News from the Fisherman’s Club and Society of Madonna Del Soccorso Di Sciacca:
The Fisherman’s Feast is Boston’s oldest Italian festival, which began in 1910 based on the devotion of Sciacca’s fishermen to the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help). These fishermen brought their traditions with them from Italy and their spirit continues for future generations. The society is predominantly made up of descendants of the original immigrants. Each summer, the Madonna is carried from her home in the Fisherman’s Club to a chapel located at the center of the feast to be honored by thousands.
Legend has it that an ill monk named Nicolo Bruno, who had a broken neck and severe fever, was visited by the Madonna with a clear message: “I am The Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca. I have come to your town of Sciacca to aid and assist people.” She instructed him to spread her message throughout the town and as he rose from his bed, all his ailments disappeared. Amongst scrutiny, he spent the rest of his life spreading her message. This is only one example of the many miracles that occurred in Sciacca.
During the festival, the Madonna is celebrated by members of the society, neighbors and visitors with a four day festival in her honor. The culmination occurs on Sunday evening with the Flight of the Angel on North Street. The Madonna del Soccorso and others like it are an essential part of preserving our heritage for future generations.
Money raised during the annual festival, along with society sponsored events throughout the year help to maintain the statue, club, etc. One event is the annual dinner, which was held at Spinellis in Danvers, and honored Matteo Gallo as Neighbor of the Year. Mr. Gallo, who immigrated to the North End from Salerno, Italy as a child with his family, donates parking each year for the society during the festival.
Please visit the society’s webpage for festival details, membership and other useful information.