The Growth and Development of St. Benedict’s Day Nursery New York City, 1923 – 1950

Sister Agnes Marie Farrelly, Fordham University


Background of the Study. Day Care offers so many advantages to children. Of course, the primary purpose of day nursery is to offer services to young children whose mothers must work. These mothers are forced either to supplement their husband’s salary or are burdened with the entire support of the family. This particular day nursery came into being when Father Menogue who was the pastor of St. Aloysius Parish on Best 132 Street in New York City's Harlem district, saw the population of colored children increasing in the neighborhood. With love of God in his heart and a shepherd's devotion for his flock, he became concerned about this growing population in his parish. With foresight and sound reasoning, Father Menogue donated to the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities, two private houses to be used for the care of the colored children of this section. Thus began the first Catholic day nursery in Harlem. Never in history had there been a Catholic or Protestant day nursery in this area. The institution, the first of its kind paved the way for the establishment of many others. Not only was the building taken into consideration but methods, techniques, skills, organized programs and staff had to be thought of and worked out skillfully to meet the needs of the children who were to occupy the institution for the day while their mothers toiled away in a hard day’s labor. During the formative years of the agency, care was largely custodial, merely physical aggregate of groups of children. This trend continued until the early 1940’s when there was increased interest in educational circles on the psychological and mental hygiene approach in Day Care.

Subject Area

Social work|Social research|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Farrelly, Sister Agnes Marie, "The Growth and Development of St. Benedict’s Day Nursery New York City, 1923 – 1950" (1951). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30724930.