Table of plenty: Altar honors Saint Joseph

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 25, 2016

On Friday, March, 18, the Bogalusa Italian-American Club and their guests enjoyed an age old tradition, their annual St. Joseph’s Altar. Betty Puisseger, along with many other men and women, worked tirelessly to create the beautiful altar held at the B & C Hall.

According to club member Miriam Allen, centuries ago in Sicily a terrible drought was underway. In desperation, the people turned to the patron saint of Sicilians, St. Joseph, asking for intercession. Rains came and the crops prospered. In thanksgiving, the Sicilian people made offerings to St. Joseph of the foods from their harvest.

In St. Joseph’s honor, they erected a beautiful altar with three levels, representing the Holy Trinity. They draped it in white and adorned it with their finest fruits, grain, vegetables, seafood, wine, and flowers. The less fortunate were included in the celebration. Today. the tradition is upheld as a true labor of love and devotion.

Puisseger said that many of the recipes used in preparation of the altar are Sicilian in origin. Members of the club, parishioners of the Annunciation Catholic Church, along with family members give of their time and talents to make the altar a success. This group of men and women meet together to bake and enjoy fellowship as they look forward to the culmination of their hard work.

This year’s St Joseph’s Altar was beautiful and well attended. It was dedicated to Puisseger, in honor of her selfless giving in the face of personal hardship. In March of last year, she worked to complete the altar before she underwent a double mastectomy. This year she took on the task once again.

“Some people just quit and give up when they get the diagnosis of cancer,” she said. “Cancer is not going to beat me; I’m a survivor. With God’s help and prayers to St. Joseph, I will continue my work.”