The San Leone Society Hosts Centennial Celebration

The San Leone Society ha festeggiato il mese scorso il suo centenario finalmente dopo due anni. Il relatore principale è stato Basil Russo, membro dal 1968 e presidente del club "Italian Sons and Daughters of America" e conosciuto molto per altri lavori. L'Achievement Award è stato assegnato ai membri Anthony Russo e Joe Russo per il loro lavoro nell'industria cinematografica. C'è stata una cena con musica, una galleria di foto, e varie lotterie. La Società San Leone nasce nel 1920 quando 50 immigrati da Longi, Sicilia sono emigrati negli Stati Uniti. Il club è composto solo dagli immigrati di Longi o da chi ha un legame con questo piccolo paese.

The San Leone Society, a mutual aid group charted in 1920 in Cleveland held their Centennial Celebration (postponed from 2020 due to Covid concerns) on August 21, 2022 in the Grand Ballroom of the Independence Holiday Inn. Over 200 members, family and friends of the Society attended. 

The keynote speaker was the Honorable Basil Russo; San Leone Society member since 1968, President of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, Former majority leader for Cleveland City Council, Former judge of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Former judge of Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals.

A special Award of Achievement went to Joe and Anthony Russo; San Leone Members since 1990 and 1989 respectively, American directors, producers and screenwriters best known for directing multiple films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the second most commercially successful directors of all time, only behind Steven Spielberg. They could not attend due to their directing a new movie, but they did send a personal video thanking the Society for the recognition.

In addition to a wonderful dinner and presentations, guests were able to peruse the Archive Display of decades-old photo albums, certificates, and special memorabilia about the Society, including photos from a trip to Longi, attended by 50 members in 1995. 

An old-world market cart displayed foods from Italy, which were later given away as door prizes. Italian music filled the air as a slide show scrolled through photos of Longi and past Society events.

In the early 1900s, thousands of Italians emigrated to Cleveland, usually to neighborhoods where they had other friends or family. In 1920, 50 men from the village of Longi, Sicily created the Societa di Mutuo Soccorso San Leone – the San Leone Mutual Aid Society. The stated purpose of The Society was “to promote the relation of the citizens of Longi and their descendants, as members of one family.” The San Leone Society currently boasts over 200 members, consisting solely of natives by birth or marriage of Longi, Italy, their children and spouses, and their descending children and spouses. The Society has many meetings and events throughout the year, including picnics, social outings and banquets.

Called “The Miracle Worker” because of the countless miracles attributed to him, San Leone (St. Leo of Catania) was born in Ravenna around the year 720. He was ordained a priest at age 23 and became responsible for the metropolitan clergy for the bishop of Ravenna. In the year 765, he became Bishop of the Archdiocese, and when the confirmation came from Rome, was consecrated. San Leone immediately immersed himself in the reform of the ecclesiastic, the conversion of sinners and the eradication of the last remains of paganism. He died in Catania in the year 786. 

To thank San Leone for having saved the town of Longi from a landslide in March 1851, the people began celebrating a new festival in honor of their Holy Protector. The San Leone Society has a mass every year to coincide with the festival in Longi.