Casa Angelica: Arlene's Legacy

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UNM Press, 1997 - Social Science - 122 pages
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The pediatric specialist confirmed their worst fears: the Arrigonis' baby daughter Arlene had suffered irreversible eye, liver, and brain damage as a result of an undiagnosed birth defect. When Rena and Al Arrigoni left the doctor's office that April morning in 1957, they knew for the first time why Arlene had needed to be hospitalized so many times during her first six months. But what they could only begin to understand was how they were going to care for her. Arlene's physicians predicted she would survive just eight years; she lived to be twenty-two.

This book is the story of parenting a child with disabilities. For eleven years the Arrigonis raised Arlene at home, seeing her through countless medical emergencies and coming to appreciate her tenacious will to live. In 1967, following six years of planning with community leaders, innumerable volunteers, and the Canossian Daughters of Charity, the Arrigonis created Casa Angelica, New Mexico's first privately operated home for youngsters with severe disabilities. Its programs help youngsters reach their highest level of independence and self-reliance, and Casa Angelica developed nationally recognized educational initiatives that opened up schools to children long stereotyped as unteachable.

 

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Contents

The Birth of an Angel
1
A Time of Hope
11
An Angel Never Cries
15
Birth in the Morning Light
21
Non Devi Mai Perdere la Speranza
31
Dreaming Then Doing 3 5
35
A Letter from Rome
43
Financing the First Alfalfa Field
49
Letting Go
77
Visiting My Angel
81
From Milan to the South Valley
85
The Story of a Lost Child
91
Even Angels Go to School
97
Cant Smile Without You
103
Ring Those Bells
109
Epilogue
113

Ground Breaking on Fertile Soil
69

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About the author (1997)

Rena Arrigoni is a life-long resident of Albuquerque.

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