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of Freeland, Pa.
Ribbons/Badges of Religious Organizations
I was given eight ribbons from religious organizations in the Freeland region, some from Bob Celantano, others from Patricia Bzdil Paul, neither of whom knew anything about them. If anyone can tell me anything about these or similar items, I'd be grateful for the information and can add it to this page. The first four shown below are Italian / Tyrolian, while the last four are Slovak / Carpatho-Rusyn and Polish. I've included close-ups of various parts of the ribbons and medals because the craft work is extraordinary.
B.V.M. del Carmine - Will try to get a clearer photo of the entire ribbon. Back of medal reads "S. Cuore di Gesu," for Sacred Heart of Jesus. I'm assuming that the front caption means Blessed Virgin Mary of Carmine. This is the simplest of the eight ribbons shown on this page, just a rosette with three streamers and the medal sewn to the center of the rosette.
Madri Cristiane Siate Unite in Gesu' Cristo! - This ribbon is a bit more elaborate, with the text printed on the ribbon itself. I'm guessing that this says something like Mother of Christ, be united in Jesus Christ. I'd be grateful to receive a more authoritative translation if you know one! The red label on the reverse side shows that the ribbon was made by Frank de Caro in New York.
Societa Di Mutuo Soccorso Tirolese S. Vigilio, Freeland, Pa. - A Tyrolean mutual aid society. The Saint Vigilio mentioned must be Vigilius of Trent, who (according to Catholic Online) was a bishop who was stoned to death and is venerated as the patron of Trent and the Tyrol region. Freeland and Hazleton had many immigrants from this region.
The ribbon is reversible, as are the others shown below; Patricia Bzdil Paul has suggested that perhaps the black side was used for funerals. Please take a look at the close-up views of the star/rosettes from both sides of the ribbon.
St. Stephen's Tiroler Society, Branch 51, Organized March 4th, 1900. Hazleton, Pa. - Another reversible ribbon, this one with more elaborate stars on both sides. A close-up of the silver star at the top of the black side of the ribbon is shown at the top left of this page - click on it and observe the clasped hands (friendship, mutual assistance) above the star, and the interesting design and craft work of the star itself.
Beneath the gold star on the colored side of the ribbon it says: "P. S. R & Gr. C. O." Possibly that indicates that it's an organization open to both Roman and Greek Catholics? I don't know what the "P.S." means there. St. Stephen was an early Christian martyr who was stoned to death, as depicted on the blue part of the ribbon, shown in the 3rd photo below.
Gr. K. Ruskogo Bratstva Sv. Georgija, Freelend, Pa., Eal. Feor. 7, 1901 - I think that date is Feb. 7, 1901, but I'm not positive. I'm assuming that this ribbon would have been from a Greek Catholic Carpatho-Rusyn fraternal organization (bratstvo means fraternal organization) affiliated with St. Mary's Church. The word Chlen' stamped into the silver metal banner at the top of the 5th and 6th photos below means "member." The black side of the ribbon is definitely for funerals, so Patricia (see note about S. Vigilio ribbon, above) was right about that. The words above the cross are "Blazhenniye upokoj" (meaning something along the lines of blessed departed servant), while the words beneath the cross are "Vichnaya pamyat'" (eternal memory). The cross itself has the additional bars found in Eastern rite churches, both Catholic and Orthodox.
On the colored side of the ribbon, there's a great image of St. George and the dragon painted on the medal, shown in the 4th photo close-up below. Does anyone out there know what flag that is that's shown with the American flag on the ribbon in photo #2? The only possibility I found so far indicates are area of Ukraine, but that color combination is also used in flags for other places. ??? If you know, please email me and I'll post the information here!
Gr. a R. Kat. Sp., Sv. Otca Nikolaja, Cislo 22, Eckley, Pa. - Given the Greek Catholic (now we say Byzantine Catholic) cross on this ribbon, I'm guessing that this was an organization made up of parishioners of St. Mary's (and perhaps St. John's Nepumocene, since it says Greek and Roman Catholic, and St. John's was the only Slovak Roman Catholic church in town) who lived in Eckley. St. Nicholas was a major saint for Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants such as those who built St. Mary's Church in Freeland as well as for Slovaks. "Sv." means holy or saint, "otca" means father.
When my dad was a kid in the 1920s in Upper Lehigh, his family and many others walked into Freeland to attend mass at St. Mary's on Sundays, and so did many folks in Eckley. This ribbon surely predates my dad by a decade or two, and I'm thinking that many of these Eckley members of the organization of St. Nicholas would have walked to Freeland on Sunday mornings, too. Imagine it, think of them making that trek every week in their Sunday clothes.
Towarzystwo Podw. Sw. Krzyza - Gr. 1 - Zal. duia 26, Styeznia, R. P. 1896, Plymouth, Pa. - Here's a Polish ribbon from Plymouth, Pa., reversible, with beautifully elaborate metalwork on the colored side. The middle golden enameled metal piece says Czlonek (member), and the bottom metal piece has a cross with the initials T P S K, for Towarzystwo Podwyższenia Świetego Krzyża (Exhaltation of the Holy Cross).
Tow. O'swiata, Grupa 190 Z. N. Polskiego - Za. d. 15, Czerwca R. P. 1892. Plymouth, Pa. - Another Polish ribbon from Plymouth, also reversible. The date appears to be June 15th, 1892. The translation I found online for Towarzystwo Oświatowe is Educational Society; I don't know whether it's correct and whether it's right for this ribbon. The coat of arms is interesting! And take a look at the 2nd picture, below; the quality of the craft work on the rosette is wonderful.
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