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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spokane's Modern-day Saint Remembered

In September of 2008, Kevin Graman, writer for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA reported on the passing of the city’s “saint,” Bruno D. Costa (photo), a volunteer and friend to Spokane’s homeless and elderly. He was 71.

“He had a soft spot for the poor [homeless] and veterans,” said his sister, Mira Anzalone, of Spokane.

In the summer of 2005, Costa was the subject of a front-page article in The Spokesman-Review about the lives he had touched through his giving-spirit with Catholic Charities.

“You’re supposed to do things for people,” Costa told the newspaper.

And he did. He drove senior citizens to doctor appointments and to grocery stores. He collected food donations for the homeless. He delivered meals to the homebound.

He was a driver for the House of Charity homeless shelter for many years.

“Even after he quit driving for us, he would come by and pick up all the empty milk crates and take them back to Safeway,” said Ed McCarron, House of Charity director. “He was inspired by the Lord to help people and was concerned for his fellow man.”

A devout Roman Catholic, he attended 6:30 a.m. Mass daily at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes before putting his faith to work, much of it carried out in his ’92 Ford Taurus.

“I appreciated him,” said Laura Faulkner, a resident of Cathedral Plaza, a downtown apartment complex for seniors. “We did depend on him, and sometimes we felt he was doing too much.”

Never married, Costa lived alone at Cathedral Plaza, where Italian and U.S. flags waved from his balcony. Costa was born Jan. 29, 1937, in Spokane, the third child of Italian immigrants Domenico and Antonietta Costa, and raised in Clayton, Wash.

After attending Gonzaga University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany in the late 1950s.

He worked as a bartender for 17 years at the former Flamingo Restaurant in north Spokane.

After retiring nearly a quarter of a century ago, he devoted his life to caring for the poor.
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