St. Agnes Alumni WebNews
House Kids @ Home

WebNews #31; Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2007

(Music: "Colors of the Wind")


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
Sorry, your browser doesn't support Java.

"The History of Thanksgiving": "Ever wonder what the pilgrims and their Native American guests really ate at the first feast? The truth may surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, they didn't sit down to a meal featuring turkey, corn, cranberries, and pumpkin pie (in fact, they didn't even have forks!). Travel back to Plymouth and discover some of the humble origins of Thanksgiving traditions we celebrate today and what the original celebration was actually like! Watch videos about Thanksgiving Listen to Pilgrim interviews ...." (More)

Sparkill, NY St Agnes Convent and Orphanage Fire, Aug 1899

31 October 2007 - 10:05pm — Stu Beitler

Heroic Work of the Sisters in Rescuing Their Young Charges -- Fire of Incendiary Origin?

Blauvelt, N. Y., August 28 --- The entire group of buildings with the exception of the hospital, which comprised the St. Agnes Convent and Orphanage, in charge of the Dominican Sisters, situated about half a mile from Sparkill, were burned early this morning. As far as is known five lives were lost and many were injured, two of whom will probably die.

The fire was discovered about 1 o'clock this morning and in a short time all the buildings with the exception of the hospital, were burning fiercely. The fire started in the lavatory at the northwest corner of the group of buildings, nine in number, which faced the road to the south. It soon communicated to Building No. 1, which was occupied by the older boys.

The lads were quickly awakened and soon rushed to Building No. 2 and in this manner word was quickly passed through the nine buildings and the sisters in charge of each soon had all the occupants of the dormatories [sic] out of bed.

Along the back of the buildings a covered archway extended the entire length of the structures and from this archway the entrances to the several buildings opened. The fire spread with extraordinary swiftness through this arched hallway, which acted as a flue, and the flames were fanned by a northwest breeze which forced them onward in their destructive sweep.

The work of getting the children out of the building was heroically performed by the sisters in charge. They were ably assisted by some nurses and monitors as well as by many of the older boys. In the meantime the alarm had been spread and people from the surrounding neighborhood quickly gathered and helped in the work of rescue. The alarm of fire was sent by telephone to the nearest towns, but when the fire company from Piermont arrived all but the hospital building had been destroyed.

All of the children were taken out alive, but two little ones, HELEN BROWN, aged 6 years and EMMA MACKIN, 7 years old, died of convulsions after they had been rescued. THERESA MURPHY, aged 16, returned to the building to save a baby and perished. An aged woman nurse known as JANE, who is said to be 70 years of age, is supposed to have perished in the building, where found. All the other inmates have been accounted for.

KATE McCARTHY, a servant, died about 11 o'clock from shock. Six of the sisters jumped from the second, third and fourth floors of the buildings, but only one of them was dangerously injured. This is SISTER BERTRAND, who is suffering from concussion of the spine and consequent shock.

SISTER MARIE, who, the doctors say, will live, is severely burned and SISTER CATHERINE had an arm broken. SISTER SIENNA, who assisted in the work of rescue, showing wonderful nerve and courage, collapsed after the children were gotten out and remained unconscious for several hours. SISTER AGNES, who climbed out of a fourth story window, had a miraculous escape from injury and possible death. After climbing out of the window she took hold of the shutter and after swinging herself free of the building, dropped to the ground, four stories below, and alighted without apparent injury.

In all there were 326 children, of whom sixty were girls, in the institution when the fire broke out. There were also forty sisters in charge under the direction of REVEREND MOTHER PETERS. Most of the children were sent to the orphanage through the Gerry Society and police magistrates. The parent house of the sisters is at 329 East Sixty-third street, New York, where Mother Superior DOMINICK resides. All of the sisters and children, as well as the wounded, are being taken care of at the Blauvelt Convent, which is about two miles from the scene of the conflagration.

About twenty-five of the children received injuries, none of which, the doctors think, will prove fatal.

The damage is estimated at $100,000 and it is believed that the fire was of incendiary origin. The removal of all the children to the Blauvelt Convent overcrowds that institution and this afternoon fifty children will go to the New York House of the Sisters of St. Dominic, at 329 East One Hundred and Sixty-third street and fifty to the Convent at Nanuet.

