Angela Bassi
Angela Bassi

Angela Bassi has always had a “glass-is-half-full” view on life, and that’s no different in retirement.

While Mrs. Bassi has technically retired from three jobs, the parishioner at St. Paul’s parish in Schenectady has found that each retirement wasn’t the closing of a book — as it often can appear — but the beginning of her next chapter in life.

“When you look it up, to retire means to move away from something or to go onto something new,” said Mrs. Bassi. “When I think of retirement now, as a 69-year-old grandmother, [it means] to go forward.”

A radiation therapist by trade, Mrs. Bassi has worked at Albany Medical Center, Ellis Hospital and New York Oncology Hematology in Albany. She carries over 45 years of experience in radiation therapy, and one of the most upbeat outlooks on life: “I just enjoy each day whether it’s rain or shine,” she said.

Mrs. Bassi has always strived to use her positivity to help people - whether it’s her children, grandchildren or patients — to smile or laugh each day. No matter how much sorrow there is in life, she said, there is always something to smile about: “It’s all about making the most of” each day.

It wasn’t until her husband, Ralph, died in 2013 that Mrs. Bassi started to think about her own retirement. It was then she realized that while retiring may be the end of her working career, her true job was to enjoy life.

“You don’t retire, because living is our job,” she said. “From the day we’re born to the day we’ll die, what we’re doing is living.”

Mrs. Bassi said that retirement gave her time to focus on the things that she loves, like photography, cooking, and travel — especially cruises with her family.

To fill extra free time, she took a part-time job as a secretary at the Pastoral Center for the Albany Diocese in 2018, where she currently works.
When looking back on her career, Mrs. Bassi said she’s learned a lot from working in medicine, especially from assisting cancer patients. “Dying people teach us more about living,” she said. “Every day is a gift from God.”

Working in radiation therapy taught Mrs. Bassi about appreciating each day, noting that “you learn more from people who are faced with their final retirement than you do from the people who are alive.”

While under her care, Mrs. Bassi said patients would share “their fears, their joys in life [and] their regrets” with her. “When you know you’re facing the big guy, you want to make your life better. Everybody wants to go heaven, so I learned from my patients who had the courage to fight for their life and who fought every day.”

Retirement also gave Mrs. Bassi one of her most fulfilling jobs to date: being a grandmother. “Even though there’s no pay and no pension, it’s my favorite job,” she said.

A mother of two, Mrs. Bassi said that “you’ll always love your children, but when you have grandchildren it brings love to a new level,” she said. “It’s a level where it’s unconditional; you can’t do wrong. They’ll sit next to you and snuggle, and you have the time for them.”

Mrs. Bassi, who came from a large Italian family, was very close to her own grandmother. Born and raised in Schenectady, Mrs. Bassi recalls her grandmother teaching her how to bake Italian Easter bread, and the two never missed attending Sunday Mass at their local parish.
Now a grandmother herself, Mrs. Bassi sees the impact grandparents can have on their grandchildren, especially in faith.

“It’s the grandparents who are still coming [to church] when the parents are busy and working.” she said. “We bring our grandchildren to church and we want them to grow in that spirituality, we introduce them to faith.”

One of Mrs. Bassi’s biggest inspirations is St. Anne, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, who she said is “the ultimate grandmother.”
Mrs. Bassi’s mother-in-law introduced her family to The Shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupre in Quebec City, a pilgrimage site dedicated to the grandmother of Jesus. Families would bring photos of their grandparents and grandchildren to be prayed over, and Mrs. Bassi hopes that one day her grandchildren will visit with their kids, like her own children did.

But until then, Mrs. Bassi is going to spend each day smiling, laughing and loving her family for as long as she can.

“We can retire from a job, we can retire from things we do, but only God can retire us from life,” she said. “And that’s our job in life; our job is to be here for whoever we need to be.”