For the past 50 years, the St. Monica Society has hosted a high quality antique show over Valentine’s Day weekend in Whitefish Bay. A fundraiser for the parish and some local charities such as Rosalie Manor Family and Community Service and Ladies of Charity, the show raises approximately $15,000 annually.St. Monica parishioners, Bernadette Hoeller, left, and Mary Lehmann, right, work on a quilt that will be raffled off at the auction. Creating and raffling a quilt at the event is a 30-year tradition for the women of St. Monica. (Submitted photo courtesy St. Monica Parish, Whitefish Bay)

But fundraising is just one way the antique show spreads goodwill. The event also brings together different generations of the parish through homemade food, a handmade quilt raffle and the spirit of volunteer work.

This year’s golden anniversary show will feature 20 antique dealers from the Milwaukee area, Chicago and California sharing stories and selling their treasures. 

In 1966, the men of the parish initiated an annual card party night as a fundraiser. According to Carole Walthers, committee member, the women wanted to host an event to raise money and have some fun, too. Mona Lynch and Marge Barry started the antique show that year.

The show has an excellent reputation and especially appeals to people who understand quality and enjoy learning about their connection to the past. Each year many of the volunteers and patrons return.

“Shoppers know that what they purchase will be authentic,” according to Ceil Bradford, dealer chair.

if you go

The St. Monica 50th annual antique show will be held at the parish, 5600 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay, Saturday, Feb. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5. A gala preview party on Friday Feb. 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. will feature hors d’oeurves, beer and wine and advance sales. Admission for the preview party is $20. For more information, to view a dealer list or to bring along an heirloom for appraisal, call (414) 962-9193 or visit

“The antique show is a wonderful chance to reminisce on the history and art of design, function and construction of all types of items, including furniture, china, silver, glassware and jewelry. The items are not only from our country but also from around the world,” said Bradford. “This antique show is special in how the community and all generations of the parish come together and share their stories.” 

Many have contributed to the show’s success. Mary Goulet, dealer chairwoman for many years, had a wealth of knowledge of antiques. She and other dealer chairs have carefully selected dealers for their knowledge and the quality of their wares.

Dorothy Gallun, a Cedarburg dealer of vintage jewelry, attended 48 of the 50 shows. Gallun, 95 years old and retired, reminisced, “I looked forward to the St. Monica antique show every year. Everyone associated with the show was always so warm and welcoming. I have a huge trove of treasured memories that I look back upon fondly.”

This year’s show will include Antique Chicago, Inc., a dealer that specializes in the Beidiermeir style of furniture from Germany and central Europe; Loana Marina Purrazzo, a vintage jewelry dealer with shops in San Francisco and Chicago; and Book Appraisals and Antiquarian Books, a dealer from Racine.

New this year will be an appraiser on hand to evaluate items that patrons bring. For those new to antiques, Bradford suggests, “starting small, with collectibles, or a favorite accent piece and share the stories, uniqueness and value of treasured heirlooms with the next generation.”

There will be a raffle for a handmade quilt, continuing a 30-year tradition for the show. Crafted by parishioners at St. Monica over the past nine months, the queen size quilt has a traditional log cabin pattern in vibrant, modern coral, lime, purple and aqua fabrics. 

As the show approaches, volunteers are getting the kitchen, bakery and tea room ready. Early Saturday morning, the men will make doughnuts, a perennial favorite. People love the doughnuts so much that some families have even shipped them to their college students.

Grade school and high school children work by clearing tables and pouring coffee to earn service hours. The lunch and tea room are also popular.

“Some of the women have been chopping vegetables for the homemade chicken soup and chili every year for 40 years,” said this year’s chair, Norma Herbers.

The show is held in Donovan Hall, named after the late-Msgr. John Donovan who served the parish from 1974 through 1993.

“We used to tell Monsignor that he was in charge of the weather and the women would take care of everything else,” Walthers recalled. Fr. Jerry Herda, the current pastor, will be called on to carry on the tradition, she added.