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2012 Mother Cabrini Award

DY9XzivSxwwkj2OBdg035VsNqfgk4br-VrCtrRapfyQBranch 392 of the Italian Catholic Federation will bestow its Mother Cabrini Award upon Filippo and Benedetta “Bettina” Brascia at its annual dinner dance.

The event will take place on Nov. 11, with Mass at St. Francis Borgia Church in Chicago followed by the dinner dance at PorrettaÕs Banquets. (773-589-9734)

The beautiful and picturesque Puglia region of southern Italy, known for its friendly people, olive groves, vineyards, beaches, and mouthwatering “cucina paesana”, gave birth to two wonderful individuals, Filippo and Benedetta “Bettina” Brascia. Filippo and Bettina are hard working individuals dedicated to family and community.

Filippo Brascia was born in Bitritto, a town in the Province of Bari located in the “heel” of the Italian peninsula in 1941. Filippo’s parents were Giacomo and Natalina Brascia, a down-to-earth and caring couple. Giacomo Brascia was a shoemaker by trade. He also had a passion for music and played the trumpet for his hometown band. Natalina was a devoted homemaker whose main objective was the comfort and welfare of her family. As Italy was still feeling the aftermath of World War II, in 1955 Giacomo Brascia decided to seek a better life and promising future for his children, in Caracas, Venezuela. He had heard from “paesani” in Caracas that work was easier to find there. But, just as Giacomo Brascia was preparing for the journey with his brothers, he passed away. So, Filippo, at the tender age of 14, was left as “man of the house” to provide for his siblings. In order to help out his mother Filippo immigrated to Caracas in place of his father. However, life in Venezuela was not easy. So 5 years later Filippo relocated to Montreal, Canada, where he joined his sister and her husband and his mother, who had recently moved there. Filippo resided in Montreal until 1966

Benedetta “Bettina” LaGioia was born in Capurso, another charming town in the scenic Province of Bari in 1947. Bettina’s parents were Giuseppe and Anna Maria LaGioia. Giuseppe was a “carabiniere”. Anna Maria was a loving and devoted wife and mother, seeking to make a happy and good home for her family. As Italy was still suffering from the repercussions of “dopo guerra”, Giuseppe sought to find the means to offer his children a “better life”, a future with more opportunities. Consequently, in December 1956 the LaGioia family, with the love of Italy rooted in their hearts and dreams of a new and better life, immigrated to the United States of America and took up residence in Chicago, Illinois. Bettina attended St Frances Cabrini Elementary School and Lucy Flower H.S.

While still in high school, Bettina meets Filippo for the first time at her cousin’s house. Filippo had come to Chicago for a vacation. Who knew that this chance meeting would result in matrimony? A few years later, in August 1966 Filippo and Bettina are wed. They now have 3 lovely children: Natalina, Giacomo and Giuseppe and are proud grandparents of: Giovanna, Chantal, Alyssa, Holly and Nicholas. Filippo and Bettina are devoted parents and caring grandparents, giving their family solid values, lots of love and happiness.

Filippo and Bettina are proud of their heritage and enthusiastically promote the customs and culture of their beloved Italy. As a matter of fact, you are bound to see them at many benefits, cultural events, and “feste” in the Italian community. To promote the religious traditions of their region, Filippo and Bettina have been a part of the Madonna del Pozzo of Capurso Society in Chicago for many years. Filippo, with the Men’s Division, has taken an active role in the Feast Committee helping at the “feste”, picnics, and fundraisers. Bettina has assumed a leadership role as President of the Women’s Division for multiple terms, getting involved in fundraising activities for noteworthy causes (e.g. The March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Memorial Hospital, Marcus Island, Comboni Missionaries, and Madonna del Pozzo and St. Joseph in Capurso Ð Bari).

Needless to say the couple over the years has remained committed to helping their fellow man and community. Filippo was there to help out as the Piazzetta San Padre Pio at St. Francis Borgia was being constructed 10 years ago, donating hard work and spare time. And more recently, in 2010, Filippo and Bettina joined their families, the LaGioias and the Brascias, to help raise funds for the Shriners Hospital for Children – Chicago. About $30,00.00 was raised.

Filippo and Bettina Brascia are exemplary citizens of our community.

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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.