OSDIA Historic Visit to Rome, Italy to Charter a New Lodge

Oct 26, 2022 631

National President Robert A. (Bob) Bianchi, Esq. of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America® (OSDIA), led a delegation of OSDIA, Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), and Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) National Officers on a historic visit to Rome, Italy.

President Bianchi was the first National President in the storied 117-year history of OSDIA, the oldest and largest organization for Italian Americans in the United States, to personally install a new lodge in Italy. The founders of the new Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro Lodge #3009 of Palermo, Sicily, Italy, received a charter in a ceremony during a meeting of the Capitolo di Roma #3002, the first OSDIA lodge in Italy.

The new lodge in Palermo is named in honor of the man who founded OSDIA in 1905 and was born near Palermo, in 1868.

Originally called Ordine Figli d’Italia, the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America®  was established in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City on June 22, 1905. Now, 117 years later, OSDIA continues to grow and expand outside of the United States to Italy. Today, the mission and vision of the Order map the work of the organization, whose focus is to support charitable causes while preserving and promoting Italian culture and heritage.

On October 4, the OSDIA Delegation stopped at the American University of Rome (AUR) to visit several students who received scholarships from the Sons of Italy Foundation during previous National Education and Leadership Awards (NELA) Galas. These Galas are annual events held every May in Washington, D.C., in order to honor leaders in the Italian American community, as well as award highly selective scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students of Italian descent for exemplary academic performance, school leadership, and community service. Members of the delegation and students exchanged views on the younger generation’s perception and participation in the organization. Notably, President Bianchi and his team were eager to hear directly from the youngsters about ideas on how to enhance the engagement of the new Italian American generation at the local, state, and national levels, as well as OSDIA’s role in facilitating this connection. 

AUR students were part of twenty remarkable students who were recognized at the 2022 NELA Gala, which was a banner event granting over $130,000 in scholarships, the highest total amount to be awarded to date. Grand and Local Lodges also award many scholarships in their hometown communities. In 2021, the total amount of scholarships awarded throughout OSDIA was nearly $750,000. Since the Gala’s inception in 1989, the SIF and OSDIA have awarded tens of millions of dollars in scholarships.  

On October 5, the Delegation attended the Papal Audience in the presence of His Eminence, Pope Francis. The Pope blessed OSDIA and family members who weren’t present. The group then headed for a tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Moreover, they had the chance to visit other educational, historic and religious sites throughout Rome and reconnect with the fellow sisters and brothers with whom we share a common heritage. This was an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of friendship between Italy and the United States, which is home to 26 million Americans of Italian descent. To that end, OSDIA honored new Rome-based members such as Ivan Zazzaroni, the Director of Corriere dello Sport.


Mr. Zazzaroni, who leads one of the major Italian sports daily newspapers, accepted the honorary membership with humility and pride as a token of appreciation for joining such an established organization such as OSDIA. 

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SOURCE: https://www.italyusa.org

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