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On the Town: Cabrini Literary Guild kicks off new year with tea, outreach to potential new members

Introduced at the Friendship Tea of the Cabrini Literary Guild were member 99-year-old Mary Nelson, her daughter, Edie Hull, and granddaughter, Lenore Nelson.
(Ruth Sowby Rands/Glendale News-Press)

Twenty-nine women gathered in the 1940s to share their interest in good books and Catholic activities. Today, more than 75 years later, the Cabrini Literary Guild is 71 members strong.

Forty of those members gathered recently for their annual Friendship Tea at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada Flintridge. The event marked the beginning of the guild’s new year of activities and philanthropy.

Benda Lantieri, Cabrini president, welcomed members and their guests. She was ably assisted by Lilia Maljanian, the organization’s vice president.

Sister Regina Palamara gave the blessing on the food of sweets and savories. Palamara, who is retired, reminded all that her hearing may not be what it used to be, but “my voice is wonderful.”


And, indeed, it was, as she expressed her love of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who was to become St. Cabrini, the guild’s patroness.

As members and guests enjoyed their lunch of finger sandwiches, fruit, veggies, crackers and dip, Lantieri invited the curators, or chairwomen, of the guild’s four departments to outline their activities so as to entice prospective members in the audience to join.

Marie Urrutia introduced the department called “Better Living/Busy Fingers” and displayed the crochet and knit work of the busy fingers at work. The resulting products — blankets — will be donated to and distributed by Incarnation Church in Glendale.

The book club department has had happy readers for 10 years. Patty Szot, doing double duty as Friendship Tea chair and book club hostess, announced the club’s September selection, “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens.


The bridge club, resuming in October, was described by Maureen Walsh. Members play duplicate bridge and need to come knowing how to play. The club’s curator is Sarah de la Torre, not present at the tea.

The philosophy department is curated by Mary Andrade. She described upcoming speakers, including those from the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.

As if the departments weren’t enough to attract new members, more activities were announced.

Close to Urrutia’s heart is the guild’s annual writing awards held every April at the Oakmont Country Club. She said students from the community’s Catholic high schools are welcome to enter.

At the awards ceremony, the winning writers read their essays, all following a given prompt. The first-place winner receives $1,000. The second-place winner gets $750, and the third-place winner takes home $500.

The guild will raise writing award monies and funds for its other philanthropies through its casino fundraiser on March 14, 2020.

Attending this year’s fundraiser was Marci DeSousa. She so appreciated the guild’s efforts and upcoming activities that she decided to join Cabrini, as did her late mother many years earlier.

DeSousa, who is a Realtor, said she enjoyed reconnecting with some of her mother’s friends at the fundraiser.


Potential member Edie Hull was at the luncheon as the guest of her mother, guild member Mary Nelson. Nelson is 99 years old and has been a member since 1978.

Also along for the festivities was Nelson’s granddaughter, Lenore Nelson. She’s keeping the option of joining open for the moment. All three women are Glendale residents.

More guild members attending the tea were Miryam Finkelberg, Ann Herrmann, Rosa Hohman, Rosa Ortiz, Wilhelmine Kanga and Arlene Nalbandian.

The guild’s philanthropies include Loaves and Fishes Catholic charities and the Bloom Again Foundation, which provides resources for, among others, homeless women with children.

Another organization that the guild works with is the Burbank Noon Lion’s Club. With the guild’s financial help, the Lion’s Club provides eye examinations and glasses for children in need in the community.

The guild’s general meeting on Oct. 10, will feature Sook Le, who will speak on “Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.”

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