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St. Leonard's

- Gary B. - Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 : goo

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Born at (before it was a medical center} in , I went to School on Melrose St. before it was closed a few years before the church. I was an altar boy here for the last 6 years before the church closed. Father Wilkinson and Father Frank were awesome. I was also in the Cub Scouts here, Pack 208. I remember they used to have a Bazaar in the auditorium below the church. This church was located on . & . and it such a beautiful place for me, I used to ring the bells on Sunday all day long. This church had one of those bell towers that lifted you about 15 feet off the ground when you pulled the bell rope. For many years I wanted to see the inside of it after it closed and never could. It had an amazing pipe organ, the architecture inside was breathtaking. There was just so much to this church, I never understood why it was closed. It was used in the Michael Keaton movie 'One Good Cop'. They Highlight the old too. I was shocked when I went home in 2001 and found an empty space where the church used to be. These were the only pictures I have of it.


, ,

This article has been viewed 42137 times in the last 6 years

Tony: 17th Dec 2009 - 04:22 GMT

I went here in the 60s and remember Wilkinson and Frank Mohoney.
They were OK but some of those nuns were out of their minds. Those nuns beat and abused students wile Wilkinson did nothing. As a matter of fact Wilkinson and people at Rockville Center hid then married off some of those nuns when the cops came around.
Sister Georgette was a violent mental case
The school and church closed because all the people in charge running it were crazy.

I did sneak up to see that pipe organ it was amazing and the only fond memory spending 4 years in that asylum

Tony: 17th Dec 2009 - 04:34 GMT

The school is still there looks exactly the same as it did in 1969 however its covered in black bars, steel and locks

Gary B.: 17th Dec 2009 - 20:27 GMT

I agree with ya Tony, the nuns were total psycho's. But the church was amazing...I went to St. Francis after they closed St. Leonards down, and it wasn't as bad but also rough when it came to discipline. Didn't know about about marrying off the nuns though... kinda funny actually.

upfromflames: 17th Dec 2009 - 22:18 GMT

I cant thank you enough for posting these photos. I have only very old photos of it, so its important to see it at that point--before it was ripped down to make way for mixed income housing--St. Leonard Scalabrini Houses.

Cathy: 18th Dec 2009 - 03:45 GMT

Wow, seeing those photos is a real treat. I went to St. Leonard's in the 60s, too. While the nuns were too strict, I wouldn't exactly call them crazy. But the meanest of all was the principal. My knees would shake at the thought of being sent to her office, which I once was. However, Sister Claudia took pity on me when I cried hysterically (I was crying for my life) & gave me a reprieve. Ah, the good ol' days.

Tony: 18th Dec 2009 - 08:52 GMT

There was a stretcher in that principals office Cathy.
What year were you in 3rd grade ?
Yikes Those nuns were beating the girls too...this I didnt know.
There were many incidents I will tell you my last
I wouldn't cry so Claudia hit me in the face with a wooden stick. I pushed my way out of her office, down the steps & ran home and told my grandfather.
(I had a black starting eye by then)
He ran up there and gave them hell, it was my last day of catholic school.

BTW my mother (hers names Mary L) taught afterschool religious instruction and earned a 3rd grade teaching position in that asylum around 1968-69.
The nuns & principal tortured her as well. I remembered they would come into her classroom with this "Super Big Cheese Nun" plop down in the back and stair her down.

When they going after me hard she had no choice but to quit.
Its believed those German Dominican nuns hated the Italians that were dominating the area by the 1960
The only normal nun IMO was Sister Melonie I think she bailed and got married.
-my real name is Joe BTW

Cathy: 18th Dec 2009 - 18:55 GMT


I'm shocked; well, not exactly. Sr. Claudia hitting you in the face; especially with a wooden stick AND all because you wouldn't cry is horrible. She was always one of the nuns with whom I was hot & cold. She was okay some days but others . . . I had her in 3, 5th & 6th & she was the only nun who hit me. I had Sr. Edward John in 2nd grade & she was an angel. But check this out, I know of one nun (not sure of her name but I think it was Bernadette) who wound up getting married but no children. I'm pretty sure I had her in 1st grade ('63) & she was neither cruel nor kind; which, for that school, was pretty good.

Kudos to your grandfather for putting them in their place. He did the right thing. I never really told my parents about the violence till years later, when I moved out to Long Island. We just didn't tell our parents stuff back then. My first day of public school felt like I was on another planet. They even called me "Cathy" which was forbidden in St. Leonard's.

Well, we survived. I've still got some issues but overall, I'm the stronger for it. I left in Feb of '69 in 6th grade.

I'm thinking about the Italian thing . . . I'm Italian & I'm just wondering if maybe you're on to something. Hmmmmm


Anon: 18th Dec 2009 - 19:09 GMT

German and Italian? Just imagine what they'd think of the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans that would make up the huge majority of their classes today??

Peter: 18th Dec 2009 - 19:42 GMT

yep, that bodega is still there on the southwest corner of wilson and jefferson... but the rest of that block looks so much different now...

thanks for these photos, for sure.

Joe: 18th Dec 2009 - 22:04 GMT

Anon--At he time Puerto Ricans and Dominicans couldnt get into the school no matter what.
I'm gonna tell you guys a story:
I'm warning here this is a really bad one

There was black kid 'Little George" he was the nicest guy.
He started having strange problems and the nuns would call him a clown an repeatedly smash his head against the blackboard--Bang -Bang -Bang leaving scalp oil marks on the board. I HAD IT one day and pulled George away from Sr.Georgette beating him in the hallway.
(that relates to the above post where I got sent to the princapals where Claudia tried to "break me" by hitting me in the face with something like a 1X2 wrapped in black tape )

On day in my mothers classroom (3rd grade) little George started screaming "My eyes - My Eyes" My mom wouldn't let the nuns near near him and called for an ambulance. Well-- it turned out George had a brain tumor.

