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  The Order Sons of Italy, L'Ordine Figli d'Italia, was formed in New York City in 1905 by Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro and a small group of Italian citizens devoted to caring for the Italian immigrants in the early days of the twentieth century.

Established  as a mutual aid society for the early Italian immigrants, today OSDIA has 30,000 members.

The organization's mission includes encouraging the study of Italian language and culture in American schools and universities; preserving Italian American traditions, culture, history and heritage; and promoting closer cultural relations between the United States and Italy. 

The Sons of Italy Foundation, established by OSDIA, is a private, philanthropic institution that has contributed millions of dollars for scholarships, medical research, cultural preservation and disaster relief. 

The Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) is the anti-defamation arm of OSDIA. 

The History of OSDIA

Nineteenth century America saw the rapid growth of mutual aid societies throughout the land. In the tradition of volunteering and cooperation, thousands of community organizations were formed. The mutual aid society was a source of great comfort for the immigrants because it provided a familiar setting in which a native language was spoken and old world customs practiced.

The Italian American societies were characterized by the provincial and village ties that were present in Italy. While many of the Italian immigrants had belonged to such organizations in their native land, there the focus was on providing sick and death benefits. However, in America these mutual aid societies had a greater focus on social interaction and were indispensable in assisting rural immigrants in adjusting to urban and industrial life. They were found in virtually every Italian community in America. Eventually, feelings of Italians began to emerge as Italian American needs and interests transcended the traditional regional and paese bonds. The development of this ethnic identity by Italians led to the formation of L'Ordine figli d'Italia in America, Order Sons of Italy in America.

Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro (1868-1932) developed the idea of uniting the Italians into one great organization which would enable them to become the authors of their own destinies. Dr. Sellaro was born in Polizza Generosa, Palermo, Sicily and came to the United States in 1897. Recognizing the need to unite the multitude of Italian mutual aid societies into a single federation, Dr. Sellaro and five other Italian immigrants founded The Supreme Lodge, Order Sons of Italy in America on June 22, 1905.


OSDIA is organized within three levels:

  1. The National Lodge (Supreme) sets goals and coordinates activities in 17 Grand and Subordinate Lodges and 425 Local Lodges.

  2. The State Lodge (Grand Lodge) informs all Local Lodges of activities and goals of the National and State Lodge. Each state has its own Grand Lodge.

  3. The Local Lodges are based in various communities and carry through the various programs of National and State OSDIA.  They work diligently to also support their own communities.  There are 21 Local Lodges in Ohio.

  4. The flower of the Order is purple Aster.


Your Membership Helps Achieve the Mission of the Order of the Sons of Italy

The Mission of the Order of Sons of Italy in America is to promote and preserve the History, the Traditions, the Culture and the Language of Italy for the benefit of all humanity.

  • Service and Charity – To assist our veterans, the needy, the ill, and disabled. 

  • Community Involvement – To encourage the active participation of our members in the social and economic life of our community, to participate in programs combating discrimination, racism, and social injustice.

  • Heritage – To promote and preserve the Italian language, culture, and traditions in our country.

  • To support the purposes of national OSIA.

  • To promote enrollment and active participation of persons of Italian birth or descent and others as prescribed in our by-laws.

  • To initiate and promote activities, events and educational programs that preserve Italian culture, heritage and legacy.

  • To serve as a voice of support for Federal, state and local legislation that benefits the membership and the Italian American community, by encouraging active participation in the political, social, and civic life of our communities.

  • To provide Lodge members with a gathering locale to share Italian heritage, customs, culture, and stories;  a sanctuary in which mutual respect, camaraderie and goodwill are fostered and sanctioned; a place in which opportunities for learning, self-growth and pursuit of interests and ideas exchange are actively encouraged and supported.

  • Our Lodge Charity program covers donations to Autism, Alzheimer's, Cooley's Anemia, Cancer Fund and Veterans and community outreach .

  • Our Lodge also awards annual Scholarships to the Grandchildren & Children of our members, High School and College students.

  • The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in  America owns and operates the Garabaldi-Meucci Museum  located in  Staten Island, N.Y. The  Museum  preserves  the past for  the future. The Museum operates solely on fundraisers and donations from the many Lodges throughout the Country. The Sgt. Bonanno Lodge is a proud donor to the Museum.


  • Promote Italian language and culture in U.S. schools and colleges.

  • Educate the general public about the historical achievements and contributions of Italians and Italian Americans.

  • Fight the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising and news media.

  • Advocate for Italian Americans pursuing federal and state appointments, and for important legislation affecting the Italian American community.

  • Assist Italian American students and young professionals with their career plans through internships, mentoring, and youth programs.

  • Award scholarships to young Italian Americans at leading universities

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