Remembering the work of the sisters


To the editor:

The Press' Sept. 25 book review about foundlings (Abandoned: Foundlings in Nineteenth- Century New York City by Julie Miller) brings to mind some of our distinguished Riverdale neighbors, the Sisters of Charity.

On a hill on Mount Saint Vincent's beautiful campus is a small cemetery in which Sister Irene Fitzgibbons is buried. In the late 1860s she could not ignore the babies abandoned on city streets. She pestered her Mother Superior, an act of courage in itself, for permission to help. With $5 and - depending on your take on oral history - this blessing or caution, "If the work is God's will, it will continue," the sisters opened New York Foundling.

While the New York Foundling has relocated many times in its extraordinary 139-year history, it continues to be a leader in the care of children whose families struggle with poverty and illness.

Foundling's now mostly lay staff carry forward the sisters' mission of hope for children and a much-needed second chance for the parents and extended families who love them.

Former associate executive
director, New York Foundling