Some 2 weeks later Local kids and Georges family had to ring all the doorbells on George street to find my mother and tell her George died, the nuns didn't say a peep at school.
--It was as if the guy didnt exist.
I remember this like it was yesterday, My Grandfather I were watching the Met's win the World series (1968 ?) feet from the door.
Countless non German kids must have been given ADD, assorted learning and social disorders at that school from having to be on the defensive from being attacked all day long

Cathy: Apparently the nuns beat the boys in front of the classroom or hallway, apparently the girls were beaten behind closed doors in the principals office out of view.
Public school was like being on another planet--more then another planet.
Public Schools you could talk to girls.
Science class was real interesting ! Lightbulbs, battery's, test tubes, Astronomy, Chemistry


Cathy: 19th Dec 2009 - 20:45 GMT


Reading about George has left me astonished. The logical conclusion one would draw from your account is that the nuns -- if not directly, but certainly in a contributatory manner -- killed that poor boy. That's more than contemptible. How could that have been allowed to take place? Was it because most of us DIDN'T tell our parents of the brutality? And being cognizant of this, the nuns had free reign without fear of reprisal? I don't know but I'm disgusted. Do you remember George's last name?

Does your mother ever talk about it?


Joe: 20th Dec 2009 - 22:51 GMT

We DIDN'T tell our parents of the brutality and all the cap because the Nuns told us WE were wrong, in shame and were committing bad sins.
We thought our parents we be ashamed of us and we would get in worse trouble
At the time we were brought up to respect the church.
Interesting fact my Grandfather and most the Italians from the "old country" never trusted them and only went to church on weddings and funerals. I'm sure you noticed this

George's last name?
I asked my mom: She says there is an old bag in the basement closet she's never went near since 1970 some names and stuff should be in it

Cathy: 21st Dec 2009 - 00:52 GMT


You are so right. We really were so innocent & impressionable. Okay, so maybe we misbehaved a little, but I swear, the worst thing I remember doing is talking during class. And for that I was lifted out of my seat by my uniform, thrown into the hallway, and banished to the principalís office. I was very skinny, so it was no great feat of strength by Sister Claudia, believe me. She tossed me like a basketball.

Then I remember another time when I brought this cool gold-tinted metal ruler to school that my father gave me. When it dropped it made a tinny sound. Well, needless to say I dropped it a couple of times & she said, ďCatherine, thatís it.Ē She had that fury in her eyes & told the whole class to line up & for me to bring the ruler to her. We had to hold our knuckles out for a pretty hefty whack. Of course, she reserved her most forceful strike for me, which I felt I deserved. But I couldnít believe she hit the whole class. It was unnecessarily cruel, as they didnít do a thing. Yeah, she didnít hold back when she felt the need to punish.

There were other incidents but I just have to mention this one, as it didnít involve hitting. If you remember, we had lavatory times. It was kind of a break for us, so, we didnít exactly rush back to class. One day I was the last to leave the lavatory. She was already gunning for me. I guess I got on her nerves. She greeted me with a suspiciously broad smile, as I entered the classroom. She then said, ďCatherine, since you seemed to take so much time in the lavatory today, you are not permitted to use it again. Ever.Ē Iím telling you, I canít make this stuff up. I was in the third grade & for weeks Iíd run home. No, Iíd SPRINT home. Holding your urine for all those hours was no easy feat. One day, I just didnít make it. I rang the bell for my mom to buzz me in & as I waited the 10 seconds or so, just couldnít hold it in. You could imagine my shame & fear explaining to my mom that at almost 9 years old, I had an accident. I had to come clean with her. She only yelled at me for NOT telling her & then she phoned the school. Sister Claudia was forced to reinstate my lavatory privileges. But I went a good 2-3 weeks having to hold it for the entire school day. Unpleasant & distracting, to say the least.

Youíre also on the money about our Italian grandparents. I never realized it till you said it. They had that innate intelligence. Our parents didnít know better. They felt they were giving us an advantage with parochial education. And I wonít lie, I did learn; I was even an honor student. But you know what? Iíd go to school with butterflies in my stomach. It wasnít paranoia. Nosiree, it was well-founded fear. But you already know that.


Anon: 21st Dec 2009 - 06:34 GMT

Reading this is making me sick. At St.John prep I was let to believe this stuff was an urban legend created by the movie industry. The Catholic Church needs to let people marry like they did originally. Thats why those nuns went nuts.... from frustration.

Another Anonymous (different from above): 21st Dec 2009 - 17:02 GMT

I had identical experiences, with some of the same people named. I will not name names or get into details here, as I feel there's no need, but let me say that anyone who thinks that the endless physical and psychological abuse that happened at St. Leonard's is the stuff of "urban legend", you are sadly mistaken. I experienced it first-hand, and it has adversely affected me all the days of my life.

I am really glad to hear other classmates speaking out here. There must me hundreds if not thousands of us out here. Some of us suffered unspeakable, sickening things there.

It is time for us to speak up.

Cathy: 21st Dec 2009 - 20:55 GMT


Urban legend is certainly not the case regarding my experience at St. Leonardís. I didnít set out to relate these incidents; however, thereís something cathartic about doing so. I have to thank Joe for that. Hey, Iím a well-adjusted adult. But this is more in spite of those nuns, rather than because of them.

Anonymous: Yes, there IS no need to go into details, but it can provide some respite. I hope the adverse effects from which you suffer can somehow be diminished in knowing that it wasnít anything about you specifically, but merely due to your being a student at that school.


Joe: 21st Dec 2009 - 22:25 GMT

Anonymous and the 1000's of others

Dont let those abominable bastards hinder the rest of your life. You did nothing wrong. This thread is PROOF !
Thats the only thing that counts now.

It took me till age 25-30 to realize this (and that was to long)

The good side is because I couldn't take a regular job behind a desk, have a boss or office (because of these savages) i did something else.
I simply became an a rock musician and actor, I had lots of fun and made $$. I even lived in Hollywood off Muholland and Outpost
These days I live in in Plandome and Southold servicing marine electronics during summer.
To this day I refuse to wear a collard shirt, or any cloth form of uniform
(with exception of a my Red primp daddy suit with my local band on Halloween)
We play R&B 70's stuff around Long Island and Queens

I never did marry, Got sacked 2X since I refused to go through the all the B.S with the church. I haven't been to a mass since 1976 and remember nothing about religion.
No kids...Id rather just visit others from what I see today anyway.

