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Officers History Ladies Auxiliary FerentinoChurch At Saint Ambrogio's Club there is some activity happening almost every day.  There are Sunday breakfasts, Saturday lunches, Pasta nights, and of course a Fish Fry every Friday.  There are Assembly Meetings, Council Meetings, and Ladies' Auxiliary Meetings.  The bar shows popular sporting events on several large screen HD TV's.  In the summer there is a packed house every Thursday night for Men's Bocce.  Ladies' Bocce is on Monday nights and Couples on alternate Tuesdays.  The fun atmosphere is probably best described in an article written by Mark Bonne that appeared in the Rockford, IL RRStar newspaper September 30, 2004.  
Officers and Councilors:
  All of the club Officers are elected each calendar year for a one year term. The Councilors terms are two years. If they win reelection or are unopposed, they may continue for successive terms.  
 
2016 Officers
President George Mattis
Vice President Jim Ciaccio
Recording Secretary Vacant
Financial Secretary Vacant
Treasurer Louis LaBella
 
2016 Councilors
Scott Fair
Bobby Corirossi
Joe Loven
Joe Saladino Jr
Ben Todaro
Bill Wargo
 

Brief History of the Club:
       The beginnings of the Saint Ambrogio Society can be traced back to the early 1900's as the second wave of Italian Immigration mainly from central and southern Italy settled into Rockford, IL neighborhoods.  A neighborhood group, who were mainly from the Ferentino area near Rome, joined together and began to have regular meetings in various homes around Ferguson Street near Saint Anthony of Padua church.  Other meeting places were above the Barber Shop of "Pete the Barber" and Pio Picchi's building across from the church.  Eventually a constitution was written and the club was founded as the SOCIETY OF SAINT AMBROGIO MARTYR MUTUAL BENEFIT in Rockford, IL on May 1, 1918.
 
  Meanwhile, during the year 1919, the National Catholic War Council erected the Americanization Hall building adjoining Saint Anthony Church on Kent Street behind the home of Father Marchesano the founder and first pastor of Saint Anthony Church. The cost of the Americanization Hall was $13,000 and it was used as a school for the newly immigrated Italians to learn English, prepare for citizenship, and to teach American methods and ideas.
Americanization Hall                       
 
 


By 1928 the Americanization Hall was no longer needed for it's original purpose and was sold to the Saint Ambrogio Society.  It was decided to move the building to a vacant lot at the present address of 802 Montague Street about six blocks away.  The move was done over the July 4th holiday in 1929.  It took two days, including an overnight stay at the top of the hill in front of the Gaziano house, as the frame building was lifted onto wooden rollers and pulled by a team of horses.

Now that the club had permanent quarters, much remodeling work began.  The front door and masonry stairs leading to the Hall was donated by a Chicago engineering firm and the frame building was then enclosed in brick a trade skill well known to the Italians of that day.  A bar was built into the lower level and later a kitchen was added.  Of course a bocce court was built in the back lot.

During the ensuing years the club sponsored many community events including dances, minstrel shows, and a carnival with rides and activities for the whole family.  The members entertained themselves with sporting events, bocce, cigars, and many card games with names like Pedroni (the Boss), Moda, and Scoba.  Of course there was the annual Feast of Saint Ambrogio including Mass and a procession through the streets of southwest Rockford carrying a replica of the statue of Saint Ambrogio.

In 1999 three bocce courts were constructed and then covered by a protective roof.  These are packed granite dust courts approximately 64x12 ft each.  There is an increase in interest in bocce especially among the younger generation and today there is a waiting list for new teams.

It is this younger generation who will help to inject new life into the organization and help to find new ways to move the club forward with fun and fellowship and contribute to the community as envisioned by the original founders in 1918.

 

 

Ladies Auxiliary:
 
2016 Ladies Auxiliary Officers
President Deb Zander
Vice President Pat LaBella
Recording Secretary Gloria Richardson
Financial Secretary Diane Aaby
Treasurer Rosie Nelson
 
 
Ladies Councilors
Marge Bacino
Betty Bondio
Cindy Ciaccio
Jacki Giacone
Joanne Lewis
Vonnie Scarpetta

See the Newsletter for more events and detail

 


Ferentino - Sister City in Italy:
  Because the SAINT AMBROGIO SOCIETY was begun by a group of Italians who migrated to America from the Ferentino region of Italy, the club and it's members have maintained strong ties to Ferentino.  It is a city of about 22,000 people located some 45 miles southeast of Rome  
 

part of the province of Frosinone in the Lazio region.

