Fr. Jim Blessing The Altar & Ingredients for The 2015 St. Joseph Feast



Photos by Bridget Mathews


Early this morning daughter Amanda and I were reminiscing about this years Novean while looking through dozens of photos downloaded onto my computer. It’s with mixed emotions I write todays post. Feeling incredible blessed to be surrounded this year by so many who share a devotion to St. Joseph. As a group through the power of prayer we have come together to continue the deep rooted Sicilian tradition for future generations. It’s been wonderful to see the young kids join us in prayer and song each night. It truly warmes my heart to see them inthustically following  their prayer books eager to learn the  Sicilian words! It’s been a wonderful 2 weeks of prayer and preparation for our celebatory feast on Thursday March 19th. It’s hard to believe that tonight is our last “Novena” of the 2015 celebration. I have to thank my faithful Novena ladies for everything they did to make this years so special…the memories we made, the laughs we had, the tears we shed, and the jokes we told, and the  stories shared will be remember for a lifetime. As Andrea reminds us each night “we got at least 30 more years of this together ladies!” Please know from the bottom of my heart ,I thank each and everyone of you for being by my side night after night and I very much look forward to the next 30 years together.  Tonight we pray one last time together, and tomorrow we celebrate our Patron Saint Joseph!


Viva Gesu Maria Giuseppe….Viva!



 Father Jim Blessing the Altar and ingredients for tomorrows feast Of St. Joseph


Click Read More For Bridget Mathews photo gallery of last nights blessing prayers service.





Continue reading “Fr. Jim Blessing The Altar & Ingredients for The 2015 St. Joseph Feast”

Orange & “Finochio” Fennel Salad


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Orange & “Finochio” Fennel Salad

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Preparations for “The Feast Of St. Joseph” is under way! All ingredients including fresh produce are officially in the house and ready for tonight’s ceremonial blessing by “Holy Famliy Parish” Pastor Father Jim, taken place this evening at tonight’s Novena.

Click Read More for Step-by-Step Recipe Details and Photos Continue reading “Orange & “Finochio” Fennel Salad”

St. Joseph Novena Coffee Time at Sista Felicia’s



Raspberry Shortbread cookies made by Susan Lovasco

Last night an assortment of freshly baked deserts were enjoyed during the customary “Novena Coffee” time following the rosary!


Tonight I’m planning to surprise the ladies with a few of my all time favorite sweet confections, Pinulata and Fried Ricotta Cassateddi.



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Click link below for my Step-by-Step Pinulata Video recipe

Live From The Ciaramitaro Family’s St. Joseph Altar



Sebastian McDonald Just stopped by to gift antique statues that once adorned the St. Joseph Altar of his deceased grandmother, Ida Lovasco. Sabastian shared his beautiful St. Joseph childhood memories with me while he unwrapped the precious figurines. We broke into song together as we looked through the delicate pages of an original copy of the pray/song booklet used annually for over fifty years at the Lovasco Family altar on Addison Street here in Gloucester. I’m honored to have pieces of another families St. Joseph Altar displayed on this year altar. I personally would like to thank Sabastian and the Lovasco family for their special gift! Our family with cherish them forever!
Sista Felicia



Today I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support by family and friends. Three years ago this altar was constructed after a vivid dream. I woke my husband St. Barry from a sound sleep, to share my dream after having it six nights in a row. On that sixth night he handed me a piece of paper and pen and asked me to draw what I had dreamed. He glanced at my sketched drawing and said ” My Love, you only have 3 saint statues, that altar looks large, what are you going to fill it with?” I replayed, “I’m not worried about filling it, I have faith that the saints will find their way to this altar. Within the next 24 hours literally dozens of saints arrived at my doorstep, and fo the past 3 years they continue to find their way. Feeling truly blessed and honored. The vibe felt each night praying in front of this altar is amazingly powerful. 














Sista Felicia’s 2015 St. Joseph Altar Assembly With Friends & Family!






Feeling blessed to have the best girlfriends and family! 