-Joe :)

Theresa T.: 22nd Dec 2009 - 00:01 GMT

I came here with this comment because a friend of mine, who posted above, told me about this page and what was going on here. I am not a regular on this web-page, so forgive my intrusion.

I came to this page to tell you, the world, about my experiences with Sister Georgette. She took me into a private vestry room on more than one occasion, had me strip and did unspeakable things to me. More than 40 years later, I still bear scars across my chest and belly and private area from where she beat me, switched me, pounded me with her ring and from where she forced objects against (and into) me.

I told my mother. Looking back, I am proud of my mum that she took it to Wilkinson and mentioned it. However, what I am NOT proud of is how Wilkinson explained to her that it was the "Way of God" and intimidated her, for whatever reason, into thinking that I had done something to earn such physical and mental abuse. I was 9 years old, for God's sake. My mother was a very ignorant, overly religious woman. I never was religious strictly because of what was done to me, to my mind, body and soul at this house of horrors, may the record show that this place was pure evil. The greatest blessing God Himself ever gave to Bushwick was absolutely wiping this den of abuse from the face of Brooklyn.

These are things I've never even told my husband of over 20 years. Cathartic indeed, Cathy. My head hs been pounding all day since first seeing this series of comments. I didn't even know what to say or think having stuffed memories of this abuse for so long. But I knew I had to say something and now I have. Finally. An irreversible lifetime later.

And I had to say something. I simply had to. Here. I know some of you others. I know what happened. I hope that others will be willing to come forward and tell their stories so that the world will know. Not for any reason, just so that they will know and hoping this sort of thing doesn't ever have to happen any more to such wonderfully happy, innocent boys and girls by such evil demons working under the oversight of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Cathy: 22nd Dec 2009 - 02:05 GMT


I canít tell you how revolted I was after reading your post. My God, the horrors you endured. My heart aches for that young girl. And it aches for you now. Thereís no doubt about it: Sister Georgette was beyond wicked. I hope sheís still alive & reading this. My trials seem marginal compared to what you went through. I truly hope that sharing it has somehow lessened the consequences of this unimaginable nightmare.

Theresa, youíve done a brave thing. And to think I was hesitant to tell of my lavatory incident. As for being an ďirreversible lifetime laterĒ I disagree. Okay, so we canít slip into a time machine & confront these nuns, but we CAN set the record straight. Each person who reads this is now privy to the atrocities. And those people will share it with others. All is not in vain.

Iím reeling from all this. From your experience, from the othersí, from Georgeís.

We all deal differently with our past.

Joeís managed to avert anything remotely related to Catholic school: uniforms; authoritative figures; and even, sadly, religion. But it appears heís living a full, satisfying life.

While Anonymous still suffers from adverse effects every day -- maybe, just maybe -- this dialogue can provide a springboard from which to heal.

Some victims will never discuss it; instead pushing it deeper into a dark place, as if to deny its very existence. Thatís what you did. But it worked to some degree for awhile. Who am I to judge how to best handle those dreadful memories? I can only do what works for me. And what exactly IS that? Well, for one, I acknowledge it. I consider that while some of these perpetrators may have been evil; others were just sheep. They merely followed orders, even when their hearts told them it was wrong. They were cowards. I forgive them for what they did to me. I donít forgive them for what theyíve done to the rest of you. Not you. Not Joe. Not George. Not any other victim.

How I differ from you, Joe & probably many of the others is that I have been able to maintain a very strong belief in God. I canít remember a time when I didnít. I donít attend church much any more, but I did have various stretches when I did. I donít rule out that I will again attend periodically, if not regularly. Iíve never blamed God for what occurred. In fact, I thank Him each & every day for my faith because frankly, I couldnít imagine not having it. It shores me up & keeps me strong & always optimistic. I hope this doesnít offend any of you but I will pray for you every day. We are kindred spirits.


Cathy: 22nd Dec 2009 - 03:04 GMT

ďHistory, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.Ē Maya Angelou

anon ( 23rd Dec 2009 - 05:48 GMT

Whoa ---another thread (with more photos)on this house of horrors here
Content Warning !;action=display;threadid=19113

Gary B.: 30th Dec 2009 - 16:07 GMT

Ihave to say that I went to school at St. Leonards, and I even though I did get slapped out of my chair once in a while, I knew there was a lot more going on. I would have to say I went there from 1972-75 or something. Because I started 4th grade at St Francis in 1976. But I was in Miss. Jones' class and one day (I forgot why), she was coming at me with a yardstick and I held her and that drunk ass Sister Marilyn at bay in the classroom with a pointy compass!!! They weren't getting me. I got taken down by Mr. Lavanco, I think but I made a run for it out of the school. They never messed with me after that. I thonk I may have some class pictures so I will post them soon and let youz see if you recignize anyone.

However, I was the lead altar boy in the church for many years, and don't really have any bad things to say about Father Wilkinson or Mahoney. They treated me fine. I am full blooded Puerto Rican, but have I have a German last name. Brugman. They both let me run amuck about the church. I had the spare keys to the church and would explore everywhere. The boiiler room in this place was MASSIVE!!! it also had a room where there were dozens of HUGE ols statues of Christ and other saints that had been there for decades according to the amount of dirt on them. Everywhere you looked in this chhurch there was something new to see. In the back, where the candles were, if you looked underneath the candles all the way to the wall, there was an sculpture, or an engraving in the wall of these people burning in hell and reaching up in agony to the angels that were floating above them pouring water on them. No one can deny, this was an amazing stucture. The school, that was another story, that was a house of horror. But this church is where I first got close to God, and I loved it. I borrowed dome pictures from another one of Pete's sites... hope tou dont mind.
If I did this right, the last pic shows just how amazing this church was. I hate to think of the things that went on inside of it while it was locked down for so many decades.
Please continue posting.


