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In the summer of 1934, three women, Dhorka Christie, Evanthia Shkliew, and Alexandra Sticka, members of the Albanian Orthodox Church, Annunciation, gathered to discuss the feasibility of organizing a women’s club. The first priority was to find someone who could write both Albanian and English, because they could only write in Greek. Olga Adams was approached and she agreed to help and take notes. She suggested contacting as many ladies as possible to attend further gatherings.
Nine new ladies came to the second gathering and agreed to become members of the women’s club. A recommendation was made to have another gathering and try to ask eleven more ladies to consider joining, making the membership total twenty.
Later the ladies gathered for a third time. Instead of eleven new ladies attending this meeting to make a total of twenty members, seven additional ladies came to join making a total of twenty seven ladies.
The ladies attending this meeting voted to elect five ladies to serve as committee. The ladies were: President: Krisulla Mangelly, Chairlady; Olga Adams, Secretary; Kristina Petro, Treasurer and Pino Apostal and Alexandra Sticka, Controllers.
The ladies agreed to have the committee recommend dues, rules and regulations and select a name for the club. The meeting was adjourned with much enthusiasm.
Sunday, February 17, 1935, the committee held a special meeting at Lenka Christie’s home. Kosta Mangelly, James Adams, Spiro Apostal and Bill Sticka, husbands of the committee members were invited to attend.
The first order of business was determining an amount for monthly dues. After much discussion, the committee agreed to recommend $.25 per month or $3.00 per year. The money would be distributed as follows: 75% be set aside and used toward the purchase a church in the future because now services were conducted in a hall above Gruposso’s Market, Summer Street, Natick, and 25% to help any member of the club in need.
The second order of business discussed was a name for club. A lengthy discussion followed when finally James Adams suggested the name, “Vetetima” interpreted to mean lightning. All were in agreement for the name of the club. The meeting was adjourned.
Friday, March 1, 1935, the committee convened the first official meeting of the Albanian Women’s Society, Vetetima. The meeting was open to all members and any prospective members wishing to join. The meeting was called to order and a prayer was offered to thank God for His blessings, and with the hope of one day having our own church for divine services.
The dedication and hard work of the ladies of the society assisted by their husbands, sons, daughters and friends to raise funds to help the parish council purchase a building to become their church became a reality in 1938. The prayer offered at the first meeting of the society was answered and the building at the corner of Washington Street and North Avenue was consecrated in 1955 as the Albanian Orthodox Church, Annunciation, Natick.
In 1985 the society celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a dinner at the Natick Elks Lodge. The ladies who were elected to serve on the committee were: Sophia Botka, President; Rita Fagan, Vice-President; Mary Verdy, Treasurer; Gloria Estey, Secretary, and Harriette Botka and Marguerite David, Controllers. Sixty ladies and their daughters were members of the society that year. The deceased members were remembered for their hard work, dignity and love. May their memory be eternal.
Each year on the first Sunday in March the society remembers its departed sisters at a Memorial Litany following Divine Liturgy. Plaques which list the name of each departed member are located in the church hall to serve as a visual reminder of their individual contributions to the growth and development of our church.
The society amended its by-laws in 2008 and became the Vetetima~Women’s Society of the Albanian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. All the funds raised by the society are used for the purchase of religious items used during church services or for other needs of the church.
The society continues the work establish by its founding members. Funds were raised in 1998 and air conditioning was installed in the church hall. A new Shroud was purchased for Great and Holy Friday Services in 2003. Purple, red, and gold altar server robes were purchased in 2008 and 2009.
The 75th Anniversary was celebrated Sunday, May 16, 2010, with a Litany and prayers for the health of each member of the society at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy. Past chairman of the Parish Council were invited to join the society as guests for a celebration dinner at the Wayside Inn, Wayland.
The society continues working for the good of the church. A new tomb for the Shroud was purchased in 2011. His Grace, Bishop NIKON, Fr. Joseph J. Gallick, Fr. Spero Page and Fr. Mark Doku participated in blessing the new tomb at the conclusion of services commemorating the Patronal Feast Day of the Annunciation of the Mother of God.
The 2017 officers of the society are: Ann Powers, President; Ilira Shehu, Vice-President; Elizabeth Packer, Treasurer; Florina Uyar, Secretary; and Violet Tutuny and Violet Anthony, Controllers.