Yesterday aunt Gina Ciaramitaro, cousin Mary Marcantonio, BFF Dee Noble, and friends, Andrea Randazza Carlson, Kerrie Callahan Donahue, Christie Guarrasi DaSilva, Andrea Butler Bridget Mathews, all stopped by to help set up the altar, and dinning room tables for this years St. Jpseph Rosary. Ladies thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did yesterday! I can’t believe the altar is ready and the tables are set! I love our tradition of spending the day together, preparing for the nine day rosary, and especially love, our traditional Virgilio’s St. Joseph Sandwiches lunch around the dinning room table and afternoon Cappuccino break reminasing about past years. We make an incredible team! I’m looking forward to building more memories together this year!

Thank you all





Preparations For The Feast Of St. Joseph At Sista’s House Is Well Underway!



Preparations For The Fest Of St. Joseph Is Well Underway!


The planning baking, cleaning, and rearrangement of the house has begun! Over the weekend while cleaning, I decided to make a batch of “Rose Pedal Infused Sugar & Rose Pedal Jelly” using rose pedals left over from Valentines Day. My clever way to recycle the fragrant roses into a delightful sweet treat of Heart Shaped Linzer Cookies for my Novena Guest, that will tie in my families “Red Rose” Altar Theme onto the dinner room table where homemade pastries and confections are shared during our traditional nightly “Novena Coffee Time” held after each Rosary!

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My Rose Pedal Jelly Recipe is featured in “Gifts Of Gold In A Sicilian Kitchen With Sista Felicia; Harvest” click link below to purchase copies of “Gifts Of Gold”

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Sneak Peek Behind The Scenes of Limonciello & Arancello Making In Sista Felicia’s Kitchen





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Get Ready Limonciello & Arancello Lovers…Sista Felicia’s Video Recipes Coming Soon


 Craig Kimberley is wrapping up his editing & adding some finishing touches!






You may have noticed that lemons, oranges and bread are always present through the feast of St. Joseph. Each have significant meaning. I have written about them on many occasions in past Sista Felicia St. Joseph Posts,  and this year they will be once again highlighted in many of my post… The lemon represents the sweetness of ones life, and the orange represents life’s bitter past, and the bread is for all to never go hungry!

I First I have to thank my dear friend and fantastic videographer Craig Kimberley, for offering to film this production the moment he heard the plans in the making last spring during the Mathews Family homemade wine production, and filming. I personally would like to thank my friends and family for their labor of love and helping hands throughout this entire production.  I can’t wait to see the finished piece! I would also like to thank my”Creative Director” James Eves from Cape Ann Giclee for designing and producing the beautiful Sista Felicia Limonciello Bottle Labels. You always know how to “Felicitize” everything we do, and I adore you for that! A special thank you to the Mathews Family Neil, Bridget, and Abbey for sharing in the cost of the production, and for the lovely Sista Felicia Tags!


The Ferrante Family’s St. Joseph Altar Is Ready For The Holidays!



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Frances and Ann Margaret Ferrante adorn their year-round shrine/St. Joseph Altar for the holiday season with fresh Red Pointsettia Plants.

GMG FOB Catherine N. Gunn Shares St. Joseph Feast Photos!



One of the most beautiful traditions of  hosting a St. Joseph Altar, is the act of welcoming in others,  “who we refer to as Orphans” to join our families to celebrate the feast and all it’s festivities.  Several years ago Catherine N. Gunn was invited to join Crocetta Gropp’s  family and friends during their annual 9 day Feast Of San Giuseppe. They welcomed her into their families celebration and all it’s preparation’s with open arms, and she quickly became part of Crocetta’s core team. Catherine is one of many who help cook, clean, and entertain the hundreds of guests that visit the Groppo Families’ Altar each year.  I happen to know Catherine personally and she has shared her wonderful experiences of being at the Groppo family home over the past several years.  She has expressed how much she looks forward to this celebratory time with  her “adoptive Sicilian Family” each year!  As the  hostess of our families altar and this wonderful deep rooted tradition of welcoming people, I know exactly how  both Crocetta and Catherine’s heart feels sharing their devotion to St. Joseph together … Family, Friendship,  Food and Faith is a beautiful thing… Viva !

Live From Sista’s Kitchen…Noble Electric Saves St. Joseph Braed Making Day!


