On the Town: Prospective members learn guild’s mission

Guests considering joining the Cabrini Literary Guild learned about its many facets during the Membership Tea in early September at the Incarnation Church Community Center.

The patio framed by lush foliage was an inviting setting to take in one of the first fall-like days.

President Miryam Finkelberg opened the program by emphasizing that the organization, founded in 1943, continues its objective these 73 years later — to assist financially and in other ways Catholic and charitable organizations. Members also participate in activities that stimulate interest in Catholic literature.

Guild member, Sister Regina Palamara, who serves with the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart order, gave her blessing followed by the organization’s new moderator Father Norman Supancheck, who presented the invocation.


Ann Herrmann, curator of the Bridge Club, led the group in organizing the tea and chose a patriotic theme in honor of Patriot’s Day. Marie Urrutia, general curator, catered the delightful menu of mini sandwiches, fresh fruit in a swan-carved watermelon and lemonade or iced tea, of course.

The new board of directors was announced with Finkelberg taking on the presidency for another year. She will be assisted by Jessica Botticella, first vice president; Karen Swan and Patty Szot, co-second vice presidents; Anne Phelps, recording secretary; Herrmann, corresponding secretary; Maureen Walsh, treasurer; Urrutia, general curator; Laurie Leask, director of membership; and Monica Sierra, director of the Writing Awards Program for students of the Archdiocesan high schools.

Botticella gave an overview of the programs for the year including a bingo night on Oct. 15, the main fundraiser on March 11 and the Writing Awards Program on April 13.

Joan Sandon, as philanthropy chair, explained that she gathers her committee to decide which local charities will receive donations at the June luncheon a well as the amount of funds they will receive.


The guild also offers members four special interest departments.

There is a Book Reading Club in which members discuss a book they have read on the second Wednesday evening of the month. Members take turns choosing the book title. In the Bridge Department members play Duplicate Bridge from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Members in the Busy Fingers Department participate in several needlework projects and receive instruction as needed from more proficient crafters. They meet from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

The Philosophy Department gives members a chance to hear guest speakers address subjects relating to religion. A discussion follows. Meetings are at 10 a.m. the third Tuesday of the month.

The guild is named for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who is known as Mother Cabrini all over the world. She promoted education and literature and charitable work along with her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart with headquarters in New York, Chicago and Burbank.

To join, email

Fundraiser helps homeless families

Family Promise of the Verdugos, a local nonprofit organization that assists first time homeless families with children find housing and sustainable employment, is having its sixth annual Empty Bowl Lunch and Arts & Crafts Fair on Sunday.


Independent potters, arts associations and community groups create and donate handcrafted ceramic bowls to the event. Guests purchase a ticket for a simple meal of soup, bread and dessert donated by area restaurants. Those purchasing an adult ticket or sponsorship get to take home a handmade empty bowl made by a local artisan as a reminder of the hunger and uncertainty homeless families face every day.

Proceeds go to the program that offers temporary shelter and food for families while parents receive training to find a job.

Abraham, who asked that only his first name be published, recently graduated from the program and is now living in an apartment with his daughter. He had been working two jobs to make ends meet, but became homeless when he lost the second job, he said.

He called around, but only Family Promise was able to help him. A case manager and volunteers at the organization’s resource center help clients with resume preparation. Clients are able to use the computers with Internet access, printers and phone to research job leads, he said.

Abraham was able to secure a second job, and he and his daughter stayed in the program until he had enough money saved to get an apartment plus a little extra for emergencies.

For those thinking about applying for the program, he suggested following the plan they provide and staying focused.

This year the arts fair begins at 11:30 a.m. and drop-in lunch runs from noon to 2:30 p.m. in St. Albert Hall at St. Finbar Catholic Church, 2010 W. Olive Ave., Burbank.

Adult tickets are $30. Children’s tickets are $15 (ages 11 and under) but do not include a ceramic bowl. Sponsorships are available for $2,500, $1,250, $600, $400 and $150.


This past year, Family Promise has made great strides, including a 96% success rate of homeless-to-home transition, with each family typically spending between six to eight weeks with the organization, said Board President Renee Johnson. In addition, Family Promise was named the nonprofit of the year for the 25th Senate District by Sen. Carol Liu.

The agency works with a network of 26 local congregations, 13 of which host families for one week on a rotating basis.

To qualify for this 90-day back-to-work program, families must include at least one adult and one minor and have no active alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness or felony convictions. Throughout the entire process, the family is able to remain safely together, with the children going to school so they don’t fall back academically.

Family Promise officials believe that by intervening early, the organization helps to stop situationally homeless families from spiraling down into chronic homelessness, thereby strengthening the community.

To learn more, visit


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at