From Abruzzo with Love

Three proud sisters – Madeline Dent, Irene McCart and Jennifer De Luca – descendants of the De Luca family of Villa Santa Lucia, Abruzzo, along with Marg Monro, were the organizers and facilitators of this year’s Abruzzo Reunion Weekend. The fun occasion is a gathering of offspring families originally from Ofena, Villa Santa Lucia or Carrufo located in the beautiful pastoral region of Abruzzo in Central Italy.
It was the group’s fifth reunion; 2007 and 2010 in Vancouver, 2012 in Abruzzo, 2014 in Grand Island, New York, and 2016 at the exquisite Hendry Park in the Trout Lake area of Vancouver’s east-side.
Scores of relatives – their spouses – and childhood friends attended the weekend celebration of heritage, camaraderie, good fellowship and of course story-telling. Members travelled from as far away as Norway and Switzerland to come to the event. They were joined and embraced by those from BC, Alberta, Ontario, California and Massachusetts.
Anna (De Luca) Voisard, accompanied by her husband Jean, was the only person present at the Reunion actually born in Villa Santa Lucia. She immigrated to Canada with her parents in 1959. Among those fascinated by this coincidence were first-time visitors to Canada Ann and Ken Reed from Whitman, MA.
The Sunday picnic (July 31) was held under blue skies and blissful temperate weather. Musicians James and Barry played old favourites while gifted singers Diane and Teresa provided the lyrics. They were accompanied by a phalanx of young people caught up in the family revelry which is indeed signature Italian.
Among the senior attendees to this wonderful gathering were Paul and Eva (Mantine) DiFonzo. They were joined by daughter Paula and son-in-law Gordon Boleen, who served brilliantly as official photographer, plus members of Mrs. DiFonzo’s extended family.
An extraordinary take-away gift from the organizers was a souvenir program entitled “From Abruzzo with Love” in which a 52-page section entitled “Pedigrees” is featured. The format and presentation of the extensive family tree is the masterful contribution of Barry Ciccone of Calgary.
As this truly successful reunion becomes history, the retiring De Luca sisters are passing the torch to those willing to accept the challenge of organizing the next Abruzzo Picnic … perhaps in 2018?
Ray Culos

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