Three men, an idea, and a passion to see social justice and equality extended to a minority ethnic group were the ingredients that went into the creation of the Loggia Francesco DeSanctis # 1411 of the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.
These three men, Edward Canzano, Pasquale Corbosiero, and Paul Arminio, members of Natick's St. Rocco Society, founded the Francesco DeSanctis Lodge #1411 in April 1926. The Lodge was conceived to provide a social center through which Italian-Americans could gather for activities, mutual assistance, and a better understanding of their new environment. By providing a center for a cooperative effort, the Lodge was able to assist such worthy causes as the great medical research fund drives to the Florentine Flood Relief and the Leonard Morse Hospital Building Fund. Through such humanitarian activities, the people and traditions of Italy span more than four thousand miles of ocean to fuse inextricably with the people and traditions of the New World. By such activities, the Natick Lodge lives up to the spirit of its namesake, Francesco DeSanctis.
Francesco DeSanctis (1817-1883) was born in Morra-Irpina (today known as Morra-DeSanctis, Avellino) is one of the pivotal figures of nineteenth century Italian intellectual history. An educator, historian and generally regarded as the greatest of all Italian literary critics, he served as governor of his native province of Avellino, was minister of education, and chair of comparative literature at the University of Naples.
The Francesco DeSanctis Lodge # 1411 owns the building on 37 Washington Ave, Natick, Ma. The land, (Whitney Field located on Washington Ave. Natick, Ma.), was initially purchased by the St. Rocco Society, which was founded by Frank Mastropietro. He was instrumental in celebrating the annual Feast of St. Rocco, parading with the statue of St. Rocco accompanied by a band of musicians from Natick and other towns led by Maestro Alfredo Paolucci. In the evening there would be a carnival at Whitney Field. With the exception of that portion of land on which the Lodge building now stands, Whitney Field was sold to the town of Natick. Ma. by the members of the St. Rocco Society for $8,000, which was fair market value at the time. At the same time the only existing structure was the cement basement. However, since it was covered by tar paper, society members would congregate there to play cards and socialize. The money received from the sale was augmented by the sale of shares to members of the Society at the price of $5.00 per share and thus the completion of the building was brought about. Attorney John Casali was instrumental in facilitating the goal. While awaiting the construction of the Lodge building, meetings were held at various locations: the 3rd floor of the Natick Trust Co. (Citizens Bank) Main St., above the R & L. Furniture Co. Main St., above Tony Grupposo's Market, Summer St. and the Court Street building in Natick, Ma. The fulfilment of their dreams by hard work and solidarity motivated them to have a building to call their own.
The Francesco DeSanctis Lodge #1411 was built jointly by the members of Francesco DeSanctis Lodge and St. Rocco Society. The Construction began in 1957 at the Washington Ave. site and completed in 1958. Meetings were held the second Monday of every month at 7:30 p. m. except for July and August.
From 1938 through World War II, Kenneth Arminio of Natick, Ma.,a graduate of Boston College, taught Italian language at Natick High School. At the time the State required that there be a minimum of seven students in order to teach Italian Language. They had 23-25 students.
The Boys & Girls Junior Lodge for ages 13-18 was organized by Michael Palladino and Joseph Arminio in the mid-thirties by the Lodge. When these young men and women attained the age of 18, they were eligible for regular membership in the Natick Sons and Daughters of Italy.
Pasta night started in January 1993 by Nick Tritta and is currently managed by Benny Polagruto and his group of faithful and dedicated volunteers. Pasta night is held every Wednesday evening except during July and August. It was created to help pay for the building expenses and increasing our charitable contributions. Pasta Night has become a focal point for the community to gather and share a meal with new and old friends alike. Pasta Night has expanded to include more than just pasta, with ‘Chicken Parm Night” drawing over 145 people in 2019.
In 1997-1998 Madeline & Tino Piccioli conceived the idea of building two 64'x10' bocce courts on the property. In September 1997, the women's team, consisting of 9 year old Marian deFilipo, Carol Rossi, Janet Crisafulli and Milly Piccioli entered the Grand Lodge tournament at Watertown Sons of Italy Lodge and won 2nd place. The bocce courts were another big accomplishment of extensive research, dedicated time, and voluntary support by members, non- members: New England Laborer's Training Academy of Hopkinton, Ma. courtesy of Mr. James Merloni. President Alexander Piccioli of Three-C Electrical Co. Inc. Ashland did the drawings post hole diggers. Madeline and Tino (building materials and hardware), and Robert Scott (the Back Hoe), and Orazio Magazzu (guard rails) The courts were completed in ten days in 1998, under the direction of Guy Mori, and given as a gift to the Francesco DeSanctis Lodge #1411. Due to the popularity of bocce, lighting was installed to extend bocce playing into the evenings. New leagues begin in the spring and run to the fall.
The list of Venerables and Presidents since the inception of the Lodge are the following: E. Canzano, P. Arminio, P. Corbosiero, A. Costa, J. Fornaro, A. Grassi, P. Luongo, F. Mastropietro, M. Palladino, N. Sciretta, P. Zullo, J. Torti, M. Torti, F. Pignatelli, C. Angeleri, S. Melchiorri, J. Arminio, J. Pagliarulo, D. Cardellicchio, P. DiBona, O. D'Eramo, Lena Sauro, Violet Lavezzo, D. Colucci, Cathy Bourassa, Mary Brown, John Arena, Felicita Bermingham, Madeline Piccioli, Richard Burke and Marisa Pilette. The current president is Cathy Washburn.