Gary B.: 30th Dec 2009 - 16:10 GMT

Lets try this again...
image 37585
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image 37587

Cathy: 30th Dec 2009 - 19:06 GMT


Thanks for your perspective, as well as the photos. Yours was a curious experience. You showed those crazies, alright. But realize, this was anywhere from 3 to 9 years after the rest of us (who posted) were violated. I believe there was somewhat of a mellowing of discipline; perhaps due to the reporting of these cruel offenses. I mean, Theresaís mother, Joeís grandfather & my mother couldnít have been the only ones to speak out in defense of the students. So, even though their (the evil ones) actions went largely unpunished, I guess collectively, those reports had some effect.

I relished the recounting of your alter boy days. I, too, loved that church. It instilled such intense emotion in me. I had both passion and reverence for it. It was absolutely beautiful. Despite the way we were treated in school, that church held much spirituality for me. Your description of the hidden engravings & undisplayed statues only underscores the religious ambiance.

Gary, you, like I, have been able to separate my souls from what the nuns engendered. We are very lucky in that we have God. I wish this was true for the others.

Hey, Iíd love to see any other pics of St. Leonardís, including class pics. It was such an impressionable period of our lives. Besides, Iím a nostalgia nut.


Joe: 3rd Jan 2010 - 07:00 GMT

Gary do you know what was up in those little dormer windows in the roof. I always wondered if they were dummies with stained glass, rooms, storage, simple secret service tunnel or catwalk up there.
The highest I could sneak up was this staircase to the side the pipe organ (found a little table, chair whiskey bottle).
I remember the huge basement, where bazaars were held, large red painted belt driven fans in the windows. I think it had a large stage like many of the Bushwick theaters of the time.

Those old statues may have been left over from when it was a German church ages ago according to my mom

Vickie: 22nd Jan 2010 - 17:05 GMT

I lived on Jefferson St in the 60's.
The same block as St. Leonards. I remember Father (twinkle toes Mahoney)> Always thought he was gay. Did not attend ST Leonards school. Children of divorced parents were't allowed. Most of my friend attended ST L. I always felt left out. I guess is was a blessing. Went to PS 145 and JHS 111. Trying to hook up with old friends from the neighborhood.

Vickie: 23rd Jan 2010 - 20:06 GMT

I had a friend Iris on George or maybe your thinking of Angie, and Lucille who lived on Melrose. I have an older brother Dominick. Does that ring a bell. you can email me at A bunch of us are planning a reunion on March 20th. Maybe you can make it.

Marlene Caratelli: 30th Mar 2010 - 16:51 GMT

I went to the school from 1957-1965. Most of the nuns were violent.Father Ernie was the pastor.The church was so huge and was always cold and dark.When I graduated I refused to go to catholic high school.I didn't even marry in a catholic church.My experience was frightening there.

CHARLES GIANNONE: 13th Apr 2010 - 14:51 GMT


Angelo D: 18th Apr 2010 - 06:07 GMT

The people that were in charge of this churgh were all nomad crazy, the people in charge of the school (mostly angry fustrated nuns) were even worse.
The Catholic church should let priests and nuns marry again like they did in the past and end this insanety. No child shoud have to go through what happened behind those walls.
Our parents thaught they were doing a good thing, I learned NOTHING BUT HATE thanks to these mother**krs. All the storys above,the beatings, making kids pee there pants are true.
The catholic church can kiss my a** !

To "Charles" be glad you didnt go to this hellhole, the kids werent snobish. The nuns did such a piece of work on all those kids minds they were scaired to death to look or talk to anybody.

Maria: 24th Apr 2010 - 04:34 GMT

How terrible it must have been for all those innocent little children to be subjected to such horrible treatment at the hands of those psycho nuns. What order did they belong to, anyway? I attended St. Joseph's School a few blocks away on Wilson & Suydam for 2 years (and know quite a few people who attended for the full 8 years) and they & I have nothing but pleasant memories of sweet, kind nuns who cared about us. I remember once, when I was 5 years old and had an "accident", Mother Hedwig, the principal, held me in her arms and told me not to cry, everything would be fine. They were Dominican nuns (Order of St. Dominic).
I only hope that all of you who had those terrible experiences were able to somehow deal with the emotional (and physical) scars. The one thing I am certain of is, that from those experiences you never again accepted authority without question. I did attend St. Matthias school (in Ridgewood) for 5 years and I remember the 8th grade nuns would smack some of the boys around, but not the girls. That stuff would NEVER happen today. You all have my sincerest sympathy for what you went through.

Joe: 18th May 2010 - 14:06 GMT

What order were the nuns?
After this hell hole I had nothing to do with religion
The ones with the long hats atop the cardboard tubes, --Dominicans ? Some of the older worse crazys also also had something to do with some operation in Ridgewood near Catalpa and Fresh Pond road. (By the triangle and the old German school)

Ann: 15th Jun 2010 - 02:46 GMT

I think it is a shame what happened to St. Leonard's Church. It was a beautiful church. I wanted to show my son where I grew up and took a drive down Jefferson Street. That was a life changing moment. Boy, have things changed. I didn't even recognize anything about it. I had a wonderful experience growing up there and attending St. Leonard's. Time goes by too fast.

BILLY.C : 20th Jun 2010 - 06:40 GMT

I had lived on Jefferson St, in the 50's 60's 70's. I went to St Leonard's church on Sunday's. My friends the twins went to St Leonard's school, the nuns were the victims; the twins drove them crazy. I had great time playing basketball for St Leonard's church. To bad the church is gone.

