A Mother's Grief


Near the edge of Green -Wood Cemetery, a sculpture of a beautiful woman –Rose Guarino--reclining across stone steps stops visitors in their tracks. Open-eyed, with lips parted and long hair flowing, she is dressed in a flowing gown, and wearing sandals. She clutches a bouquet of flowers in her hands. For generations, Brooklyn locals have believed that the monument commemorates a mafia bride gunned down on her wedding day in a revenge killing. The true story behind the statue does involve a murder and is just as tragic. 

In the summer of 1909, Dominica Merello and her daughter, Rose Guarino, were dining with family members on the lawn of their NJ summer home when Pietro Silverio, an irate domestic employee, rushed the women, gun in hand, to exact revenge for losing his job. As the women attempted to flee, Silverio gave chase and shot Guarino in the back.  She died three days later.

Guarino’s body was held for two years in the cemetery’s receiving vault while the monument was being built. After years of being subjected to the elements, the bronze sculpture has taken on a green patina that makes it even more striking.  Weather may also have caused the vertical lines, resembling tears, that run down the cheeks of the statue. More than a century after it was built, the Merello Volta memorial remains an object of fascination for cemetery visitors