Monday, September 6, 2010


        When I think of a picnic, I think about a blanket and a cooler filled with food and beer and some friends and family in a park. Today's Annual Labor day picnic at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent was more than that. The picnic is about life that covered over six decades gathered at the hallowed grounds on which the Convent and St.Joseph's Manor stand. How in 1945 the Sisters of Jesus Crucified came from Pennsylvania after a tragic fire in an orphanage closed it down and they were unable to rebuild it after that. "Thankfully no one was hurt in that fire" said Sister Geraldine Nevaras. They were invited to Boston by then Archbishop of Boston Richard Cushing and established the original Convent in what was then the Brockton Poor Farm.
     The original building still stands and Sister Geraldine Nevaras said " We lived in that original building and our mission was always to take care of the elderly even though we cared for the orphans during the war." The building contain some elderly gentleman that were taken care of by the Sisters and then moved to an adjacent building so the Sisters could start to establish there mission of taking care of the elderly.
Original Building formerly Brockton Poor Farm
     The first Labor day picnic was held in 1946 and that date actually has another reason besides raising money to help care for the mission of elder care. " We honor Our Lady of Sorrows feast day which is September 15th" said Sister Nevaras. The picnic has been held since 1946 until 1991 and has been open to everyone but has traditionally been Lithuanian. The Lithuanian community had and still have strong ties to Brockton and the picnic use to attract thousands of Lithuanians from around New England and the surrounding states.
Sister of Jesus Crucified

Sister with the Franciscans
        The Sisters mission of care for the elderly and education continued with their involvement of teaching at the local catholic schools including St. Casimir School which was traditionally Lithuanian and in 1965 the building of St.Joseph Manor which cares for over 100 residents. The picnic ended in 1991 and Sister Geraldine Nevaras said it was "The combination of not having enough volunteers and the number of women who were entering into the Sisterhood was declining". That hasn't stopped the sisters from performing their mission of caring for the elderly at St.Joseph Manor and the support and care for the community that they have helped raise in Brockton for over 60 years.
     "I will tell you something and this will show you how God works" said Sister Geraldine, "Since the picnic started in 1946 not one rained out day." Today was no different the skies were clear and the day was mild and not very humid. The picnic was started last year again and John Drusinskas became the chairman of the committee and this year's event was a success. The Convents grounds are a beautiful place for such a gathering and the food available were traditional Lithuanian and American style. The Entertainment was provided by the nationally known Polka Band Dennis Polisky and the Maestro's Men followed by Tom Monte, "Man of Many Voices".
Lithuanian Dinner
     People could try their luck at the Money Wheel or buy a raffle. Mini-golf and speed pitch were available. The kids were jumping in the Moonwalk or playing Old Man's Beard or Duck Pond. Many vendors were selling religious items and jewelery and hand made crafts. A popular venue was the classic and antique car show with over 40 cars in the showing. Generations of families and friends came together today to celebrate more than a picnic but a mission. A mission that was built more than 60 years ago by a group of Sisters who have lived everyday in service to others and will continue to do so after all the tents are down and the people have gone home.
Money Wheel
Feeling Lucky
Guess what type and year
Guess what type and year
Ford pick-up
Classic & Antique cars
Nice Set of Wheels
Taxi Anyone
Classic & Antique cars
She's a Beauty
Kids Games
Franciscan Friars
Food Line
Name says it all
Roll out the Barrels
Plenty of Shade
Brockton Police
Keith Lepor running for US Congress
Our Lady of Sorrows