Dear Editor: In the She Built NYC initiative to honor women of historical significance, it should be known that Roman Catholic religious sisters have had a significant impact upon the life of New York City for over 200 years beginning with St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, Foundress of the Sisters of Charity.
They pioneered parochial schools, orphanages, hospitals, and colleges, which have served the immigrant poor women and children at a time when there was no government social welfare network for either individuals or families.
A prime example is the St. Joseph’s Female Orphan Asylum (St. Joseph’s Home), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where my orphaned mother, Marie, and her three sisters, were domiciled in the 1930’s-1940’s due to family misfortune.
Without the acts of charity and mercy of the Sisters of Charity toward my mother — once a 7-year old girl — I may not be here today as a result of her survival and her beautiful Catholic home she had given me in my youth.
And then, look at the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, who were my parochial school teachers at St. Patrick’s School, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and how they gave such an excellent intellectual, moral, and spiritual education to immigrants, particularly Irish and Italians. The Pallottine Sisters in Clinton Hill served the community with the St. Thomas day nursery school (before City Pre-K initiative) and in catechesis for the NYC Public School 157 (my father, Joseph, was one of their pupils.) And the list goes on . . .
Who built NYC? The Roman Catholic Church.
Joseph N. Manago