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St. Anthony Foundation honoring Sister Ann
Sister Ann Venita Britto, standing at right, is pictured with members of the Poncini family showing some of the Baby Shower for Jesus gifts given in December by parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. The donations were, in turn, given to the Pregnancy Help Center in Manteca. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/ The Bulletin
The honor goes to Sister Ann Venita Britto this year at the annual awards dinner sponsored by the St. Anthony’s Catholic School Education Foundation.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held Thursday, May 6, at the Chez Shari restaurant in the Manteca Municipal Golf Course on Union Road.
Reservations are now accepted for the event which costs $50 per person.

The award recognizes Sister Ann’s service and dedication not only to the parish but the community at large. While her works are longer than the grocery lists of the many large families whose lives she has touched in various ways, she is most widely known for the themed parties that she throws several times a year for senior citizens in the area, whether or not they belong to the St. Anthony’s Parish or even if they are mobile and on wheel chair. There had been some nursing home residents who attended her parties in a hospital bed with wheels. A number of them come in wheelchairs, and are picked up and brought back to the Palm Haven Care and Rehabilitation Center next door to the church by Sister Ann’s devoted and equally dedicated volunteers.

The parties are always festive, with the colorful decorations matching the theme of the celebration such as Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Sister Ann and her crew of volunteers always make sure that all the dining tables in the St. Anthony’s School gym are covered with linens and decorated with decorative centerpieces which she and her helpers painstakingly make days and even weeks before the event.

The food served during the sit-down meal is freshly cooked and piping hot, thanks to the volunteer efforts of Barbara Jaeger and her helpers.

A few years ago, Sister Ann started throwing parties for the special needs clients at Manteca CAPs, a program which also proved highly successful and popular.

Sister Ann, who worked as teacher and school principal at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Tracy and other schools in the Diocese of Stockton, has the official title of Pastoral Care and Senior Ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Manteca where she started working eight years ago. In addition to the senior parties, she facilitates other programs in the parish such as a grieving group which reaches out to families who have lost loved ones.

The Education Foundation is not the first major recognition for Sister Ann. She was also the recipient of the Manteca Hall of Fame award about two years go.

The Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization which provides financial assistance to St. Anthony’s School, its faculty and students. They have been responsible for a number of programs, such as improvements in the school’s computer lab that the school would not have been able to have without the organization’s help.

The foundation’s buffet dinner and program will begin at 6 p.m. To purchase a ticket, make a reservation or to ask for further details, call Lenna at 239-2944.