Beatrice Castiglia Catullo
“Bea is a nurse by training, an entrepreneur by profession, a humanitarian by choice, and a benefactor by grace.
Everyone should have a goal to leave footprints on this earth. Our Bea has left a long trail of them that will be around forever.” THE PROMISE
On October, 2016, our Founder was conferred an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Mercy College.
The story of the life of Beatrice Castiglia Catullo (Bea) is the material of great literature. The never-ending efforts of this great humanitarian and the unembellished facts of her life are amazing and inspiring. R.A.I.N.’s history mirrors Bea’s own journey of faith, love and commitment.
Bea was a charge nurse at Westchester Square Hospital. Juggling the hospital duties, homemaker responsibilities and the joys of raising three children in a three-room apartment became an almost overwhelming task when combined with the care of her mother-in-law, who was terminally ill with cancer. Bea promised God she would devote a lifetime of work to others if only she could survive the stresses in her own life.
Then, Bea organized and became the first President of the Parkchester Chapter of Cancer Care, Inc. She also founded and organized the Medical Mission Aid Center at St. Raymond’s parish.
In 1964, while still a charge nurse, Bea founded a home attendant service for the elderly who were being discharged from hospitals without proper home care. Bea used her own funds to assist the first patient. In doing so, she earned the admiration of Monroe Lovinger, her patient at the time, who contributed the first donation of $500. When asked for the name of her new organization, Bea looked out the window, saw that it was raining and chose to call the agency R.A.I.N.
Continuing her work in the hospital, Bea rented a Westchester Avenue storefront and set up R.A.I.N. with a single chair, table and telephone. Shortly, she accumulated so many donations of clothing, furniture and knickknacks that she opened a thrift shop which helped to defray operating expenses.
R.A.I.N. was incorporated in 1965. After functioning as a voluntary organization surviving on small community contributions for almost an entire decade, R.A.I.N. was awarded its first government contract by the New York City Department for the Aging in 1975 to provide home care services in Community Boards 9 & 10. That was just the beginning.
Under Bea’s guidance and simple philosophy that “we must rely upon the resources available in our community to provide a consistently high level of care for older community residents,” R.A.I.N. continued to develop comprehensive community services for homebound and elderly persons. As new needs within the community were identified, R.A.I.N. continued to expand its services and develop new programs throughout The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester County. By working closely together with the leaders and residents of the neighborhoods in each service area and with government and private funders, R.A.I.N. was able to offer a comprehensive continuum of services to help seniors live safely and independently in their homes. Today, R.A.I.N. stands as a living example of what is possible when a community joins together to address issues and provide supports to its fellow residents.
Bea’s incredible administrative talents have developed R.A.I.N. into a multifaceted organization, providing a shower of services. Today, R.A.I.N. is the largest nonprofit social services agency in The Bronx offering eleven full-service neighborhood senior centers, home delivered meals, home health care, transportation services, assistance with benefits and entitlements, case management and elder abuse services, in addition to community-based Cucina Dolores mobile meals for homeless and hungry persons. Bea has always guided R.A.I.N. towards a focus of providing comprehensive services to enhance the quality of life for all seniors as an alternative to institutionalization.
In 2012, author Nan Clark wrote a book about the inspirational story of Beatrice Castiglia Catullo titled “The Promise.” Today, at the age of 100, this remarkable woman continues to play an active role in R.A.I.N. as well as in a number of other service organizations. Through her never-ending good deeds, Bea has touched the lives of countless people.
52 years later, and as she is about to turn 100 years old-Bea’s “Promise” continues to be fulfilled.