CLEVELAND (CNS) — Writer Antoinette Bosco used life’s lessons, both the difficult and the rewarding, to inspire others to find hope in God throughout her long career as a journalist and columnist.

From confronting the tragedy of losing her son and daughter-in-law to murder at the hands of an 18-year-old gunman to the simple joys of parenthood, Bosco also rooted her work in the teachings of the Catholic faith in the hope that her readers would come to know that they are called to persevere.

Bosco died March 20 at her Brookfield, Connecticut, home at age 91.

A columnist for Catholic News Service for 37 years, Bosco also had her work appear in such other publications as:

  • Ladies’ Home Journal
  • Woman’s Day
  • Reader’s Digest
  • Guideposts
  • Catholic Digest
  • The New York Times
  • The Hartford Courant in Connecticut

David Gibson, editor of special projects at CNS before his retirement in 2007, edited Bosco’s columns for many years. He described her longevity as remarkable.

“I always felt that it was her unique personality, her high level of interest in current issues and the force of her strong personality and presence that made her a natural as a columnist and helped her to remain such a popular one over the years,” he said in an email.

“In her columns you could feel that you were getting to know her, as well as her topic of the moment. She might write on one of the many compelling issues in the church during the long, post-conciliar period after Vatican Council II. Or she might write about one of her children in a way that made readers realize that she was more than a writer, she was a committed parent,” Gibson said.

Carole Norris Greene, former associate editor of special projects at CNS, worked closely with Bosco for 21 years until Greene retired in 2011. She recalled Bosco as “a warm, God-loving, God-fearing human being.”

“She always had something worth reading,” Norris told CNS. “She was marvelous women with rich stories to tell. They don’t make them like that anymore.”

Bosco got her start as a writer, freelancing while raising her seven children, including a homeless boy she adopted, in a marriage she had called a “disaster.” Her work focused on Catholic social issues. Her biography of a Belgian bishop was the first of 18 books she would write in her long career.

After a decadelong marriage, Bosco filed for divorce and in 1962, she became a reporter for The Long Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. In a 2011 interview with the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, Bosco said she felt the support of a people who truly cared for her at The Long Island Catholic.

“That was a change in my life,” she said. “People in the church were so wonderful and helped me realize God was good and I could support my children.”

Bosco left the newspaper in 1972 to take a position to promote the health sciences center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island. Three years later, she started writing her column for CNS, continuing until 2012.

After a decade, she accepted a position as editor of a daily newspaper in Litchfield County, Connecticut, to be closer to her ailing father in Albany, New York. She was with the paper for 17 years.

All along, she wrote columns for a variety of publications and numerous books, drawing from events in her life. Her works examined tragedy and human suffering, focusing on helping people develop a closer connection with God.

Bosco lost three of her seven children over the years. After her son John and daughter-in-law, Nancy, were killed at their Montana home, Bosco and her family worked to spare the life of the young man who was convicted of the deaths when he was sentenced to death row.

Throughout their efforts, they pointed to church teaching on the sanctity of life and opposition to capital punishment. Bosco also wrote “Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty,” which was published in 2001. The book received the prestigious Christopher Award, which recognizes artists whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”

Bosco was born Sept. 12, 1928, in Rome, New York, to Mary and Joseph Oppedisano, the second of eight children. She graduated with a degree in science and chemistry from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, in 1950. She later earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from SUNY-Stony Brook.

The winner of numerous awards from local, regional and national journalism societies, Bosco taught journalism at the University of Connecticut-Torrington. She also was a frequent speaker, giving more than 250 presentations on journalism, human rights, spirituality and social justice topics.

Her work to end capital punishment was recognized by the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, which presented her its Walter Everett Humanitarian Award.

Bosco is survived by four of her children, two brothers and two sisters, 15 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

A celebration of Bosco’s life is being planned for a later date.

By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service.