Growing up with a single mom on welfare in Brooklyn, Bridgette Cosentino’s childhood wasn’t easy. Though she was baptized Catholic and attended Catholic school, faith was not central to her life.
The religious sisters at Holy Name of Jesus who educated her, however, made quite an impact.
Parish: Christ the King, Mesa
Apostolates: Marriage preparation, Theology of the Body, parish manager
Hometown: New York City
Family: Husband, Steve; five children and one grandchild
The glue that holds her faith together: Daily Mass and frequent confession; being able to sit and talk with Deacon Tom Bishop and Sr. Mary Beata.
What she loves about being Catholic: I believe the Catholic faith is the true faith that Jesus Christ left. I love the fact that the Apostles gave up their lives because they knew the truth, they knew who Christ was and they passed it on to us and kept that lineage continuous. No one else can claim that.
What her faith means to her: To me my faith is everything. My daughter will say, “Mom, we can’t have a conversation with you without mentioning God.” It is who I am.
“They planted so many seeds of love, that whenever I really was down and out, I would find myself sitting in a church, going to a Mass or just sitting and crying,” Cosentino said. “I felt safe. It was always the place I knew I could go back to no matter what.”
Life taught her other lessons. Cosentino said she became a “radical feminist” who resolved she was “going to take care of myself because nobody else was going to.” She promised herself she was never going to be poor again or let a man mistreat her.
Cosentino became an engineer and climbed her way to the highest rungs of the corporate ladder. Along the way, she met her husband, Steve.
Preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church brought Cosentino home to her faith. The couple later experienced an even deeper revitalization of their faith through separate “Christ Renews His Parish” retreats. Cosentino went at the urging of a friend. Her husband went a little more reluctantly.
“When he came home from that retreat, he was on fire for the Lord — on fire for the faith,” Cosentino said. The two became involved in a Bible study with others who had made the retreat. They began to study the Church Fathers and various encyclicals as well as Theology of the Body.
“TOB was a huge turning point for my husband and me in our relationship and then also in our ministry with the Church,” Cosentino said.
Meanwhile, her work for Motorola allowed her to travel the world. She became the first female manufacturing manager for the semiconductor factories and then the first female operations manager. As her son and daughter grew, however, God placed a desire in her heart for more children. She conceived Adrian, but lost him at 19 weeks.
Two other children eventually came along, but she was still climbing the ranks at Motorola. Finally one day in 2003, not long after an overseas trip, she knew she was being called to be a stay-at-home mother. A month later, she was expecting her youngest child, Stephanie.
And so at 42, Cosentino was home with three children under the age of 3 and two more in school.
“I said, ‘Where are all the worker bees?’” she joked. “It’s a big adjustment. I don’t think people recognize how many roles a mother has.”
In 2010 Cosentino became the parish manager at Christ the King in Mesa.
“It’s not like our faith is a class. We get formed all day long, so we need to seep ourselves in an environment that loves the Lord and recognizes the blessings that we have,” Cosentino said. “I have that here.”