Gonnella Family Genealogy Forum
My name is Philip Gerard Gonnella and I am the older brother of Virginia Sisti Gonnella. I am totally pleased to find this website. Thank you sister Ginny!! I was married to Camille Raimo Gonnella for 24 plus years until she passed away on November 25, 2000. We have 2 children, Christa Marie Gonnella, age 22 and Philip Gerard Gonnela Jr. age 16. More about them later. We Toured Italy for 23 days on our honeymoon in the summer of 1976. We had the pleasure of visiting Caposele, before the Earthquake. We spent 5 days in the Province of Avellino where Caposele resides. My late wife had family in Cassano Iripino, in Avellino named Sena, Ficeto, and Caputo. Her father's Family, Raimo also came from Caposele. I was struck by the beauty of the area and especially by what I consider the main attraction in all of Avellino. The Redemptorist Monastery in Materdomini was the final home of Saint Gerard Maiella, Patron Saint of expectant mothers. There are a few published stories of his lfe which was fascinating to say the least. I had one by Father Austin Carr. C.S.S.R. but I loaned it out several years ago and it disappeared. It is out of print but if you can get a copy do read it. There are many devotees of Saint Gerard living in the Newark, New Jersey area. Every year around his feast day, October 16th, there is a big Italian festival held at Saint Lucy's Church in Newark, the national shrine of Saint Gerard. There is a society, Circolo Progressivo Caposolese (The Caposolese Club), which was formed in 1928 by our grandfather, Giuseppe Gonnella and other Caposolese and it still in existence today. Every year we march in procession to our mass at St. Lucy's at 11:30 AM. There is a women's auxilliary, whic hour mother Florence Sica Gonnella was president of for many years until her death in 1974. People come from as far away as Canada by the busloads to take part. The statue of saint is carried through the streets and people pin money on this statue. This is donated to Saint Lucy's Church. Many women and men walk barefooted behind the saint to thank God for graces given to them through the intercession of Saint Gerard. My own "miracle' was the birth of our son, Philip, who we affectionately call a St. Gerard baby. I was told by the doctors after my daughter Christa was born that I could not have produce more children. We prayed to St. Gerard and the day before we were scheduled for artificial insemination we found out that Camille was expecting. The result is a beautiful son whom we named afeter St. Gerard.
My mother always made up a colloar of money which she accumluated from relatives, and friends at placed it on St. Gerard's statue. After she died, my daughter Christa continued the practice and does so to this day.
I hope to hear from other Gonnella's and people of italian ancestry who have enjoyed reading my little commentary.