Earlier this week, I visited St. Agatha Home in Nanuet moments after the bell tower was removed from the top of the Little Flower House, which was one of the first buildings built on the campus. It was an emotional moment for many, like Kevin Donahue, who has been working on the campus for 31 years. After all, the he and many members of the alumni association had been working to save bits and pieces of their former campus ever since they found out it was going to be sold to the Nanuet school district. I wrote a short story on it.
While there, I took a ride with Donahue to a grassy plot of land on Duryea Lane where the group hopes to construct a museum from the bell tower. On that bare hill, Donahue and another member, Victor Castro, shared fond memories of adolecent mischief. They reminisced about the former dump where they would find interesting knick-knacks and the adjacent grassy slope on which they would roll down in garbage cans. And that’s not all.
“There were many a clandestine meeting with members of the opposite sex near this dump,” Castro said with a chuckle.
In the coming months, members said they planned to restore the bell tower and that they would prepare to move it to the top of the hill once other buildings on the campus were demolished. Many well-known people who live in Rockland County grew up at St. Agatha’s, according to members, and they hope those people will preserve and share those memories on their web site’s guestbook, which can be found at www.stagathahome.org.
After the story ran on August 7, I received an e-mail from a woman named Anne, who said she will greatly miss St. Agatha Home. She said:
“I spent 7 yrs. at St. Agatha’s from 43 to 50 and I must say my only place of solace while there was the chapel. For awhile I even worked in the dormatory [sic] where the cables held the bell so it’s a very sad thing to know that the home is no more but I’m so happy the bell could be saved. It was a symbol of peace for me and for many of us who were raised there, our spirits will always be with what was good about the home.”
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