by Alberta Fiorella
I was working
with a woman who was an alcoholic. I was so disappointed that she wanted
to buy some liquor after I had worked with her so hard. So I went upstairs
and talked to God.
I said, "Iím
trying to help others, but I need help myself. I need help myself, God!
I mean business!" I cried.
to the public library and looked around for awhile and found nothing. I
didnít know why I had come there. But when I tried to leave, I couldnít
go out the door. I was blocked. I went back to the desk and said, "Do you
have anything on yoga or yogi?" I didnít know what yoga or yogi was. The
librarian gave a book by an Englishman. In the book he described a yogi
who sat in front of a cave and the yogi was "glowing."
to myself, "Thatís what I want to do. I want to glow."
New York 1940
That day I
went to my sonís school to attend a sale. I went everywhere at the sale,
but was always drawn back to a swan dish. So I decided to buy the swan
dish for ten cents. Later my son, Charles, and his friend were playing
with a ball and it landed right on the swan dish smashing it. Somehow this
event seemed significant to me.
As I was discussing
this with someone, a friend said to me, "If you are interested in yoga,
then you should read Autobiography
of a Yogi." I read Masterís Autobiography and I realized that
it was the answer to my prayer of a few days earlier.
1961 SRF Summer Class Series
Alberta is 3rd row, 2nd from the right.
I received the SRF
Lessons and a letter from Daya Mata, dated May 10, 1960. After studying
lesson eight of the SRF Lessons, I went to California. My young son, Charles,
and I went to Disneyland and other entertaining places. I took Charles
to the beach and I couldnít get him out of the ocean. I had an appointment
with Daya Mata, but he did not want to leave the ocean. I turned red from
the sun and didnít have time to wash the salt out of my hair. So I bought
a white hat to cover my hair and we finally made our appointment with Daya
down the elevator dressed in yellow silk, straight, tall, and beautiful.
Charles was sitting on the side as we talked. She talked about Arjuna and
a lot of things. Finally she said, "Youíll have to fight, you know."
asked Daya Mata if he could take her picture. And she consented even though
it was a toy camera. She asked me to stay for dinner, but I told her we
had to catch a train back home. One of the monastics drove us to the station.
summer I went to the 1961 Summer Class Series at the Hollywood Temple.
I was studying and reviewing all the techniques. I took Kriya initiation
at the Mother Center during this time on July 28, 1961.
I stayed in
a rooming house on the same street as the Hollywood Temple. I was in the
garden there at the Temple at the end of the week. One of the Sisters was
watering flowers as I lit a cigarette. At this point the Sister took the
opportunity to not only water the flowers but also to water me! It was
not long after this experience that I stopped smoking.
The most important
bit of advice I can give is to "Stay Happy!"
Son, Charles, Alberta, and Gene
May 6, 1915 - May 19, 1999
After four years of mid-week
meditations at Alberta's house, Alberta announced to me that she was moving
to California to live out her final days with her son, Charles. She had
been gardening and doing yard work all day in the sun and looked to be
in the peak of health and enthusiasm. I had
noticed over the years that she had rarely been afflicted by ill health,
not even colds. Only her
walking and circulation seemed to be affected.
I said, "Surely you mean
your final years!" She did not argue with me.
After meditating for a few
hours and having our closing prayer, she went to the travel altar on
her fireplace mantle and looked at the pictures. Finally, she said,
"It's going to be all right." I knew
that she meant that it was going to be all right for herself as well
as for her loved ones in her family
and the local meditation group. It also reassured me personally, as
she often did.
A few mornings later as
I awoke, I heard Alberta's voice in my mind as she said "Douglas"
once. Later, I found that she had left that morning with her
son on their drive back to California. I
was going to ask her how she did that. The meditation group sent flowers
for her birthday on May 6.
And then we got the
news that she had suffered a stroke over Mother's Day weekend. We
sent prayers, talked to her son, sent a card, and even sent a video
tape of some of us chanting and
meditating as we often had done at her house.
I remembered back a few
years earlier when I perceived in meditation with her that she was
swimming in a large lake of pure liquid light. She was splashing and
swimming with delight in this
lake. Some of this light splashed upon me and entered my spiritual
eye. It was an entirely blissful and
exquisite experience, taking away all hurt and pain, lasting for some
time. I thought, "If this is her
common experience, then I have no worries about her after-life."
Charles said, that she began
to recover as she received our prayers and he read SRF books to
her. Then on the evening of May 18th, she said to him, "I'm going!"
And gave specific instructions on whom to contact and other details. I
feel that I was fortunate to be taking a break from work on
May 19th at 3:00 PM, meditating when she passed away. It was nineteen
years to the day since I lost the friendship of my brother, Daniel
Couch, who had introduced me the Self-Realization
Fellowship path. He also passed away on May 19th in 1980. Obviously,
these two souls have
influenced and benefited me greatly.
Alberta touched the lives
of many in the Kansas City area and elsewhere.
Doug Couch, May 23, 1999
Alberta was born May 6, 1915 in Frackville, Penn.
After her mother died when she was four years old, Alberta and her sisters
became self-sufficient. When she was sixteen, Alberta left home for New
York City to enter nurses' training. After a stint in the Emergency Room
and other medical departments, she was asked to be the new Director of
Nurses. It was wartime and there was a real shortage of nurses. Alberta
gave up her dream of being a doctor to accept the appointment and help
out the war effort to produce more nurses. After marrying, moving around
the country, and holding a variety of jobs, eventually Alberta settled
in Kansas City. In time she and her young son, Charles, were on their own
again. Alberta was a survivor. She opened her own printing company on Troost
Street, which she ran for many years.
She had learned to be self-sufficient. A time came
when life's struggles were too much for her. Finally she said to God, "I
need help and I mean business." It was after that she found Self-Realization
Fellowship in 1960. From that time on, right through her passing, Alberta
relied on God and Guru. She took the lessons, meditated regularly, and
really applied herself. In Los Angeles, she attended one of the early convocation
with about 40 people. There she had a private conference with Sri Daya
Mata, with whom she has corresponded over the years. She never wavered
in her loyalty and devotion to God and Guru.
One of the most remarkable things about her, was
when you thought you were helping her, if you looked beyond the surface,
you found she was actually helping you; but she let it appear to be the
other way around. She'd find things around her house to done when someone
was out of work. She added enjoyment and opened new dimensions in others
by taking them to plays. She built rapport and goodwill in the group by
gathering others together to go out to lunch after services and by letting
them take her places. She opened her home for weekday meditations and spiritual
Alberta took delight with the small pleasures and
beauties of life: the flowers, trees, sky, a bird bathing, a child---in
the ordinary and yet in the sublime reality of life. She saw beyond the
material world and was not entrapped by matter. Often overcome with the
love for all things, Alberta in an enthused, childlike way, would smile
and give that love to all. She used her love and friendship to remind us
of our spiritual side and to encourage us to forge ahead, to persevere.
Even now Alberta is more present among us: bringing
harmony to our group, assuring us that if we stay steadfast the path to
the end, God and Guru shall met us, embrace us, and call us His own.
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