The sisters controlling the destroyed institution belong to the third order of St. Dominic.

Brooklyn Eagle New York City 1899-08-28"

Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!
Forwarded by: Gerald F. Merna

Oct. 23, 2007

Dear David,
Congratulations on your development of a very attractive website. I hope it receives wide acceptance that increases the membership’s ability to contact each other.

I am the eldest of the Antonacci “Tribe”. That’s how Sr. Ignatia referred to the Altomare, Antonacci and Santini children. In 1948, I graduated, Tappan Zee. I joined the Marine Corps in early 1951 and served in Korea, 1951-52. Carol and I married in Sept. of 1952. We have two children and three grandchildren.

While working and rearing a family, I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and had an enjoyable twenty-five year teaching career. At the present time, Carol and I are retired and living comfortably in Florida.

Our recent 55 Wedding Anniversary was celebrated aboard the Costa liner, Mediterranea, on a cruise to Italy, Greece and Croatia.

We are well and send best wishes for good health, success and prosperity to all alumni.

Joseph Antonnaci (Class 1948)

Joe & Carol Antonacci (55th Anniversary Photo)

From: Peter Feliciano; To: Robert Wagner
Subject: guest book entry; Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 07:15:51 EDT

Hi Robert Wagner
Since you went to TZ Hi, are you also an alumnus of St. Agnes? My brothers and I were at St. Agnes and, at the time, some of the boys from St. Agatha and St. Dominic transferred to St. Agnes to attend TZH.

Thank you for your input and God bless.
Peter Feliciano St. Agnes 1942 - 1951

From: Robert Wagner; To: Peter Feliciano
Subject: re: Your enquiry; Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 8:18 PM

Hail Fellow Sparkillian!
Yes... I am one of the boys who transferred from St Agatha, Nanuet, Class of 1944, to St Agnes, Sparkill, in July/ August of 1944. Started TZHS with the Class of '48 although I was sent to public school in Queens, NYC before the summer of '45.

Some of my St Agnes residiency classmates at TZHS were Tom Quinn (John was his older brother), Malachy Murphy, Louie Kee (David was his younger brother), Hugh McAvinue, the Masterson brothers (Walter & Eddie); all of them went through all eight grades with me at St Agatha.

Other classmates at Sparkill/Piermont were "Red" Rooney, Joe Antonacci , and Favre who grew up at St Agnes. Also several boys in my class of '48 who were transferred to St Agnes from St Dominic, Blauvelt, including my good friend, John Mueller, with whom I walked to Dumont, NJ, to visit his aunt several times. Another classmate who came from St Dom's was Jerry Merna.

Sister William Vincent, O.P., affectionately referred to as "Sister Willie Vin"was our housemother up in the "garrett". Father Nash was our priest in residience. Coach Faulk headed up the football program while I was on the team in Fall '44 season. One of the rare regrets in my life is the fact that I was separated from my class of '48 classmates when I was transferred to live with a "boarding family" in Queens.

I envy (gently) that my St Agnes classmates got to bond through the high school years while I was set adrift among "strangers" in Queens where I was sensitive about my convent/home background.

Oooops... I've gone adrift from your original question. Perhaps, my age of 78-1/2 yrs may justify some forgiveness (?). BTW, "Red" Rooney was born just five days after my birth. I don't know who might remember me from St Agnes, aside from Joe Antonacci, and the boys who were my classmates for eight years at St Agatha. John Mueller who was into boxing may remember if he is alive; or maybe Favre if he is alive, or Jerry Merna? Who knows, after being out of high school for almost sixty years !

Thanks for your enquiry and your invitation to share some semblance of memories from days of youthful "yesterdays". And yes, I do give you my list my name and e-mail address.
Robert "Wags" Wagner.

From: Peter Feliciano
Subject: Check out Personal History Records; Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 12:48 PM

I've been telling everyone to call Sr. Catherine for records and follow up with a formal letter of request. However, since the prominence of this letter might generate requests from a lot of people who may never have thought to inquire, I'm not recommending that they call, only that they write. I don't think Sr. Catherine would appreciate an avalanche of phone calls. I did add the phone number in case someone wants to follow up with a call.

