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A Swedish-American Fraternal Organization

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Welcome to the website of Pennsylvania District #9 of the Vasa Order of America!

We are excited to have a real presence on the World Wide Web. District Lodge Pennsylvania #9 was established in 1908 to form a regional umbrella for local lodges in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Most of our activities are conducted through our local lodges Nobel-Monitor #130 in Cleveland, OH, Drott #168 in Potomac, MD, and Svea #296 in Erie, PA. Like many other fraternal and ethnic organizations in the United States, we have seen our membership decline in recent decades and several local lodges disappear. But the Executive Board of the District is determined to turn things around. Re-launching our websites at the District, as well as, each of the local lodges is a first step in that effort. While most of our current members are 2nd or 3rd generation Swedish-Americans, we are aware that there are many Swedes who have arrived in our area more recently, along with many others, who share our interest in preserving and celebrating our Swedish cultural heritage. We are planning in the coming months and years to expand our activities both at the local lodge level and through collaboration across the District. We invite you to join us in that effort! Please check out our websites to see how our plans unfold.

Bo Carlsson

District Master

Pennsylvania District #9


In addition to our website, we also have a District #9 Newsletter. We will send it out regularly, approximately 4 times per year.  For current information about each of the Lodges go to their websites:

Check out the News Tab.  In the section for District Newsletters, read Spring 1992 Distrikt Tidningen!

Make sure that you sign-up for the Newsletter!  Click here: Sign-up Today For Our District No. 9 Newsletter!

Glad Påsk!

Photos courtesy of  E. Dunhem 


District Lodge Pennsylvania #9 is dramatically  improving its public face with our Wild Apricot website.

We are very excited about this development. Our website describes who the District Lodge PA #9 is and how we impact Scandinavian culture.  You can also find a description of our parent organization, Vasa Order Of America.  We are one of 18 Districts in the United States, encompassing Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.

The website works very well on any smartphone or regular computer so you can access the website from anyplace, at any time. 

Keep checking this website for frequent updates and news about District Lodge PA #9.

A trip of a lifetime - El Camino de Santiago

5ks may be all the rave, but would you walk 75 miles? 350 miles? n Europe, through mountains? On something called The Way of St. James?

El Camino de Santiago is a walking pilgrimage from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela (St. James of the Field of Stars).   It depends where you start, but most commonly the path begins in France.  People from all walks of life travel it.

Legend says that St. James, Spain’s patron saint, was sent to that area to preach the Gospel before he returned to Judaea and was beheaded in 44 AD.  The El Camino de Santiago ends in Santiago de Compostela, where tradition says the body of Saint James the Apostle rests. A 9th-century hermit Pelayo received a dream revealing the remains of St James, to which the bishop he told decided to check and then told the king.

Some say James’ disciples shipped his body to the Iberian Peninsula for burial, but it was shipwrecked and washed ashore covered in scallops. Others say an angel brought his body back and a groom saying his vows on the beach ended up covered in scallops after his horse spooked and dragged him into the water and they miraculously resurfaced. Either way scallops are a symbol for pilgrims along the Way.

The road years ago was dangerous, for pilgrims and those punished to walk it alike, but today it is a way of pilgrimage, tourism, tradition, and a physical challenge.   (Excerpted from The Catholic Link)

Our very own Arne and Eva Dunhem from Drott Lodge #168 took on this monumental task.   Here are some 'footnotes' from their 350 mile adventure:

The hike is and has been absolutely wonderful, but, of course has taken a lot of our energies. We both got a bad cold, but we will persevere. We will never forget the smell of the cow dung in all the Galician villages we have passed the last few days.  We saw a brand new beautiful big house, like a mansion. But it was in the middle of the smell. Would we want to live there? The scenery is stunning with a rolling landscape, sweeping views over fields with corn and other fields with cows and horses.

We had brought four small rocks with us from our granddaughters, daughter-in-law and from our condo building in Ashburn. We read two different recommended prayers and climbed up to the top of the pile of rocks that had been left by people over hundreds of years. We carefully place our rocks and took photos and a video. Very emotional.

And now, the not so good things.

We started to hike again and after about two hours and having hiked a couple of miles, the heavy black clouds started to sail in. Then the heavens opened up again, but this time with heavy, heavy downpour, hail for a while, and lightning and thunder. A really severe thunderstorm. We were upon the mountain with nowhere to take shelter. Despite us having rain jackets and rain covers over our back packs, we got soaking wet. The rain came down horizontally in the strong wind.  It took us a couple of hours in the rain to get down to the next village. We walked the road and not the trail as it became muddy and very slippery. Somewhat easier on asphalt but still slippery.

Now the second not so good thing. Both of us developed a pretty bad cold after the hiking in the heavy rain, which we still have. We gave up on hiking for the day, with a couple of hours left, and steep wet slopes downhill. We called for a taxi after reaching the next village, after having something to eat and warm up. Caffe con Leche and a sandwich. It tasted heavenly. The taxi brought us to our hotel in Ponferrada. The taxi ride was also an adventure. The driver had two phones that he constantly talked in, something to do with customers not showing up. And the road down was steep and lots of s-curves.

Yesterday Monday around 1 pm we finally reached our goal for our Camino de Santiago - The Cathedral, Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela. It has been a real struggle, a lot of hard work, hiking uphill and downhill and sometimes level, day after day. We have hiked through corn and wheat fields, vegetable fields, cow, horse, goat and sheep areas, through many hamlets, villages, towns and cities. But we never thought about giving up. It was just a great new experience.  Arne wanted to just lie down on the Praza, like the younger ones did, but Eva, who is the smartest one, said Arne could not get up again if he did…

Village of Hoyanger in Norway               PBellingham

Join Us For Fun-filled Events Together With the 3 Sister Lodges In Our Vasa District, PA #9

Why not visit our three sister Lodges within Pennsylvania District #9? The lodges are Nobel-Monitor #130 in Cleveland, OH, Svea #296 in Erie, PA, and Drott #168 in Washington, D.C. Check out their websites to find out what they are doing.

We plan to have some joint activities together with members of the other lodges to include some fun events in their areas and we will travel there to spend a day or weekend with them.  We can, to the extent possible, arrange car pooling.

More information about these events later.

Here are the websites for our three sister Local Lodges:



Drott Lodge:

 ReEnergize & ReBuild Events

Restart & ReEnergize Working Group Meetings

April 15, 2024 6:30PM Zoom


Become A Member in any of our 3 Lodges closest to you!

Become a Local Lodge Member by logging on to the respective websites listed above. 

You will receive their Newsletter in order to be informed about what is happening within the Lodges.



Jamestown, NY - Scandinavian Cultural Days at Jamestown Community College are held the first Saturday of the month from October through May.

Luray, Virginia - Luray Caverns -  The cavern system is adorned with speleothems such as columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and mirrored pools. The caverns are perhaps best known for the Great Stalacpipe Organ, a lithophone  made from solenoid-fired strikers that tap stalactites of various sizes to produce tones similar to those of xylophones, tuning forks, or bells. (Wikipedia). 

Cleveland, Ohio - The Henry Ford -   You might want to visit the Factory Tour and the Museum of American Innovation at The Henry Ford complex.

Not a member yet?

Active communication is very important to grow our three Lodges and make a difference. If you have not signed-up yet, here is your chance to become a member in one of our Lodges: Nobel-Monitor, Svea, or Drott. Click and Sign-up below

Click to sign-up to become a member in a Lodge

You can search our website here below:


Pat Bellingham

C/O Luther Memorial Church Office: 814.454.0106


225 West 10th Street

Erie, PA 16501

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