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Grand Vice President,
Vasilia (Celia) Kachmarski
What book does our Grand Vice President recommend for your summer reading this year?
I just finished reading The Embroiderer by Kathryn Gauci. I was intrigued by this story because my mother and her family were ousted from Turkey in 1922, so I have personal interest.
Set against the mosques and minarets of Asia Minor and the ruins of ancient Athens, ‘The Embroiderer’ is a gripping saga of love and loss, hope and despair, and of the extraordinary courage of women in the face of adversity. 1822: During one of the bloodiest massacres of The Greek War of Independence, a child is born to a woman of legendary beauty in the Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni on the Greek island of Chios. The subsequent decades of bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks simmer to a head when the Greek army invades Turkey in 1919. During this time, Dimitra Lamartine arrives in Smyrna and gains fame and fortune as an embroiderer to the elite of Ottoman society. However it is her grand-daughter, Sophia, who takes the business to great heights only to see their world come crashing down with the outbreak of The Balkan Wars, 1912-13. In 1922, Sophia begins a new life in Athens but the memory of a dire prophecy once told to her grandmother about a girl with flaming red hair begins to haunt her with devastating consequences. 1972: Eleni Stephenson is called to the bedside of her dying aunt in Athens. In a story that rips her world apart, Eleni discovers the chilling truth behind her family’s dark past plunging her into the shadowy world of political intrigue, secret societies and espionage where families and friends are torn apart and where a belief in superstition simmers just below the surface.
What other books does our Grand Vice President recommend?
I also enjoyed “The Gift Saga” by Effie Kammenou. Evanthia’s Gift and Waiting in Aegina follow a family and all their trials and tribulations. There are many family recipes that are shared throughout the book and, I must admit, are worth trying!
As well, Jeffrey Siger has a series of police dramas set in Greece where Inspector Andreas Kaldis travels with his officers to various islands to help solve mysteries. It is a humorous look at the islanders.
My favourite genres are historical fictions and mysteries. After retirement some of my colleagues wanted to be sure we would continue meeting so we started a Book Club that meets every 6 weeks to discuss a variety of books, enjoy some sweet treats and each other’s company.
Find out a little more about our Grand Vice President
Grand Vice President Kachmarski is a 51-year member of the Daughters of Penelope and is a retired teacher. She is often teased that she didn’t have a choice to become a member of the organization, rather she – and her sisters – were BORN into it.
Sister Vasilia’s parents were founding members of the Chapter in Saskatoon and were the District Governors who chartered most of the existing chapters in Western Canada and some in Eastern Canada. Celia was initiated into Telemachus Chapter #69 in Saskatoon, Saskatoon and transferred to Erato Chapter #295 in Calgary some time later where is has been a member for numerous years.
Sister Vasilia has held every office at the chapter and district level. Additionally, she has held a number of positions on the AHEPA Family Charitable Foundation of Canada and was the President of the Daughters of Penelope Foundation for four years at the National level. Additionally, Sister Vasilia has also held numerous offices on the Grand Lodge, National Chairmanships and Convention Chairmanships. She was awarded the National Penelope of the Year in 2016.
Vasilia and her husband, Ron, have one son who is married and has two children of his own. Vasilia is a member of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Calgary, Alberta. She volunteers for the Greek community’s Greek Fesitval and is also very involved in local community charities in Calgary, Alberta. Celia continues to be a very active Daughter in her local chapter and has chaired numerous committees and served on even more.
Foundation Book Club Chairman