Joe: 7th Aug 2010 - 10:53 GMT

Lots of peeple hurt here.
We cant change the past but we can close it. Hows a private ceramony (us) followed by some small party at a certain location ?
Thr bastards that be are all dead by now be WE ARE NOT--

Carm: 9th Aug 2010 - 22:28 GMT

I attended St. Leonards from 1961 - 1963. Father Ernie was the pastor, and I recall Sister Michael Bernadette as my Grade one teacher, and Sister Edward John was my grade 2 teacher. I don't recall the Principal's name, though I should as I was very intimidated by her. I remember one incident when she grabbed my arm, and pulled me out of line because I did not wear my rain hat. I was so nervous and scared. Perhaps that is why my grades were always an A, and God forbid I received a B. There is much to say about the discipline we received, and I don't feel it was abusive or bad. In fact, it would benefit many youngsters today if discipline, respect and dignity were instilled in them.

Susan V.: 10th Aug 2010 - 05:28 GMT

I went to St. Leonard's from about 1958-1963. There was a time in my adult life that every time I saw a nun I wanted to go up to her and kick her in the ass! lol. I remember my first day and witnessing my first abuse to a poor kid who wouldn't stop crying in church before school. About 5 or 6 nuns hauled him out of the church and you could hear the screaming, a half hour later he walked back in like an angel.

There were two black girls that were sisters in my class and I remember them always being targeted for any little thing. One of them was chewing gum so the nun (don't remember her name) made the poor girl sit in the trash can with the gum on her nose for all to look at. How humiliated I was for them. After that sitting in the trash can was their particular punishment both of them would receive. I would take them home to my house (263 Melrose) because they were nice girls and I felt bad for them.
I remember one of the boys had masking tape on his mouth and the trash can deal more than once. After hours went by Sister M. Hagdeline would tear the masking tape off his lips with some of the skin 2 days in a row! Boy, that's got to hurt.
I was lucky enough to sit next to a girl who had some learning problems (who needed special schooling) and was so afraid she would pee herself everyday.
This boy, Nunzio made the mistake of telling a joke and got the crap slapped out of him.....ahh the good old days. Me, I was a daydreamer and S. Mary would sneak up and smack me blindsided. I was the 2nd smallest kid in the class, for Christ sake!!
The rulers were unusually thick and used quite often on kids who had dirty hands or nails. If you didn't keep your hands out to be smacked with this ruler you guessed it, you got double whacked. Unfortunately I lived across the street from the convent and they would try and catch us kids to go to the store for them and we would run away only to be called to S. Mary Wilford's office. That's when I would pee my pants!!! I always wondered about the kids in my class. I moved away in 6th grade.
Some of the kids were, Maria, Stephanie, Angela, Louise, Patty, Walter, Nunzio, Richard. I wish we were allowed to actually talk and KNOW you's!!

Ted: 11th Aug 2010 - 23:20 GMT

Carm these is a big difference between discipline and abuse. By 1969 those nuns were crazy. Many actually wanted men, they were so frustrated they went nuts. Others were simply evil.
Those nuns literally killed a small black boy who kept falling asleep, hallucinate and drool in class.
Week after week they would repeatedly call him a clown sit him in a garbage can in the back, bang his head against blackboard, 5 to10 hard blows. One day the kid went down on the first blow and never returned to school.
Turns out that kid had a brain tumor, he died.
I think his name was George Edkins...."something"-kins
This would be 1968 right before Hurricane Camille when my parents pulled me out of the school and moved to Ridgewood down the street from PS 68.
Public school was a dream, I had never seen a science, art gym class's and hot teachers in skirts before.
I actually learned and had was amazing

Carm: 12th Aug 2010 - 20:07 GMT

Ted: I'm glad to hear everything worked out well for you. As it did for me and my sisters. My parents moved back to Toronto, Canada so we were only there for a few years. From what I've read, the discipline did get out of hand and I agree with you there is a big difference between discipline and abuse. I am so sorry for the young black boy. Was anything done about this? Did parents speak out? I, as a mother, knowing this was going on, could never not take it further and create an investigation. Glad to hear that you too were saved! So how is life in beautiful New York. We (my sisters and I) always reminisce about our younger days in Brooklyn and trips to Long Island, and New York city!

Tina: 12th Aug 2010 - 21:12 GMT

My sister Carm just e-mailed this article to me. We attended St. Leonard's in 1961 - 63. We moved back to Toronto when I was in grade 4. My teacher was Sr. Mary Magdeline. She was cold & strict. I remember I was in the washroom & I could hear a girl crying & screaming because the gr.8 nun ( I can't remember her name, she was very tall ) had her head under the sink with cold water running. The reason for this because she had come to school with her hair teased.

Susan: 25th Aug 2010 - 02:32 GMT

So sorry to hear of all the terrible things that went on in the school. My great-g-grandfather was Leonhard Eppig, church named after his son and St. Barbara's after daughter. My g-g-uncle started St. Louis Church near Nostrand Ave. I too have run across "Religious or Laity" Catholic not-Godlike people. I pray for all who have been hurt by cruel, unloving people - and ask Jesus to enter into your hearts. People will always disappoint and hurt you (I believe that they do not know what Love is and are lacking it) - Allow God to love you and ask for a personal relationship. Peace.

Patricia D.: 27th Aug 2010 - 16:36 GMT

I went to Saint Leonards and had a wonderful experience, Sister Michael Bernadette was very kind. I have been reading all the articles and cannot believe we all went to the same school. All my memories are good ones. It is so sad to see the Church all boarded up.
Whatever became of the Convent?? I remember helping out after school there.
Patricia D.

Maria: 28th Aug 2010 - 01:39 GMT

Perhaps you can tell me what order of nuns taught at the school? Thanks.

Ted: 29th Aug 2010 - 00:59 GMT

Most kids were brainwashed into not telling our parents.
One day the nuns beat the boys with bats (son's of "goodfellas" including the 108 pct captains son) that's when the s_ hit the fan bigtime.
The jis was up and the parents did speak out big, over a dozen parents stormed the school.
By the time an investigation was started whoever runs the churches (Rockville Center ?) hid and re-assigned all the bad nuns.
Some of them married (or that's what we were told)
About a year after that the Church sold off all the benches and everything closed down. My aunt has one of the 2 seat's pew's my grandparents always sat in.
That place was pure hell, id equate it to 1943.
The nuns hated the black and Italian kids they had it the worst
Leonhard Eppig would no doubt been disgusted sick to know what went on under Vatican control.
Nuns and Priests should be allowed to marry rather then have such a small pool of sick people to choose from

Patricia D.: 1st Sep 2010 - 16:17 GMT

Dear Maria,

I do not know what order the Nuns were - but will try and find out.

