The International Order of Alhambra is a fraternal organization of Catholic men and women (age 18 years and older) dedicated to assisting persons that are intellectually disabled or handicapped.
The Order’s mission is to:
- Provide assistance, education and residences for persons developmentally disabled;
- Identify, mark, preserve, and commemorate Catholic historical places, events and persons of international importance;
- Promote fraternalism and sociability among its members and their families.
The International Order of Alhambra focuses its primary efforts on providing assistance to persons intellectually disabled through its charitable programs and projects. It perpetuates Catholic heritage through its Historical Memorials program, an initial purpose and goal of the Order. And, the Order places emphasis on fraternalism and sociability to provide a cohesive force of human and financial resources to achieve its purposes.
As a Catholic organization the members of the Order coordinate their efforts and assistance programs with respect the respective Bishops under whose auspices such activities may fall – to accomplish the following for persons intellectually disabled, and to:
- Provide assistance to private schools chartered to serve the needs of persons intellectually disabled so that they may serve their students in need of both secular and religious special education and vocational training.
- Provide assistance to establish residences for persons with developmental disabilities, and to provide assistance to respite care facilities and programs for their parents, giving preference to private or public projects endorsed by Catholic Bishops.
- Provide assistance through the Order’s scholarship program to educate undergraduate students studying to become special education teachers, and provide assistance to persons engaged in giving care and comfort to persons developmentally disabled.
- Provide human and/or financial resources to enhance the quality of life for persons intellectually and developmentally disabled by participating in programs and activities like Special Olympics; recreation, field day programs and summer camps; field trips, boat rides, zoo trips, circus trips, picnics, Christmas parties, dinner dances, etc.
The Historical Memorials program has existed from the founding days of the Order of Alhambra, as reported in the foreword of “The Order of Alhambra: Its History and Its Memorials,” by Reverend Vincent A. Lapomarda. In there it is noted “…just as the very name of the Order recalls a crucial turning point in the history of religion and culture among the Catholics of Europe, so Alhambra was founded to perpetuate the glorious moments in the history of religion and culture among Catholics in North America.”
Accordingly, to this day, a major purpose of the International Order of Alhambra is to identify, mark, preserve, and commemorate Catholic historical places, events and persons of international importance. Over 180 such memorials have been established in Canada and the United States. A registry of these memorials and their locations is maintained by the Headquarters Office permanent staff.
Fraternalism and sociability are dominant characteristics of the International Order of Alhambra. These characteristics are specifically identified in one of the purposes of the Order, i.e., “To promote social, fraternal and intellectual associations and through its Caravans provide a practical means to form enduring fellowship and friendship among its members.” These characteristics of the members of the Order are perpetuated to provide camaraderie and enjoyment while raising funds to achieve the Order’s goals and objectives of assisting persons with intellectual disabilities.