When I attended OLL, there wasn't a convent next to the Church building.
The Nuns walked from a house off of ENY Avenue (near the Lutheran Hospital) to the school. The lot next to the Church was a garden where Fr. Capobianco or Fr. Russo would be seen pacing the path, reading their daily Office. Looking at the Convent building on that site, it appears to have more rooms than the number of Nuns who taught at the school in the "30s and '40s. How many Nuns were there before the decline in Parish population?
Also, when was the Convent erected?
That's a good question. I often wondered about that also. I graduated in 1958 and lived on Powell St. down the block from the convent next to the little chapel which may or may not had been the original church. I was in the convent many times, helping the nuns with chores or attending afterschool homework hour for those whose parents worked. For as many nuns as there were, there were not that many bedrooms in that small house. I thought the new convent was quite large and was there something else besides quarters. I also remember the rose garden which it is now on and how the girls would sit there and eat their lunch.
Our Lady of Loreto was originally located on Wyona St. & Liberty Ave.
In 1896 it relocated to Powell St. into an old Salvation Army building. It remained on Powell St. till 1908.
The congregation grew so big that the Italians started to go to Our Lady of the Presentation Church on St. Marks Ave. However, the Italians were not welcomed at Our Lady of the Presentation Church which was prominently Irish and German. Father Vincent Sorrentino who was pastor of Lady of Loreto at the time decided to build a larger church to accommodate his congregation.
The land on Sackman St. was purchase from Pietro Cesare Alberti of Venice, known during the Dutch colonial days as Pieter Cesar Alburtus. Alberti and has been documented by the American Italian Historical Society as being the first Italian to settle in New Netherlands. (New York)
Constructed began on Sackman St. in 1906 and was completed in 1908.
You can see a picture of the church when it was on Powell St. on the OLL website.
The Convent was originally on Powell St. behind Lutheran Hospital. The church was also located on Powell St. till 1908.
The new Convent next to the church on Sackman St. was built between 1964 - 1967.
I believe the Convent building had two windows for each room for the Nuns. It looks bigger then it appears. There was also a kitchen and a large dinning hall and day room and showers and a storage room.
Jul 29, 2011 - 9:04AM
Re: OLL Convent
Thanks Donny for the the history. I remember my Mom and Dad telling us that parents whose children attended OLL had to make payments/contribue (set amount) each month towards the building fund for the convent. That, I believe, occurred in the early 60s.
Thank you Donny, Genevieve and Grace for your most interesting replies.
I'm always amazed how "out of the loop" I was growing up in Brownsville.
I was not aware of any unwelcoming attitudes towards the Italian community on the part of the Presentation parishioners. We had no problems of the sort when we moved to the Bushwick section and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. They had Italian, Irish, German, Polish and a few Blacks attending Mass and School. Maybe I was just naive, but we all got along quite well. By that time I was in High School. As teenagers, almost all of us got along very well. The only point of contention that I remember was our allegiance to the Dodgers, Giants or Yankees. We had a mixed bunch in that respect.
Thanks again everyone.
Joe Di Mento, OLL, Jan. 46
I remember in the 50's the parents of the school children as well as the other parishioners donating to the refurbishing of the church making it one of the most beautiful churches in Brooklyn. There were plaques by the front door with the names of the donors. Some donating stained glass windows and statues in honor of their loved ones. In 1956 0r 57 I remember 8th graders had to attend mass every morning before school and have breakfast at Zollo's luncheonette if we could afford it. Many brought something from home and ate in the auditorium. The masses were held in the church basement for some time because of the work going on in the church.
By the way. Another reason the Italians were not welcomed at Our Lady of the Presentation Church was because there was a Language barrier.
The Italians migrated from Italy and did not speak English. Our Lady of Loreto was an Italian speaking church.
Genevieve Sciara (Perna)
Jul 29, 2011 - 1:45PM
Re: OLL Convent
I lived on Powell St on the block of the old church but I didn't know the original one was on Wyona and Liberty. When I met my husband his grandmother told me that she was married in OLL but I wondered if this was possible. They came here in the late 1800's from Sicily and married at he age of 15 and 16. They lived on Jerome and Glenmore and I wondered how they could have gotten married at OLL which without cars was quite some distance back then. There had to be a closer church. I thought I hadn't heard correctly with the language difference but now Wyona and Liberty explains a lot. Thanks
Donny, Good Point. However, were the Germans and Irish not having language problems? My immigrant parents (from Sicily) didn't have any trouble communicating with English speakers. In fact, my mother and most of our Italian neighbors did their shopping on Belmont Avenue, where most of the push-cart owners were from Eastern Europe. It certainly was an interesting time, now that I think of it.
So. . .anything new concerning the Church and Convent buildings?
Jerome and Glenmore is only 7 blocks for Wyona St. and 19 blocks from Powell. St. Not much of a walk.
