Woizero Margaret Mercato was born on November 25, 1937 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to her father, Aristide Mercato, and her mother, Welete Amanuel Gebre Kidan. She traces her roots to Menze in the Amhara region of Ethiopia and Asti in the Piemontese region of Italy.
When Woizero Margaret reached school age, she enrolled at a school run by the Canossian Sisters in Akaki, Ethiopia, completing her elementary school education there. She went on to complete her secondary school education at the Empress Mennen school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One of her early career achievements was working as an international telecommunications switchboard operator in the early years of the Ethiopian Telecommunication Agency. She had fond memories of personally connecting Emperor Haile Sellalsie’s calls to international destinations. Woizero Margaret, who always worked hard to improve herself, enrolled at the Addis Ababa Commercial school to study business administration. After receiving her diploma, she served at the Ghanian and Finnish embassies in Ethiopia, as executive assistant for both Ambassadors. In 1970, she joined Ageca, an Italian-owned trade company which imported pharmaceuticals and other commodities. She had risen to the level of Personnel Manager when she moved to the United States to be with her children in 1990.
As a devout Catholic, one of the most memorable events in her life was her 1988 visit to the Vatican for the canonization ceremony of Magdalen di Canosa, the founder of the Canossian Catholic sisters who educated Woizero Margaret at her young age. She was one of the four pupils of the early Canossian mission in Ethiopia who were recognized during the ceremony. Pope John Paul II blessed her during the ceremony which was one of the most treasured moments of her life. The right-to-life was a cause that was dear to her heart. At her advanced age, she marched with young folks to rally in support of the cause. She was well read and ahead of her time, with valuable experiences in life who engaged her friends
in thoughtful, sometimes strong, conversations on religion and other subjects. Each one of them cherish these moments and admire her knowledge and wisdom.
Woizero Margaret, fondly called “Zia” (auntie in Italian) by people who are close to her, inspired people through her desire to help others and her genuine concern for the welfare of all people she met. For her family, she was a pillar of strength and love from a very young age. She was the one who her young cousins turned to for support and who extended family members always turned to in need. She was the matriarch of the family, who influenced them to not accept defeat, and a force who instilled the value of always working hard to succeed. She was also a great parent, blessed with two loving children Menna and Yohannes who adore and respect her. She is survived by them and four grandchildren (Yadell, Daniel, Jasmine, and Abigail). She will be missed dearly.
Woizero Margaret Mercato of Annandale, VA passed away on Monday, October 14, 2019. A visitation will be held at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home on Sunday, October 20th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church on Monday, October 21st from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with burial at Columbia Gardens immediately following. Please visit the Guest Book to share your memories and leave your condolences for her family.
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