The website index category is called , "Personal Records Requests"

Click here: To Request Personal History Records

From: Peter Feliciano
Subject: New Good News Message; Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 11:11 PM

St. Agnes Alumni website has just installed a new Guest Book! It has a completely new look. It has a built in Spam blocker among other features. I think you'll enjoy it.

The old Guest book will still be available through the "Old Guestbook Archives" button right along side the "Sign Guestbook" and "View Guestbook" buttons.

Come visit and sign the new guest book !!

Please Note: In order to "sign in" (or submit an entry) to the new guest book, the visitor must take an extra step which helps block spammers from circumventing the other safeguards in place against them. Until now, in order to protect the viewers from very obnoxious and indecent Spam, your web designers had to cope with these Spam messages by hand. It was very time consuming and robbed us of time we needed to update and improve the website. The extra step you will make will be a tremendous help! Thank you for your kind understanding !
Peter Feliciano

Subject: Child-Caring Homes within the Archdiocese of New York in 1927; Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 12:26 PM

A little historical (1927) data. This site's URL lists (following historical information about) St. Agnes, St. Dominic’s and St. Agatha’s, and others, excerpted below:

SPARKILL, Rockland County, NY
St. Agnes Convent, Branch of Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary
Capacity: 633 Boys; 72 Girls.
67 Sisters of St. Dominc.
Mother M. Benigna, Supr.
Rev. Hugh J. McManus, O. P., Chaplain.

BLAUVELT, Rockland County, NY
Asylum of the Sisters of St. Dominic,
Capacity: Boys, 325; Girls, 255.
73 Sisters of St. Dominic.
Mother M. Joseph, Prioress.
The Asylum of the Sisters of St. Dominic
(is in District 221, Orangetown Twp., in the 1920 Census.)

NANUET, Rockland County, NY
The St. Agatha Home for Children,
Capacity: 454 Boys; 346 Girls.
40 Sisters of Charity.
Sister M. Thomasina, Sister-servant.

House Kids: 20 more names added to "House Kids List": Reinaldo Hernandez, Walter Feldman, Phil Evans, Nunzio Bisignano, John Hackett, William Ryan, George Perez, Coach Tom O'Brien, Coach John Glynn, Nicholas Marcigliano, Ismael Caban (1954-1959), Arthur Fludd, Robert "Wags" Wagner, Malachy Murphy, Tom Quinn, John Quinn (brothers), Hugh McAvinne, Eddie Masterson, John Mueller, Frank Maltese (1922)

Photos: Submitted by Jerry Merna - Historic Shot - Robert Gair Co.

Photos: Submitted by Jerry Merna; Tappan Zee HS, Piermont, N.Y.
From: James F. Shea
Subject: World Clock; Sent: Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007 9:51 AM

Click here: World Clock

From: Peter Feliciano
Subject: Link to St Dom; Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 11:27 AM

David, Can you include this link on the St. Agnes home page?

St. Dominic Home
Coach Jim Faulk; St. Agnes, Sparkill

Welcome to the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame. Elected in 1978 ... athletic director at St. Agnes School in Sparkill, a school for orphans and other troubled children, from 1934 to 1958 ... arrived in ...

Photos: Keeping it in Perspective (Forwarded by James F. Shea & Jerry Merna)

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
WebNews Archive: All past WebNews are available for viewing in the WebNews Archive.
NewsAlert Archive: All past NewsAlerts are available for viewing in the NewsAlert Archive.

“Home Kids: The Story of St. Agatha Home for Children,” By Nancy Canfield: "Book Recounts Author's Life in Orphanage:"
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....)

'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.

There are many ways you can help our troops.
Click Here:
Help Our Troops!
Please support our alumni website. click here to
Graphic by:    
General Links:                 Photo Gallery:

Home To Top To WebNews Archive To NewsAlert Archive

Please eMail your Photos, Stories, Anecdotes, Letters, EMail, Biographies, Newsletters, News. Please read (Our Policy)

Official PayPal Seal
Click This Button To

All Voluntary Contributions Greatfully Received
  eMail Web Designers: David T. Feliciano

About Us Our Mission Our Policy Our History
Copyright © 2003-2017 - David T. Feliciano;   
All Rights Reserved.   
Support Our Website

Alumni Website is Sponsored by your Voluntary Contributions
To Contribute, Click on "Contribute" Buttons at Left