Melbourne, Oct 23 : Despite the marriage proposals she received, Maria Caterina Reitano, a 99-year-old virgin from Sydney, remained single.
Reitano, who turns 100 in January 09 and is known as Aunty Cathy to those who know her, lives at Lady of Grace nursing home in Dural.
"When I was younger I thought I may have been missing out but then a few men came along when I was older and I said no," News.com.au quoted her as saying.
"If I wanted to get married I would have in the flower of my youth," she said.
She had been on the verge of marrying her first love Giovanni, but when she turned up at the church in her best dress and he did not like it, she broke up with him. Then after a few years she met her second love, Benedict, but was not able to marry him, as her father and stepmother did not permit her to. Reason being that as the eldest child they wanted to keep her at home to look after the house and her seven siblings.
Benedict married another woman, and after she died he proposed to Reitano again just before she migrated to Australia from Reggio Calabria in Italy when she was 41.
But the elderly lady said no to the proposal, as she did not want to be compared to his first wife.
Reitano stayed on with her family and helped take care of her nieces and nephews, and even though she is a virgin, it did not stop her from discussing men with her nieces.
When an interpreter for The Daily Telegraph interviewed her, she pointed out her single status.
"Tell them I'm single," she added.