Still want to know what became of the Convent.

Patricia D.

Susan V.: The nuns were Dominican order.

Maria: 5th Sep 2010 - 02:03 GMT

Susan, Thanks for the info. I had Dominicans at St. Joseph's on Suydam Street (6 blocks away) and they were the kindest nuns ever! Maybe they put all the "loonies" in St. Leonard's. I couldn't believe what those poor kids went through. Too bad someone didn't put a stop to them, but years ago parents always gave the nuns (or teachers) right. If you went home & said a teacher smacked you, you got worse from your parents. That would never happen today.

Ted: 7th Sep 2010 - 06:26 GMT

They were Dominicans nuns many from Ridgewood who also taught at the German school at Catalpa @ Fresh Pond Road. (The kids in the German school were beaten worse BTW)
Same order but much different then the nuns in St.Josephs I think the only normal nun was Sister Melanie. I think she bailed when we got beat up left the church and got married

The Convent was knocked down in the early 70s soon after the school was closed. Like the church, It was a pretty amazing structure from the 1800's with lots of trees and bare native ground. It looked like the Adams Family house

Maria: 11th Sep 2010 - 02:15 GMT

Are you thinking of St. Matthias on Catalpa & Seneca? I attended St. Matthias from 3rd to 8th grade. The nuns there were School Sisters of Notre Dame. They were not an easy bunch, but not vicious. Some smacks & whacks with rulers, but nothing like the kids at St.Leonard's endured.

Ted: 13th Sep 2010 - 17:17 GMT

Not the same as the St.Matthias and St.Josephs nuns (Irish).
I don't know much about this catholic stuff.
---CORRECTION Many of the St.Leanards nuns taught at the Old German school on Cypress Hills St & Fresh Pond Road around the corner from the 104 PCT.
--By the the triangle and Salvation Army
According to my mom the SL nuns were no doubt Dominican order.
Most were German (the church changed their names)I'm pretty sure they didn't live in the convents and I know they had cars too !
Germans in 1960's Ridgewood were Catholic ?
...I know none of this makes sense right ? ...the whole organization must have been corrupt IMHO

Vic: 11th Oct 2010 - 18:10 GMT

I moved out of Brooklyn in 1972, ther use to be a priest named Bernard Rooney, from St. Leonards, I here he left the priest hood and became a Lawyer. Does anyone know if this is true and where he might be or if he is still alive???
He was my conformation sponsore in the 70"s and was trying to look him up.

Marg: 26th Oct 2010 - 21:09 GMT

Thanks for posting these pictures. I attended the school graduating in 1965. Most of the nuns were tough on the boys but Sister Kevin John ran the choir and she was really nice. Miss those choir days.

Paula Vento: 27th Oct 2010 - 01:07 GMT

My name is Paula Vento. I went to St Leonard's from 1962 -1969. My mother Lucille Vento was a 2nd grade teacher there. I have nothtng but wonderful memories. I loved every person I attended school with. The nuns were unbelievable to me!! I use to help the nuns out in the convent and I would go with St Franice Danielle to the nursing home!! I learned God's love and today I am a Christian who loves Jesus and the basis for my Christianity stems from St. Leonard's. My heart breaks for the stories I am reading!! That is not what the Lord wants you to know about Him and His love.
God Bless You ALL!!

Paula Vento: 27th Oct 2010 - 01:17 GMT

AND Vickie.... you posted a comment earlier. I think you lived across the street from me on Jefferson Street

Anon: 22nd Jan 2011 - 22:09 GMT

I remember you Paula, you also had twin sisters we lived on George street.
The nuns didn't mess with you because you mom and dad (RIP) would have kicked their butts and raised hell. The crazy nuns only physically beat on the timid easy kids.
Usually boys, Irish, Spanish and black kids. What they did with the girls was mental humiliation or yes out of sight in girls bathrooms etc.
Most kids were afraid to tell their parents because the nuns led their victims to believe they were guilty of the worst offenses and shame their families. The nuns put the fear of being beaten more at home and again in school to keep them quiet.
In 1969 the word of a Nun or priest was "WORD". The only exception was parents from the old country" Italy, they never trusted the nuns and priests Those kids and mobsters kids were left alone. The mobsters would leave warning notes in the collection plate on Sunday along with cash to insure good grades.

Anon: 22nd Jan 2011 - 22:17 GMT

Vickie: Yes Rooney got fed up, got married, had kids and became a lawyer. This happened or was on his mind pretty early possibly before 1969 according to what my mom remembers.
She is is 72 and was friends with Mrs.Vento

anon ( 23rd Jan 2011 - 13:14 GMT

Not Vickie but do you have any idea where he may have moved to? Trying to locate him if he is even still alive.
Thanks, Vic

anon ( 27th Jan 2011 - 14:46 GMT

Diocese of Brooklyn (or should I say criminals) moved hid or destroyed all the records of all the nuns and priests who were re-assigned to other places when the SH** started hitting the fan. Rooney was long gone by then, like myself I doubt he had anything to do with Religion. He was a smart guy, one of the few good ones.
If you know his first name check with the NYS Bar association

anon ( 27th Jan 2011 - 15:28 GMT

ok, thanks - Bernard was his firs name. Will give this a try when I get a chance.

anon ( 12th Feb 2011 - 15:52 GMT

Found a Bernard Joseph Rooney who was admitted to the Bar in 1974 but there is not any contact information on him. The 1974 part seems like the right time frame. Found a trail of a firm he worked for in Larchmont new York but that too was a dead end.

