The Society of Saint Hilarion is named after the Patron Saint of Caulonia, a small town in the Region of Calabria, Italy.
Our organisation was formed by migrants from the Region who ventured to Australia by ship on either side of the Second World War. Initially their focus was to preserve the cultural and religious traditions that they grew up with in Italy and which were entrenched into their way of life, and in particular incorporating family, food and home made vino.
While many families were instrumental in the development of the St Hilarion community, it was the Ciccarello, Costa, Fazzalari and Lamberto families who were the key players in helping to galvanise these people who, it must be remembered, arrived in South Australia with virtually only the shirts on their backs and practically no English.
Drawing on this spirit of family and community, in 1955 the first Feast Day of St Hilarion was celebrated by thousands of people, as is shown below.
This tradition has been maintained every year since in the third week of October where the Feast of St Hilarion, with a five day program of prayer and spirituality, takes place. The program of activities culminates on the final day, which is always a Sunday, with the Feast Day itself, which has evolved to be one of the largest and most popular events of its kind in Australia.
Today the Feast of St Hilarion continues to be staged by the Society of St Hilarion Executive Committee and a dedicated team of approximately 100 volunteers.
Members are always welcome to join the Society (tel 8409 1500) and each year a new Executive Committee is elected at the Annual General Meeting.The Executive Committee owes its origins to those original migrants from Caulonia, in the Region of Calabria who, in the 1950s, dedicated themselves to maintaining and celebrating the religious and cultural traditions with which they were so familiar.
In particular, the staging of the annual Feast of St Hilarion every year in October, to celebrate the patron Saint, was considered the highlight of the year, and to this day remains the most important activity of the Executive Committee.
Reflecting the ageing of our community and the need for culturally specific services, in 1987 the Society of St Hilarion embarked on a bold initiative to enter into the aged care sector by purchasing an existing 50 bed facility at Lockleys in Adelaide's western suburbs.
Following this, two more homes were built at Findon and Fulham in the 1990s, catering for persons in need from across Adelaide.
By the middle of the following decade it was recognised that our facilities at Lockleys and Findon were outdated and no longer suited to the needs and expectations of the community.
As a result, these properties were sold and a stunning new facility, The House of St Hilarion, was constructed at Seaton with the first stage development, costing close to $30 million, completed in June 2010.
The House of St Hilarion offers both low and high care accommodation and associated services for 109 residents, while our inviting Villa St Hilarion at Fulham facility offers low care services in spacious individual villas for 56 residents.
In keeping with the Society's vision of being "A leading multicultural Aged Care Organisation within a loving, caring and Christian environment", in 1999 the Society became a member of the Scalabrini National Association for the Aged.
In addition, the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of St Anthony was invited to fulfil the task of Pastoral Care at our Aged Care facilities. Their Pastoral Care work extends to the physical, emotional, recreational, cultural and spiritual needs of the Residents as well as providing assistance and support to their families.
In January 2003, a Scalabrini Priest was appointed as Pastoral Care Director, to further enhance Pastoral Care to our Residents.
Today while more than half of our residents are of Italian descent, we also welcome people of all cultures and religious beliefs to experience our care, compassion and feeling of community.