HUGE Thank You to Steve Noble from Noble Electric. Today is Bread making day for the St. Joseph Trolley event tomorrow night. We successful maixed 50 lbs. of dough and then the mixer stopped working!!!!! YIKES!!!!!! I immediately reached for my phone to call our good friend Steve Noble. Within 5 minutes of my emergency phone call Steve was behind the door, to fix the technical problem with the electric mixer. We are back up and running Thanks to Steve!


St. Joseph Pasta Making Day At Maria Cannavo Home

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This past weekend  The Cannavo Family were one of many who began preparing for this weeks St. Joseph Feast Day March 19th. Nino & Maria Cannavo, were joined by family and friends Sefatia “The Godmother of Gloucester,  Pietro Locontro, Maria Margiotta Rossi, Mimma Cusenza, and many more yesterday to prepare over 50 lbs. of homemade pasta.  Preparing for The Feast Of St. Joseph, is a celebratory tradition that family and friends look forward to each year.   It’s gathering like these that make memories that last a lifetime


Sista Felicia’s Homemade St Joseph Semolina Pasta Recipe


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Every Sicilian family makes their homemade St. Joseph Pasta slightly different. Some use eggs, some use white flour, some use semolina , and others use a combination of both.  The combination of ingredients and  the pasta’s thickness really determines both the  taste, and  texture of the final traditional pasta dish. The St. Joseph “Goranza”  is traditionally made with Cauliflower fava beans, chic peas, and fennel frauns.  Some Sicilian families  add several kinds of beans and some add the stalks and bulb of the anise.  Like all Italian and Sicilian recipes ….each family has their own twist.  Many make this pasta  extremely thick and heavy, I do not.   Over the years I have developed this pasta recipe and mastered the technique of making it.  If your looking for a pasta recipe that’s tender and delicious this is the recipe to follow….Even The Godmother of Gloucester  “Sefatia”  gave it the 2 thumbs up.  She loved it so much she took 5 lbs. home after last years feast celebration.  

 This year we made 130 lbs. of Pasta, for our St. Joseph Feast, which we will be celebrating this Saturday. 130 lbs. of pasta may sound like a lot but, part of the tradition for me to keep alive is the tradition of  send family and friends home with  a container of St. Joseph Pasta.  I can vividly remember a long line of people waiting with containers in hand during my Uncle Mike and Aunt Vincie’s St. Joseph Feast Day.  A line from her stove in the kitchen, went through the house, out the front door and down the street 2 city blocks.  People waited hours to get a potion of blessed pasta.  For the past few years I decided to take that tradition one step further, and send my family and guest home with a bag of dried pasta, and  small container of St. Joseph Goranza, so they can prepare and enjoy it one more time at home.  It has become the grand finally of our feast day.  Everyone  waits in line for their opportunity to digs into the giant containers of stored pasta.  Each fills a plastic bag up with homemade dried pasta,  and heads to the kitchen to pick up their container of Goranza by the stove top.  This new tradition is another Gift Of Gold  that I hope to pass on to the next generation!  

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For St Joseph Semolina Pasta Dough Recipe and  Step-by-Step instruction Continue reading “Sista Felicia’s Homemade St Joseph Semolina Pasta Recipe”

St. Joseph 2014 Preperations Officially Begin Today At Sista’s House

PrintFor some the month of March made be viewed as cold and dreary month, but for Sicilian  families carrying on the traditions surrounding the feast of St. Joseph, it is a month of prayer, family, fun, food, and celebration! Today, my mother Pat, daughter Amanda and I will work together in assembly line fashion, carrying dozens of saints from the “Vetrina” (China cabinet) to the kitchen sink where each will be carefully washed, dried, polished, and  lined up on the dinning room table awaiting tomorrow’s scheduled alter set up. Friends and family will gather tomorrow afternoon  to erect our Families 2014 St. Joseph alter.  This traditional gathering, marks the official beginning off the 2014 Feast of St. Joseph Novena Celebration at our home.

Viva San Giuseppe!

