The children took turns answering why their parents want them to be part of the Sacred Heart Kids’ Club, a program operated by the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana.
“My family wants me to be part of the Sacred Heart Kids’ Club so I will become closer to God.”
“I thought making crafts and being able to play with the other kids would be fun.”
“Because it’s really fun. And more fun.”
Their answers elicited laughter and smiles among the hundreds who attended the April luncheon, one of Orange County’s most anticipated social events and fundraisers, the Gentlemen’s Haberdashery.
The 37th-annual luncheon and fashion show featured Orange County’s most-prominent male executives and community leaders modeling menswear on a runway in a large ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.
The men, some accompanied by professional female models, wore outfits from local retailers Robert Talbott, Gary’s, Peter Millar, J. Hilburn, Toes on the Nose, St. Croix, and Wildfire.
As pop tunes blared, some of the models whipped the crowd into whoops and cheers and loud applause by striking fun poses on the runway.
The event raises money for the annual operating costs of the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, which is operated by the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.
The center serves between 12,000 and 14,000 youth and adults, many from local parishes, schools, and more, each year. The center also runs the faith-focused Sacred Heart Retreat Camp in Big Bear for children and their families, as well as children’s camps in Taiwan and Hungary.
The $350,000 raised was the most since the Gentleman’s Haberdashery returned in 2013 after the event went on hiatus in 2008, said Jeremy Laster, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rancho Mission Viejo.
Laster served as co-host of this year’s event with Trina Lamkin, Rancho Mission Viejo’s vice president-Family Office. Lamkin is the daughter of Rancho Mission Viejo President and CEO Anthony R. Moiso, co-chair of the event with his wife, Melinda.
The Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart started operating the retreat center in 1978 in a converted garage. Since 1992, the center has been housed on beautiful, Mission-like grounds on Greenville Street in Santa Ana.
Sister Mary Tomasella, superior general, Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart, gave a heartfelt invocation filled with fashion show puns:
“Lord, fashion us after the design of your heart and adorn the goodness represented here with your presence as we relax today and go about our work,” Sister Tomasella said. “And as we proceed on the runways of life, fill us and all who will benefit from this event with your peace — a peace that only you can give. Amen.”
Laster noted that the sisters prayed for every attendee in the days leading up to the 37th Gentlemen’s Haberdashery, whose theme this year was “Fashion with a Heart.”
Said Laster: “That’s huge. And it’s always something to remember.”