Salvatore Gelardi: 14th Feb 2011 - 22:06 GMT

I must admit I have read these comments with a great deal of amazement. I was an altar boy and attended St Leonards from 1960 to 1968. While I do remember that the Dominican nuns were long on discipline you did receive a good education. I do recall a few defining moments. Sister Mary Wilford almost put my lights out for speaking in hall after assembly. Another incident occured when I was almost strangled to death by the drunk Father Hudson who was sent to the Priest funny farm the next day. I did take my sons back a few years ago and found the Church and Convent totally leveled. It was quite depressing since it was a magnificient Church.

anon ( 25th Feb 2011 - 12:51 GMT

Found Rooney, spoke with him last week, was almost 40 years since we last spoke, was great. Thanks.

Milton (tony ) Padilla: 27th Feb 2011 - 21:16 GMT

I used to live 253 melrose st. Back in 1970 up to 1981 were a then moved to puerto rico i remember father mohony an frank i was a alter boy too. I would ring the bells too. It was great! Good all days by the 70' the convent was used to treat drug abusers! And went a bunch of times to the bazzar in the church

Milton (tony ) Padilla:

Roseann: 5th Mar 2011 - 21:54 GMT

I attended St. Leonard's from 1955-1962. Father Ernie was the most wonderful Priest I have ever known. The nuns were always strict, but other than a ruler across the knuckles for bad behavior, the only other punishment I was witness to, was writing the "Times Tables" between 5 and 25 times a night.That was a class punishment for talking when you were supposed to be listening. Thank you to Sister Joan Marion--I have always been great at Math.

anon ( 9th Mar 2011 - 03:49 GMT

Bushwick St Leonards reunion . some time in April. will keep you posted.


anon ( 9th Mar 2011 - 03:49 GMT

Bushwick St Leonards reunion . some time in April. will keep you posted.


steve: 12th Mar 2011 - 08:59 GMT

i went to st leaonards in the early 60s....anyone remember father ernie?....did not like the nuns at the school at all....i remember being hit on the knuckles with a rular for really no reason at all...lived down the st at 120 jefferson...

Salvatore Gelardi: 13th Mar 2011 - 16:40 GMT

Steve, I remember Father Ernie. I delievered soup from the school cafeteria to the reactory for the homeless . I lived at 258 Jefferson street right down the street from the Church.

Marg: 10th Apr 2011 - 01:44 GMT

I too remember Father Ernie. I lived at 320 Jefferson and attended '56 to '65.

Joe L: 13th Apr 2011 - 22:57 GMT

I remember Rooney, good guy. Rooney leaving that nuthouse when he did is likely why he is still around. It was the nuns and there superior old wretch that ran the school that were crazy.
My Mother was the 3rd grade & catechism teacher (Mrs.Lancia) the the nuns hated her as much as most the boys. They messed with her anyway they could including sitting in the back of a classroom and staring here down wile she was conducting class. (I'm sure some of you remember this)
She left around the same time a Rooney did and is still around as well, she will be 73.
I will check back here in a bit

anon ( 6th May 2011 - 11:30 GMT

I spoke with Rooney about a month ago, has a wife and 2 kids. He is now a retired lawyer. He lives in Larchmont New York. Was a pleasure connecting with him after all these years.

michael v: 9th May 2011 - 17:49 GMT

I was looking for photos of St Leonard,s (What a magnificent building it was)to show my son and found this page. I started there in 1965 (2nd grade)and had Sister Mary Edwards. She was pretty nice. Then I had Sister Claudia in 3rd grade. She was quite different. I remember plenty of rulers on the knuckles and the dreaded walk to Sister Mary Winfred's office but not any outright torture. Left in 1970 after finishing 6th grade to attend RFK Incentive Program at St John's Prep on Lewis Ave. I lived on Troutman St.

Charles: 10th May 2011 - 15:09 GMT

I grew up on Flushing Avenue (between Irving Ave. and Knickebocker Ave.) in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I went to St. Leonard's school until 5A, them my family moved to Queens. I remember the old school. The wooden stairs were worn down with wear. I remember being in a class of 70 students for first, second, and third grade. When the school was demolished the students were moved to make-shift classrooms in the basement of the Church and the sacristy. Classes of 60 to 70 students, all taught by Sisters of St. Dominic (O.P.) from the Amityville Community, were separated by curtains. My 4th grade class, taught by Sr. Rosemond, an infirm nun in her 70s, consisted of 60 students.The 4A group sat at desks on one side of the stage and 4B sat on the other. She taught sitting down at her desk. If you dared talk you were summoned to her desk to be beaten with her cane. Somehow I survuved. I learned then that all learning was self learning and I was smart enough to learn one of life's really important lessons - Don't let anyone or anything get in the way of the pursuit of knowledge.

Reading the horrific stories of physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse on this site brought back memories and the fear instilled at St. Leonard's.

michael v: 10th May 2011 - 17:15 GMT

Just checked and my 2nd grade teacher was Sister Edward John.

Annon: 11th May 2011 - 06:15 GMT

What still shock me the most is the churches total denial of what happened in to this place come the end of the 60's ? All these people are not making this stuff up !
I know personal friends that were left total confused basket cases that turned to drugs, crime, attention disorders. Some of those nuns installed total opposition of authority that eventually landed them in jail.
Even Rooney hasnít chimed in, Iíd GUESS he may have even represented some of these people.
I think nuns (or anybody clergy working with children) should be allowed to marry, have boyfriends etc. T