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For more photos of last years 2013 St. Joseph festivities click here Continue reading “St. Joseph 2014 Preperations Officially Begin Today At Sista’s House”

Feast of St. Joseph Film Project Update

St. Joseph Day Altar ©Kim Smith 2013 copyDear Community,

An update on the progress of the St. Joseph’s Day Film Project ~

Last year I wrote the script for our community documentary film about how Gloucester families celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph. We spent the month of March filming in your welcoming homes with your beautifully decorated altars and sharing your special stories and traditions. I wrote at that time, tremendous thanks is owed Felicia for coordinating the visits to her friend’s homes and for opening her home and family to filming during their preparations and celebration. Special thanks goes to Sefatia for coordinating the trolley tour and to her family for sharing their stories. Tremendous thanks goes to all the families for their generous hospitality and for embracing the project, including the Orlandos, the Ferrantes, the Groppos, the Silvas, the Canovas, the Scolas, the Russos, and many more.

St. Joseph Trolley Party ©Kim Smith 2013

Following filming in March, I have spent the past months filming what is called B-roll, which is very important because although not the primary action that takes place, B-roll gives a documentary a sense of place, and Gloucester is a very special and beautiful place.

Spring, summer, and autumn are the very busiest time of year for my landscape and interior design business. That being said, we are blessed that the best time of day to film is in the very early dawn hours and later hours of the day, which means I have been able to capture many scenes around Gloucester before my work day begins and at the tail end of the work day. I log and transfer all the footage at the end of each day and  make time to create little mini-films, which also helps to organize the B-roll.

Ciaramitaro Family and Friends St. Joseph 2013

Larger projects, such as the St. Joseph Day Film Project and butterfly life story documentaries that I am creating, take much, much greater chunks of time to edit and these projects I save for working on in January and February, when business traditionally slows. I cannot emphasize this enough–big projects require huge chunks of time to edit; huge chunks of time I simply do not have until after the holiday season.

So if you have been wondering about our beautiful community project, know that I am eagerly looking forward to editing the film this winter. Know too, that another challenge to overcome is film distribution. There is no point in creating a beautiful documentary about our community and not have the knowledge on how to best distribute the film.

I hope this clarifies any questions that you may have. If not, please feel free to contact me at or through the comment section of this post. Thank you!



The Ciaramitaro-Mohan Family

Lastly in my thanks for the Saint Joseph film project assistance goes to the beautiful Ciaramitaro-Mohan Family. Felicia and I have been working on this project together since its inception and I can only say that she is the most talented, sweetest, funnest (and funniest), smartest, and best organized friend and partner in a project that anyone could ever hope for.

Ciaramitaro Family and Friends St. Joseph 2013

Her home is always filled to the brim with family and friends, light, laughter, and love. To Felicia, Barry, Pat, Amanda, BJ, Joey, all Ciaramitaro cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and best friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your beautiful Saint Joseph novena and feast. I hope you will find as much joy in, as I have found in the making of, the Feast of Saint Joseph film. xo


_DSF8666Felicia and Christie


Amanda and Felicia

Nina and Frank Groppo Family

Many, many thanks and our deepest appreciation to the Frank and Nina Groppo Family for agreeing to be interviewed and for allowing us to film their beautiful St. Joseph celebrations. While interviewing and during the feast, their wonderful home was overflowing with family and friends, joy and grace. Thank you Groppo Family and Friends!

Nina writes:
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this – we appreciate yours and everyone’s devotion and faith to Saint Joseph.
We hope to continue with this devotion and tradition for as long as Saint Joseph and the good Lord give us the strength to do it and send us the help to do it – not just for us but for all that join in this beautiful tradition of faith, whether for just one day or for the full Novena!!

Groppo Family Feast of St. Joseph Altar©Kim Smith 2013Left to right back row: Vincenza Ferrara, Kathy Pratl, and Francesco Groppo.

Left to right front row: Eleonora D’Angelo, Angela Sanfilippo, Agata Groppo, Fina Briguglio, and Maria Sanfilippo.

and Nina “Crocetta” Groppo sitting on Agata’s lap.

Click portrait to view full size image.

Grace Brancaleone Family

With much thanks and appreciation to Grace Brancaleone and Family for sharing thier stories and traditions for the St. Joseph film project.

©Kim Smith 2013

Front Row ~ Grace, Rosanne, Phyllis, and Grace; Back Row ~ Caleb, Cameron, Heather, Aaron, Paul, and Jim