St. Agnes’ School, Sparkill, N.Y., 1884–1916: An Historical Study of an Institution for Dependent and Neglected Children Against a Background of Concurrent Provision for Them by Public and Child Placing Agencies
Timeliness and Importance of the Investigation. The history of St. Agnes’ School, Sparkill, N. Y. conducted by the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary as a home for dependent, destitute, and neglected boys, has never been written. In this and the ’ inaccessibility of the sources for a history of the institution, St. Agnes’ is typical of many Catholic charitable enterprises of the last century. Not seventy five years old, its beginnings are already dimmed by legend, with precious details necessary for scientific study lost. This paucity of material has at least two causes. The first of these, the desire of the Sisters for a lack of publicity in their charity, is to be praised for its sincerity, but deplored for its consequent failure to make what would have been a valuable contribution to future endeavor along the same charitable lines. George Santayana has said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." His words can show merely the negative result of such lack of documentation. The loss of the record of others’ achievement is more to be regretted. But already in 1880, when the Community was only four years old, these sisters had decided upon a policy that called for a minima of publicity for their work, and sought "no other reward than the recognition of heaven". In 1897 we have further evidence of this policy, when the Rev. John E. Burke, then pastor of St. Benedict's Home at Rye, said of them? "These Daughters of St. Dominic look not for public approval of the work done which "is hidden in Jesus Christ", but seek the reward which He reserves for those who work for souls. Therefore (he agreed), no record of their work need be kept." A further indication of the adoption of such a policy can be seen in a comparison of news notices in the Catholic papers of the time accorded the various communities, and in the Archdiocesan Archival materials in their regard. Where the Sisters of Ghazity, or the Ursulines, or others received many and continued notices, this Community received very few.
Public policy|Social research|Social studies education|Social work
Arpie, Robert Andrew, "St. Agnes’ School, Sparkill, N.Y., 1884–1916: An Historical Study of an Institution for Dependent and Neglected Children Against a Background of Concurrent Provision for Them by Public and Child Placing Agencies" (1957). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30670852.