Genevieve Sciara (Perna)
Jul 29, 2011 - 5:24PM
Re: OLL Convent
Joe, It really was an interesting time with many different cultures. My cousins and I were just talking about this . On Saturday my mother, aunts, cousins and I would shop on Pitkin Ave. eat chinese go to confession and moms would make the sauce for the next day. On Sunday we'd go to mass stop at Pellegrino"s on the way home, then go shopping on Belmont Ave and buy Knishes and pickles and come home and eat our macaroni and meatballs and cannoli. Amazing not many people needed Tums back then. Oh I forgot. Grandpa used Brioschi. Ha Ha
Good one, Genevieve.. We all pretty much did the same things. Sundays were when my parents' old friends from Sicily would visit and have dinner. Magnificent food and listening to stories about the old country.
Ahh! Pellegrino's. I remember that pastry shop well. We enjoyed their lemon ices that they sold out of a window on the street on hot summer days. That was ENY Avenue, across from the Troise furniture store. My last memory of Pellegrino's was while I was home on a 30 day leave from the AirForce. 1951.
I felt like a stranger with all the new faces in the store.
The pledges were in the 50's to renovate the church. My family had to pledge $100 (a lot in those days) but it was in installments. When the nuns walked pass our house (above Miranda's Beer) they would ring our bell and ask mom if we girls could go and help clean the convent (then on Powell St.). My sister and I would have to polish the banisters, the pews in their chapel, hang out their garments, etc. It was so not fun.
It is blistering hot today in New York and so I guess a lot of us are sitting by our air conditioners and computers and obviously walking down memory lane. Perhaps it is hot and humid where Donny and Joe live also. I would feel left out if I did not join in this conversation. Like Gen and Joe I also lived on the Brownsville side of town. I also walked home via East New York Ave. and down Powell Street to reach my home on Liberty(corner of Sackman). I chose that route because like Gen and Carolyn I also spent many hours at the convent on Powell. My sister and I volunteered to help the nuns. I also recall polishing and cleaning, altho I do not know what or why we were cleaning because the place was immaculate. It always had a distinct, sweet,nutmeg smell, which til this date I still can conjure up that pleasurable odor. One day the school principal asked me and Michael Carrano, a friend and fellow classmate (presently a Monsignor in the Bklyn. Queens diocese) to assist her in washing down the stoop of the convent. Since she was thin, frail and old, we asked her to stay inside and offered to do the job ourselves. We eagerly carried out pails of soapy water, and brooms and began to get down to business. Mother Philomena(that was her name)insisted on doing this job with us. She slipped on the soapy water and landed on her head. Michael and I at first laughed hysterically as her black veil was flying all over the place, but then soon realized the seriousness of the problem, as she did hurt herself. I don't recall going back there again to help out. And poor Michael suffered guilt for quite sometime thinking it was his fault. I could go on and on but this note is way too long. It is great to walk down memory lane with you, and yes the fun, warmth, love we all experienced gave us a good basis for our adult life. And while we were all predominantly Italian, I think, for me, growing up in the Brownsville section of "our old neighborhood" and shopping with my mom on Pitkin and Belmont gave me an appreciation for cultural diversity which I welcome and cherish today.
Mary Ann, I can't tell you how grateful I am to be living in the San Diego area during the heat and humidity you are experiencing in the East. Right now, the temperature is 84 degrees with a most delicious breeze coming from the Pacific Ocean.
Going back in time to my eighth grade, I remember helping Sr.M. Virgilius and Sr.M. Donat carry some books to the old convent. My reward, both times was a gigantic navel orange which I brought home. My mother gave me a lecture about taking rewards for helping the Sisters. She would tell me I should help whenever asked because it was the thing to do. I know that some people had bad experiences in later years, but my generation had the highest regard and respect for the Nuns and Priests of that era.
Just thought you would like to know that Sr.Virgilius is still with us and living at the sisters n.h. here in tenafly....Sr.Donnitt did pass away at least i would say about 10 years ago.i now live in englewood n.j. and a couple of minuites from the sisters........when the the convent closed in 1990's there were 10 sisters and of course all were transfered because of the closing of the school...it was a beautiful building and well deserved for them.
My thanks for your response and the news that Sr. Virgilius is still with us.
I can't imagine how old she must be, since I have just had my 80th birthday in June. Since I was 14 when I graduated OLL and she was my 8-B teacher. She must have been in her 20s, then, when she was my last teacher there.
Do you have the Tenafly address? I have good memories of that lady. Of course with all the students that passed through her classes, I doubt that she remembers me. Still I'd like to send a card. How is her health?
Victor, we all have memories of the wonderful nuns at OLL. Since you are fortunate to live so close to the retirement home, it would be great to take pictures of the sisters who taught at OLL. All of us who visit this site I am sure would welcome it.