Mercy Home Returns to Willoughby Ave. Roots

Twenty-two years after leaving 273 Willoughby Ave.’s Convent of Mercy, Mercy Home for Children is joyfully returning with a grand homecoming celebration on June 23.
A “Welcome Home” party is scheduled for all the staff, volunteers, participants and families.
Founded 149 years ago, Mercy Home began when the Sisters of Mercy took in five boys orphaned by fire. The agency was officially incorporated three years later and soon occupied a third of the Convent of Mercy.
For some 120 years, the sounds of children in the playground and the on-grounds school reverberated in the neighborhood, and students from Pratt Institute and St. Joseph College served as volunteers.
Through the years Mercy Home changed from an orphanage, to an emergency center for the abused and abandoned, to a residential treatment center for children with significant developmental challenges. What remained constant was the excellent and quality care and treatment provided to New York City’s children.
When the agency became specialized to address the lifelong needs of children with autism and developmental challenges, it became clear that what was in their best interest were smaller homes in communities throughout the city.
In 1989, the last group was moved from Mercy Home and the agency’s offices eventually moved to a building belonging to Holy Name Church, Park Slope. As Mercy Home added respite and creative arts programs to meet the needs of more families, the need for space increased.
In 2008, part of the Convent of Mercy building became available as the Sisters of Mercy moved their retirement program to other sites.
Sister Kay Crumlish, R.S.M., executive director of Mercy Home, saw that Mercy’s “old” home was, in fact, the perfect place for both offices and program space and set about the job of restructuring the building to meet the agency’s needs. With the help of an active and involved Board of Directors, the dream has become a reality and Mercy Home returns to its roots this week.