With over 300 families within the greater Rockford Italian-American community with roots traced to

 
  Ferentino, it was decided to formalize the connection between the two cities.  On May 15, 2006 Lawrence J. Morrissey Mayor of Rockford and Dr. Piergianni Fiorletta Mayor of Ferentino signed a Sister City agreement at a meeting in Rockford.  This agreement will "promote economic cooperation and trade and carry on exchanges in the areas of business, technology, culture, education, and health" as explained further on the GRIAA (Greater Rockford Italian American Association) web site http://www.griaa.com/index.php.  

 


 

Sister City Plaque was dedicated Sunday September 21, 2008.

Click to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge       

The dedication of the Ferentino sister city plaque was one of seven world cities that were honored at the Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza on Perryville Rd near Riverside on International Peace Day.  Some members of Saint Ambrogio were there along with other Italian-Americans.

 


 

Member Photo of Ferentino Mounted as Mural on Club Wall July 9, 2010.

John Licari donated Ferentino Photo     Len Marinelli, John Licari, Ron Ingrassia,
  Frank Marconi, and Carl Arco

During the club remodeling project of spring and summer 2010, it was apparent that the old mural of the City of Ferentino attached to the west wall downstairs needed to be updated.  After several inquiries, it was discovered that our own club member, John Licari, had visited Ferentino recently with his family and had taken some photos with a quality camera that was suitable for enlargement into a large mural.  So club member Carl Arco, who is a retired professional photographer, was asked to work with his brother-in-law club member Ron Ingrassia to oversee the fabrication and mounting of the mural.  A Rockford company called Insignia Custom Signs & Graphics was chosen and after approval of the funds by Treasurer Frank Marconi, the mural was installed on July 9, 2010.

 

 


Saint Ambrogio and the Church:
 

Saint Anthony
of Padua
Church

 
       Because those who founded the SAINT AMBROGIO SOCIETY mostly originated from Ferentino, Italy, they brought to America their customs along with a strong religious connection to the Catholic Church.  In South Rockford, for the most part, that became nearby Saint Anthony of Padua Church.  The church remains a landmark today with it's statues and stained glass windows reminiscent of the great cathedrals of Italy.

In the church a replica of the statue of SAINT AMBROGIO is displayed.  This is the same statue that was used for many years in the annual procession, sponsored by the SAINT AMBROGIO SOCIETY, through the streets of Southwest Rockford.
 
 
SAINT AMBROGIO
, the patron Saint of Ferentino, was a Roman soldier who was persecuted for his Christian beliefs. He refused to give up his faith and was finally slain on August 15, 304 A.D. over 1700 years ago.  Nine years later when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity by the Edict of Milan, Christians could finally openly honor their beloved Saint.  A historical perspective of the Patron Saint of Ferentino can be found in the abridged translation of "la Festa in Onore di S. Ambrogio A Ferentino" by Biancamaria Valeri translated by Thomas D. Luchetti of Rockford, IL.
 

  Procession of St. Ambrogio

The annual Feast of Saint Ambrogio is held at the club in mid-August.  It is usually a multi-day event with Sunday Mass at Saint Anthony of Padua Church, an all day Bocce tournament, and lots of food.  A recent Feast included a free Corn Boil, Sausage & Pepper or Beef Sandwiches, Fish Fry, Trippa Dinner, Pasta Dinner, Kids Bocce, Karoke, Tombola & Raffle.

Another very popular event in the Italian-American community sponsored by the Church is the annual Saint Joseph's Altar Feast in Mid-March.  The traditional dinner of Pasta con Sarde or Pasta Milanese is served along with special treats of Italian pastries used to decorate the Altar.  The special meaning of St. Joseph's day is explained by a similar event held at the club on March 19th, 2003 and told by Rosie Scalise Wolford.


Replica of the Statue of Saint Ambrogio in Saint Anthony of Padua Church
 

 


Club History and Memorabilia

In 1943 there were 25 Italian-American clubs in Rockford. To gain a greater voice in the community and in national politics, several Italian-American leaders created an organization called the American-Italian Civic League. This organization sponsored what was called a "Unification Festival" April 3, 1943. You can read the event program which contains the names of many prominant Italian-Americans who have passed on but leave children and relatives who make up the members of the current four Italian clubs in Rockford.

 


 

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SAINT AMBROGIO SOCIETY
802 Montague Street
Rockford, IL 61102