Cabrini Literary Guild

Enjoying an afternoon of tea and crumpets with the Cabrini Literary Guild are, from left, guests Eileen McNeil and Carole Russell, President Mary Andrade and guest Bette Beatrice. (Courtesy photo / September 14, 2012)

Members and guests of the Cabrini Literary Guild sure know how to kick off their year in style. On Thursday some sixty supporters enjoyed their annual membership tea in the sumptuous La Cañada home of Patty and Mike Szot.

President Mary Andrade greeted early arrivals. Dipping into tea sandwiches, fruit and dessert was the first order of business. Member Marie Urrutia put her catering skills to use when she arose at 5 a.m. to create the feast. The Szot’s shaded patio provided relief from the day’s heat.

Sated, lunch-goers were ready to listen to fast-moving presentations from Cabrini departments. First up was Miryam Finkelberg, curator of the Book Reading Club. Only two years old, the club is popular with members. So far, 37 books have been read and discussed.

Urrutia did double duty as curator-presenter of the Busy Fingers department. This productive group makes blankets for local charities and gets to socialize at the same time.

The Bridge department is curated by Lorraine Meylan. In her absence, Genevieve Collopy stepped up to describe the department’s duplicate bridge games, held at Incarnation Church in Glendale. Collopy alerted her audience to free bridge lessons given at the Bridge Center in Arcadia. No experience necessary.

Event Chairman and Past President Joan Sandon presented information on the Mannequin department, which she curates. Originally formed for members who regularly modeled at Guild fundraisers and fashion shows, members now eschew the catwalk in favor of supping at restaurants and taking tours. “We’re a little out of shape, but we don’t want to change our name,” said Sandon.

The afternoon ended with good news. Guild advisor Father Paul Hruby was chosen to sip tea next week with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in Washington, D.C. Because of a renewed interest in faith-based programs, a colloquium of religious leaders across the country will gather to present examples of their reconnect ministries. Hruby will speak on his efforts to develop employment opportunities from a spiritual perspective. His program is offered at St. Julie Billiart Church in Newbury Park.

The Cabrini Literary Guild, organized in 1943, is a philanthropic organization of 105 members helping to support local charities. The guild also oversees a writing contest open to students at Catholic high schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese that includes Glendale, Burbank and foothill areas.

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There’s a new plantation in town. That’s the Souplantation in Atwater Village, which opened its doors ahead of schedule to support Glendale Arts. On Friday and Saturday hungry patrons were lined up in front of the restaurant for all-you-can-eat-and-drink meals for $5. According to General Manager Lorri Smith, 100% of the weekend’s gross proceeds will go to Glendale Arts. “Glendale Arts has been great to us with our marketing,” said Smith, “They have introduced us the community leaders in Glendale.”

On Saturday, wait-staffers were holding doors open for customers and greeting each one. Lacey Pasillas and Jon Wagoner were brought in as part of a training team for new staff. “We’re local. Now you don’t have to go to Pasadena [for a Souplantation]” said Wagoner.

Glendale VIPs enjoying their cheap meals for charity included Lana Haddad, senior legislative analyst at Glendale Water & Power. She brought along son Jordan Haddad, 15, and daughter Jana Hadded, 13. Watching her figure, Haddad had a salad. The kids had pizza.

More Glendale Arts supporters from Glendale were Suzanne and Robert McDonnell. Suzanne McDonnell is a kindergarten teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. She liked the easy parking in the large shopping center, anchored by Costco. Husband Robert McDonnell thought the service was “great!”

Smith estimated that about 400 customers would be served Saturday, while with longer open hours, 718 customers were served Friday. Estimated gross proceeds, all of which will go to Glendale Arts, were $4,200.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.