldest
member, Josephine Bisesto, in a special
thanksgiving Mass on August 5th, 2009 in
celebration of her 100th birthday. Those in
attendance included Provincial Minister,
Brian Tomlinson O.F.M. Cap and Provincial
Vicar, Nicholas Mormando O.F.M. Cap.
Josephine was born on August 5, 1908 to
Salvatore and Jenny Pantaleo in the Bronx
borough of New York City. Her parents and
two younger brothers, William and Danny,
were all faithful members of the
Immaculate Conception parish and
committed to their community. Josephine
still lives in the same well-kept house she
grew up in on Barnes Avenue in the Bronx.
A few renown people in Catholic faith have
crossed Josephine’s path during her 100
years of life. Josephine knew St. Frances
Xavier Cabrini (a.k.a. Mother Cabrini), the
first American citizen to be canonized by
the Roman Catholic Church. Josephine’s
acquaintance with Mother Cabrini allowed
her to receive her first Holy Communion
and Confirmation on the same day.
Josephine also remembers when Fr. Raymond Tonini, a founding father of the Capuchin Province
of the Sacred Stigmata, was appointed pastor of the church across the street from her parish in
June 1920. She also worked with the Capuchin High School Seminary students as a catechist and
prepared many children to receive the sacraments.
Josephine met Charles Bisesto during her young adult years. They were married on September 18,
1930 at a nuptial Mass at the Immaculate Conception parish. Soon after the nuptials, Josephine
and Charles moved into the upstairs apartment in the house she grew up in as a child on Barnes
Avenue while her parents lived on the first floor. Josephine and Charles continued their
involvement with Immaculate Conception parish.
Life for Josephine has not been without difficulty. Jenny, Josephine’s mother, died in 1990. Shortly
after her mother’s death, Josephine lost her husband, Charles. William, Josephine’s younger
brother, passed away in 2000.
However, life’s challenges do not stop Josephine from attending Mass every Saturday at 5:30 pm.
She still lives in her Barnes Avenue home and continues to be a devoted member of her church
For all that you have done, Josephine, the Province of the Sacred Stigmata wish you a happy and
blessed life as you enter your 101st year!
A Century of Life...