St. Agnes Alumni WebNews
House Kids @ Home

WebNews #25; St. Valentine's Day Edition; Wednesday February 14th, 2007



When profiling is “reasonable,” injustice becomes excusable 7/24/13

NewsAlert: *** ST. AGNES ALUMNI 71st ANNUAL PICNIC, AUGUST 19, 2017; MARK ON YOUR CALENDAR *** 4/27/17
*** In Loving Memory of Pastor "Pat" Feliciano *** 3/8/14 *** Peter Feliciano Needs Your Prayers *** 12/14/15
Fr. Ray Masterson Obit 3/19/14 Fr. Ray Masterson Remembrance Letter 3/19/14 Fr. Ray Masterson Remembrance 3/19/14
The boys of St Agnes, a video by Sr Margaret Palliser 3/20/14 Augusta DiMarino; Mother of 4 Maltese "House Kids" 11/10/15
George Favre, 82, Sparkill, A House Kid, Biography 5/24/14 View Sacred Heart Chapel Video 2/24/14
Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2015 5/11/15 In Memory of Hugh J. “MAC” McAvinue, By Gerald F. Merna 2/22/15

St. Valentine's Day: "The origins of St.Valentine's Day, like the origins of love itself, are somewhat obscure — a combination of myth, history, destiny, chance and marketing. (more...)

House Kids: 3 More Names Added To Our "House Kids List": Kevin Lee Pryor, Edwin Johnson, Thomas D. Daly

Links: Historical Society of the Nyacks (Website:, eMail: Jim Hershberger

Newsletter: Historical Society of Nyacks - Jan. 2007 "Houses of Worship in the Nyacks" by Jean Pardo, "Retired Marine Recalls Service in Nyack" by Gerald F. Merna and more.

From: John J. Antonacci
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 11:06 PM
Subject: NIAGARA FALLS IN 1911 (a rare photo)

Thought you might appreciate seeing this old photo. I've read of this but never saw the photo before. Makes you wonder just HOW COLD and HOW LONG it was that cold!! brrr


From: Ed Kelly
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2007 11:33 PM
Subject: history photo

Found your website and thought you would like a copy of St. Agnes football team, 1960. I was in St. Agnes School from 1958-1961. My brother's name was Tom Kelly and he was also in the home. He later moved to Piermont. I remember Jim Faulk and Joe Rosen.

From: Kevin L. Pryor
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 11:49 PM
Subject: Hi it's really good to know there's a site now.

Hi this is Kevin L. Pryor, I was at Saint Agnes campus from 1966 to 1973, and transferred to a group home established in Brooklyn NY.

I graduated from Midwood HS and started college but things suddenly changed. it was not until a few yrs later that I found out about the 1977 closing of Saint Agnes Home and School for boys. I was very unsettled then as I am now, for you see I was raised there it was my home year round it was all I knew.

While I was at the main campus there were a lot of activities that I had the privilege of experiencing but the most important impact was the fact that I was treated as family by the Sisters and Staff in a way that helped me deals with the fact that I was alone.

I remember all the years that the other kids went home to their families for the holidays, I would still be at the main campus at that time the first few year it was very lonely but I grew to enjoy it after a while, the Sisters made those holidays memorable with enjoyment (smiling).

From: Joseph R. Stanaitis
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2007 11:20 PM
Subject: Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

Do you guys remember the Sisters of our childhood? Especially those young ladies when they first arrived at the "house" to become postulants. They'd stand outside a few dozen feet away from the big tree on the fellows field and light up their last cigarette and then wipe off the make up before the followed the older professed Sister into the Sisters quarters to get their new black and white habits. We watched those young woman go through their first years and then become novices and finally assume the full habit of the professed Sisters. Heck, As i recall, there was a time when many of them were only a year or two older than us and they gave up everything to take care of us.

There's a newer group of Dominican Sisters growing by leaps and bounds. They aren't our Dominicans, but they are Dominicans. Several years ago their congregation had dwindled down to 4 older Sisters but now, they are up to 72 Sisters, postulants, novices and professed and they're wearing the habits we remember so well and their numbers are increasing and they need help to complete their mission.

i think it would be a good thing to kick in a few dollars to help them accomplish their wouldn't hurt to mention to them where we come from and who we owe in a large part what we have become.

To: David T. Feliciano
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 2:07 AM
Subject: RE: Date St Agnes closed

Hi David:

"For 72 years, from 1905, St. Agnes Home cared for thousands of boys, and a small number of girls of all ages. Actually, St. Agnes began operations in 1884, when 25 boys were housed in a renovated, pinewood farmhouse structure. By 1894 facilities had grown to seven buildings, with facilities for 300 children.

In early February 1977 Sister Marie Jean Dempsey, President of St. Agnes Home and School of Children, announced the Board of Directors had voted on February 16, 1977 to phase out St. Agnes.

