predecessors, who began to arrive in the New World in the middle of the 19th century, were mostly young and single
men. Sure, there were some who were married but came here alone. They all shared a dream, a dream of earning enough
money to go back home and buy a piece of land to build a house on, and if that piece of land was big enough to be able to
make a living. Others yet, had a dream of buying a boat (TRABAKUL) or a share of it (KARAT) with which they would make
a living. Few if any were thinking of staying here, some did.
these people went straight to the Pacific North West to the State of Washington and Oregon where there was plenty of work
in the lumber industry. Those who went to the East coast worked for Con Edison, Brooklyn Union Gas or a construction
company. No matter where they worked, it was hard. Working conditions were harsh, benefits and job securities
were non-existent, and if you got sick or lost your job there was no pay. In many instances a group of men (GUANGE)
3, 4, 5 of them would share an apartment or a basement in order to save more money or to help each other with costs.
These poor conditions, being in a strange land, being lonely and homesick,
were the main factors for the formation of Societies. Societies’ purposes were to help its members in time of need,
sickness, loss of a job and death. It also gave members a chance to get together, to exchange news from home, share
a bottle of wine, a laugh and argue over a card game won or lost.
of those first arrivals the dream came true. They worked hard, saved their money and returned home never to come back.
Our Society was established in New York City on the 1st of June 1898 under the name
“BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF SAINT FRANCIS” it was later incorporated in 1926 with the name ‘’BENEVOLENT
SOCIETY OF SAINT FRANCIS OF NERESINE Inc ( a branch of the Society was also established in Nerezine, but given the circumstances
after WWII it was discontinued. Only because of Mr. Julijano Sokolic great effort, it was re-established in 2007).
To become a member of our Society one must have some direct lineage via family with origins from
Nerezine, Sv. Jakov, Osor, or Punta Kriza, or may also be a spouse or a child of someone from the above said towns.
A prospective member must be between the ages of 18 and 50; he/she must be sponsored by another member and approved by the
membership. (The Society accepts members over 50 years of age but those members have limited benefits). In order to
be a member in good standing a member must pay his/ her annual dues.
pays a sick benefit when a member is sick and upon his/her death his/her beneficiary receives a death benefit.
Recently the Society established a scholarship which is awarded to a student meeting the requirements
set by the scholarship committee.
The Society makes token donations to other
charitable organizations and churches in our towns.
The Society holds three
meetings a year; it sponsors an annual dinner dance and a Christmas party.
a members death it is expected of every member to pay a final respect, whenever possible.
For all of us, as it was for those who preceded us, the Society is an integral part of our life. Its endurance
for 121 years is testimony of many members’ hard work and dedication. Many of them we did not know but those that
we do know for example, Mr. Antonio Burburan and Mr. Marco Pinezich, the late Mr. Alphonse Rucconich, the late Mr. Anthony
Rucconi and the late Mr. Lino Bracco deserve our thanks and our gratitude.
our membership is aging and dwindling it is hard to say how many years the Society will last. Obviously its need and purpose
is not the same as it was when it was established. What is the same is the need to get together to remember our origins
and to teach our children our history, our heritage, our customs and our way of life.