As the Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel prepares for the 91st anniversary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Triduum and Celebration from July 18 to July 21, members of the society reflect on its origin in Los Banos. 

Parishioners and members have shared their memories of the celebration through the years.

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Statue in the chapel of St. Joseph Church in Los Banos has an artisan’s quality of craftsmanship.  It is a gift of faith passed on due to the deep devotion of immigrant families from Grumento Nova, Italy.

One of those faithful followers was Antone Cifone, a shoemaker from Italy who was in partnership with James Latronica in the shoe repair business in Los Banos. Mr. Cifone selected and ordered the statue while visiting his family in Italy.

Jeanette DeVietro’s mother, Minnie Vincenza DeVietro; Carmela Cox’ mother, Josephine Ianneo; and Teresa Bartolo walked from house to house to raise funds for the purchase. Anita Giannone’s mother-in-law, Catarina Giannone, drove them out to the ranches. Everyone gave small and large offerings generously.

It was December of 1933 when the Los Banos depot welcomed “The Owl” wit its rhe awaited shipment.  The crate was taken to Teresa Bartolo’s home, where prayers of the Rosary were recited for a few nights.

Soon, arrangements were made for Our Lady’s journey to St. Joseph Church on Fifth and K Streets. The faithful marched with their families and children to the music of Joseph Ferry’s North Star Band.

Los Banos was the only nearby city with its own band. Mr. Ferry would select his members from the dairies and ranches and teach them to play the instruments.  They played in celebrations from Bakersfield to Monterey. This was such a joyous procession.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s statue had indeedarrived from Italy to be here for her faithful followers as a constant reminder of her grace and presence in their lives and her desire that they keep Jesus as the center of their lives and bring Him to others.

The Westside Express