Eugenie Carmel Gazal is no stranger to work and struggle. In this brief video, she describes how her mother’s example inspired her to start a second career late in life.

I’ve always been a positive person and have tried to reinvent myself with each new experience in life, especially the difficult ones. My mother, Olga, who was widowed at forty-four with a family of girls, taught me the power of resilience and that gender was no barrier in achieving what we want in life. Born in 1890, Olga was a true-blue feminist and wanted her girls to be powerful, professional people. So instead of withdrawing from the world, which can happen following the loss of loved ones, through the encouragement of my children, I embarked on a new journey into the world. In 1987, at the age of twenty-four, my plucky daughter Julianne purchased a travel agency franchise. Within a year, I was her right-hand woman, having retrained as a travel agent. It was quite a departure from my training as a classical violinist, yet being a travel agent felt as naturally to me as performing in an orchestra. My family and I still chuckle about the fact that I was the only sixty-year-old student while my peers in the various travel courses were babes at only eighteen.

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Ana Maria de Castro Santos

HopeOn one of these visits, we found a young woman with four children who had nothing to eat. The mother was crying and showing us the empty pots. I looked at Anna, and she looked at me. There was a lady nearby selling jackfruit, and we asked the lady for a piece. Anna shared the jackfruit with this family. The young woman was glad because the children ate, and she served the jackfruit with flour. It was a great feast!

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Martin Benton

WorkBefore I started making pottery, I had the idea that you had to make a perfect pot. Over time I have come to realize there is no such thing as a perfect pot. There is a relationship between the potter and the clay, and the clay has a mind of its own. You can shape it and bend it to a certain extent. But if you try to mold the clay in a way it doesn’t want to go, it will end up in your lap. [laughs] Pottery is a good teacher. It teaches you patience and how to get centered and not think about anything but doing pottery.

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Desmond O’Grady, SJ

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Leah Chase

WorkLeah Chase, the famed New Orleans chef and inspiration for a classic children’s animated movie, has fed musicians, Presidents, and countless visitors in her restaurant Dooky Chase’s. In this audio clip, she discusses the value of constructive criticism in helping us grow and improve.

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Joe Schneider

LoveI met her on a blind date. One blind date, and we just walked in for life! They talk about love at first sight. Well I’ll tell ya—that was it! She was the girl I didn’t even know I was looking for until I saw her. It was God’s gift. A lot of people say, ‘It was luck.’ But you know, God operates in different ways. I think God sent two people he wanted to keep together because he knew we’d have the glue to stay together. It was a very, very wonderful life.

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