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Sisters of Colombo celebrate 100 years of community service in Trail

Sorelle Colombo to host several events with a Centenario theme, starting with an anniversary tea
Sorelle Colombo is celebrating their 100th anniversary with a variety of events this year. Photo: Submitted

There will be 100 candles on the cake when the Sorelle (Sisters of) Colombo Lodge celebrates its anniversary next month.

The Sorelle Colombo officially formed on Feb. 3, 1924 as a benevolent society serving the community, and the first event to recognize the incredible Centenario milestone is at a 100th Anniversary Tea.

“It was 19 years after the men founded the Colombo Lodge in Trail,” said Sorelle vice president Carmen Davis. “The women back then were always very active in supporting any of the lodge’s functions, and they assisted in catering and meetings, and visiting the sick and elderly, and anything that was associated with the lodge, they did.”

In 1924, Colombo president Domenic Daloise encouraged the ladies to form their own society, and, as they say, the rest is history.

For more than a century, the Sisters of Colombo have worked hard to preserve and promote their Italian heritage and culture through a variety of social activities.

“We are still very compassionate about our membership, the elderly, the sick,” said Davis. “We honour our members at funerals, we provide children activities. I can think of many things we use to do like language classes, and movie nights.

“Over the years we’ve done a number of things just to bring our culture forward.”

The sisterhood has seen the Sorelle numbers fluctuate over the years, yet, today the sisters are holding strong at around 400 members, says Davis.

That number includes regular members, student members, out of town members, members over 80, and members that are now in care homes.

“It is a very healthy membership and it grows by probably at least a dozen new members every year.”

The Sorelle often host their own events, in cooperation with the Società M.S. Cristoforo Colombo (the Men’s Society/Fratelli), to raise funds which they donate to several community groups, including Kate’s Kitchen, Sanctuary, the hospital foundation, school programs, families in need, and more.

“Being a non profit, we are always giving back to various organizations.”

The Sorelle share the hall with the men and have helped the Colombo Lodge with hall renovations and recent updates to the ladies’ bathroom, assisting with events and maintaining archives.

The work seems never to be done, but it is the commitment and dedication that has kept the Sorelle going for more than a century.

“We are really passionate, not just about the food, we are really passionate about our heritage and culture and sharing that,” added Davis. “So that’s what we are trying to do with these events that are coming up.”

100th anniversary events:

The Sorelle Colombo will host an 100th Anniversary Tea for members and guests on Saturday, Feb. 3 to recognize the very special day.

This year, Sorelle members teamed up with Selkirk College to offer an Italian Cooking Series at the Trail campus. The classes run from January to April through the college’s community education programming and is open to all.

Another highlight is a members and guests dinner prior to attending “Made in Italy,” a Broadway performance at The Bailey Theatre by Farren Timoteo. All are encouraged to attend the production.

The Sorelle will be out in force at Silver City Days for the parade, Spaghettata, Bocce tournament and the Sidewalk Cafe.

Mark down Piazza Day on your calendar; the popular celebration is returning Sept. 14 after an eight-year hiatus.

And on Oct. 12, the community at-large can join the Sorelle and their Fratelli Colombo counterparts at the 100th Anniversary Gala at the Cominco Gym, where they will also recognize their 40-year members.

Many events are still in the planning stage, so further details will be released closer to the event date.

A good portion of the proceeds from the events will go back into the community, and supporting the Colombo Lodge.

“Having that lodge also gives back to the community, because it is a place for weddings, events, meetings,” added Davis. “It’s not only for us, it’s for everyone.”

Happy Centenario to the Sorelle Colombo!

Jim Bailey

About the Author: Jim Bailey

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