"Mounting deficits had virtuallly dictated the termination," stated Sister Marie. St. Agnes "had become a victim of the fiscal problems in New York City and State. There had been a freeze in Public Assistance while St. Agnes costs have kept rising."

The campus building on Rt.340 was 72 years old , and was "inadequate for carrying-out present-day child care programs."

St. Agnes Home, a five-story brick Gothic structure with stained-glass windows and multi-turrets, was demolished beginning on October 25, 1979. The towering smokestack and power house were the last structures to be leveled in January 1980." (Ref: Names on Our Land; Hardly a trace remains of orphanage, by Peter Krell, History Editor, Our Town, July 17, 1991.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,

Gerald F. (Jerry) Merna

Alumni WebSite GuestBook Entries:

My father, Edwin Johnson, was at St. Agnes from 1926-1940. After he left, he joined the Navy and served on an LST during WWII and was in the Normandy invasion. I can remember him telling stories about "the home", picking beans and playing hockey on the frozen lake in winter. I visited there with him many times as a young child. I can remember a Sister Ambrosia..There were many others but their names escape me. He was especially fond of Coach Faulk and spoke very kindly of him. He passed away in 1972 at the age of 48 and is buried in Yonkers, N.Y. I am so glad to have found your site and to be able to add his name to the guestbook. Thanks so much.
Kathleen J. Mitchell Hull, MA USA - Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 12:41:42 (PST)
This is a great website. Brings back memories. Thank you
Edward Kelly, Belen, NM USA - Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 20:00:56 (PST)
Love the site. Lots of memories. House kid from 1935-1946. I welcome emails. Left Sparkill, joined the Army (Korea) married with 5 children. God Bless. John Lehman, Carmel, NY USA - Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 18:32:55 (PST)
Well I have to say I finally found this site I haven't had any tears yet because I am being very cautious about what I type here, I was under the care of Saint Agnes between the yrs 1966 to 1973 main sparkill campus, was transfered to a group home set up in Brooklyn I have a lot more to share but right now I'm in a state of confusion, oh don't worry it's a happy confusion I found my lost history and I have to add it made a special difference for me. But hey let me bring this to a close for the time being and see what happens ..
Kevin Lee Pryor Hudson, NY USA - Friday, January 19, 2007 at 09:26:45 (PST)

Videos: Next American Idol - ( Best Photos of 2005 (According To NBC)

Links: The Final Roll Call: (Forwarded By Emith M. Fludd) I came upon this site while looking for the names of some very dear friends. You may wish to share it with others. (

Gaspar Cipolla Ricardo C. Colon Harry Connors
Caesar Feliciano Carlos Feliciano David T. Feliciano Pastor (Pat) Feliciano Peter (Pedro) Feliciano
Stephen J. Fromholz, Sr. Louis A. Lopez George Charles Merna Gerald F. Merna Thomes G. Merna
Robert F. Pulliza Frank Jacob Rosenstine Joseph R. Stanaitis Joseph (Joe) Wiska

Raymond (Ramon) Adames John J. Antonacci Joseph Antonacci Dennis Bailey Lorenzo Calderon
Robert Coyle William Doherty Benjamin Feliciano Bob Keane James Lawson
James Merna Richard Merna Robert Merna John (Sammy) Tolins

Golden Jubilee Celebration: (1) 'Online Golden Jubilee Booklet' (2) 50th Anniv. Remarks By Gerald F. Merna NewsAlerts New Stuff

'Home Kids' By Nancy Canfield: The story of St. Agatha Home for Children:
"We're going to take you kids,"
he pointed to each of us sitting on the couch and said our names in a sing-song voice "Jackie... Tommy... Hellen... David and Nancy," pausing between each name as if to prove he knew them, "to see a school tomorrow, a boarding school, see how you like it." He said this in a voice that implied it was temporary, like we'd have a choice about attending. With those words the Canfield siblings began a journey that profoundly shaped their formative years. Home Kids is Nancy Canfield's courageous retelling of her family's dramatic story and the inspirational story of St. Agatha Home for Children.  (More....)

Letters: 'Home Kids' By Nancy Canfield: The Story of St. Agatha Home for Children: Sent: 01/19/2006
Photos: St. Agatha Home Keepsake Photograph.
“Home Kids: The Story of St. Agatha Home for Children,” By Nancy Canfield:
By Pat Sherman UNION-TRIBUNE COMMUNITY NEWS WRITER, March 10, 2006. "Nancy Canfield knows how a single, immutable event can forever alter a child's life. In her recently published book, “Home Kids: The Story of St. Agatha Home for Children,” Canfield recounts the years she and four siblings spent at a Catholic orphanage in New York."  (More....)

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(Music: "Valentine" Composed by Jim Brickman; Sequenced by Bryan Hartig)