Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Wooster Square Tour

Society of Santa Maria Maddalena

123 Wooster Street

Current statue of saint in front of 123 Wooster St. Courtesy Santa Maria Maddalena Society.

Immigrants from the town of Atrani in the Salerno Province of Italy who settled in Wooster Square, founded the Society of Santa Maria Maddalena on May 1, 1898. Named for their patron saint, this mutual aid society assisted Atrani immigrants with housing, employment, English translating, and legal matters. Over the years, the society’s purpose has become more community oriented, helping any worthwhile cause or individual regardless of ethnic background, and supporting charities and organizations including St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, Columbus House, Connecticut Hospice, and others.

The Santa Maria Maddalena Society preserves the traditions, heritage and culture of its members’ ancestors, and also maintains ties to Atrani by providing assistance to the Santa Maria Maddalena Church in Italy. During the week of July 22, a replica of the original statue of the saint, which was brought to the United States in 1914, is carried through the streets of Wooster Square and culminates at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. The feast celebration extends for four days with Italian music and food, and on Saturday evening, Neapolitan music is featured.

The corners of Wooster and Chestnut streets were renamed Santa Maria Maddalena Corner by the City. The Society of Santa Maria Maddalena is the oldest Italian-American fraternal organization in Connecticut.

  • Text source url and courtesy Rosa L. DeLauro, Congressional Representative (3rd District).

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