Mabeline: 29th May 2011 - 03:53 GMT

After reading all these comments of Saint Leornards Elementary I got flash backs of all the HORRORS I went through.I had long black hair and my mom would braid it,remember my pencil falling and breaking the silence in the classroom. The "BI_ CH" wraped my braid around her hand and pulled me off the chair pushed me to the floor, braid still wraped around her hand and pulled me back up and dragged me back to the chair.The year? 1968-1974. Remember Karen with a terrible cold. She asked to go to the bathroom to blow her nose and the psyco said no her across the face making her nose bleed really bad. How about the time she would stuff the smelly mac & cheeze in my mouth cause I would not eat it, to the point I threw up then she smeared the rest all over my face and everyone watching in silence.She would do this to the Puertoricans,blacks Italians. Still remember like it was yesterday.I can't stand nuns or the catholic church. Promised myself never ever put my children in catholic schools ever.Also promised myself never ever put up with abuse from ANYONE. Still remember some of my classmates like Roseann Bennetti,Gloria Flood Joann Laboy,George, Raymond, Joseph Saccomano.Teresa Saccomano Evelyn Perez Salvatore and Luis, Patricia Spencer,Briggette, Stephannie, Natalie. The HORROR NUNS? St Joans , St. Melannie Marie,St. Georgette.St. Mary.The ones I forgot was because they were not only horror nuns they were nightmares and forced myself to erace their names off my mind. You know what ? A book should be written about what happend behind those school walls and the convent when we were assigned to clean the convent on week ends.I think this could also be an OSCAR WINNING TRUE STORY MOVIE.

Mabeline: 29th May 2011 - 04:03 GMT

Does anyone know about St.Maureen? I heard she left and got married.She was really nice. She would make faces at ST.Joans when she yelled at us,then she'd crack up laughing at her when she left the room. I hope she is doing well. I guess she left cause she couldn't put up seeing the abuse on the kids and on her.

Angelo: 10th Jun 2011 - 09:38 GMT

Yeah, Maureen got fed up and was being "pushed out the window" for not going along with the program...along with Joe's mom.
Her daughter became a famous pop star, so did Joe L BTW (above)
Both of them kids were able to block it all out and did very well $$$ wise.
Im 78 I only wish I knew what was going with them nuns at the time. They scarred so many kids I feel so guilty

Joanne: 11th Jun 2011 - 06:13 GMT

Does anyone remember what year the school closed?

Joanne: 11th Jun 2011 - 06:13 GMT

Does anyone remember what year the school closed?

Joe: 17th Jun 2011 - 02:38 GMT

Not sure when the school closed but the church closed some time around 1971.
My aunt and uncle baught the bench my grandparents Always sat on Sundays, these would be the narrow 2 or 3 seaters that were off the ceiling support collums 3/4 back right as you entered. They also have some long ones.

Joe: 2nd Jul 2011 - 04:33 GMT

I visited was in Bushwick yesterday (June 30)
The School is still a school and STILL a nuthouse.

I was greeted by an armed guard who's command post as it the south door who let me peek into the stairway.
There were metal detectors, steel plate doors with heavy prison like cam locks and steel bar's all over the place. This includes the staircase skylights.
Lots of loud screaming and noise coming from the hallways.
It was at this point some middle aged woman showed up, this woman wouldn't tell me anything other then it was a "special school" and didn't want to hear about it's history. (another words I couldn't talk my way inside)
All the houses built pre 1970 on George Street are completely gone and replaced with 2 family "garden boxes"

After you tour the depressing scenes you can still have the Best good old Brooklyn Pizza on Knickerbocker and Dekalb former Joe's now "Tonys". $2 get you a HUGE HUGE regular slice fresh out the oven just as good as it was 40 years ago !!!
It seems this place concentrates on one kind of pie (the correct classic pie) so the quality and freshness is top notch. No refrigerated dried up junk !!!!

Margaret Cilla: 7th Jul 2011 - 23:40 GMT

I attended St. Leonards frm.62-70. Yes the nuns were tough and these stories may be true . I personally did'nt have any dismay but I sometimes feel that we have gotten a good Catholic upbringing with strong morals. My husband Nick and brother-in law Anthony also attended there.

Margaret Cilla: 7th Jul 2011 - 23:40 GMT

I attended St. Leonards frm.62-70. Yes the nuns were tough and these stories may be true . I personally did'nt have any dismay but I sometimes feel that we have gotten a good Catholic upbringing with strong morals. My husband Nick and brother-in law Anthony also attended there.

Sal Gelardi: 8th Jul 2011 - 20:41 GMT

Margaret, I don't know if you remember me? I lived right across the street at 258 Jeffferson Street one builing over from Nick and Anthony. If I recall correctly your dad worked at the Rheingold Brewery . I live in San Diego now and visited the old nehighborhood a month ago.My mother lives in Maspeth Queens and my brother Vinny lives in Bronxsville New York. How are you , Nick and Anthony doing? Would like to hear from you. I agree with your thoughts on Saint Leonanrd's I received a good education and did not leave mentally challenged.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 8th Jul 2011 - 23:10 GMT

Yes,Sal I remember you well, Vinny was in my class. How is your family, mom and Vinny doing? Nick and Anthony are doing great. I live in Belle Harbor,N.Y. and Anthony lives in Florida as you gather I married Nick. My brother turned me on to this site, I don't believe what people have to say about the nuns and priests I think its nonsense! We received a proper education there and the nuns were tough not abusive! keep in contact with me on Facebook.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 8th Jul 2011 - 23:10 GMT

Yes,Sal I remember you well, Vinny was in my class. How is your family, mom and Vinny doing? Nick and Anthony are doing great. I live in Belle Harbor,N.Y. and Anthony lives in Florida as you gather I married Nick. My brother turned me on to this site, I don't believe what people have to say about the nuns and priests I think its nonsense! We received a proper education there and the nuns were tough not abusive! keep in contact with me on Facebook.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 8th Jul 2011 - 23:10 GMT

Yes,Sal I remember you well, Vinny was in my class. How is your family, mom and Vinny doing? Nick and Anthony are doing great. I live in Belle Harbor,N.Y. and Anthony lives in Florida as you gather I married Nick. My brother turned me on to this site, I don't believe what people have to say about the nuns and priests I think its nonsense! We received a proper education there and the nuns were tough not abusive! keep in contact with me on Facebook.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 8th Jul 2011 - 23:10 GMT

Yes,Sal I remember you well, Vinny was in my class. How is your family, mom and Vinny doing? Nick and Anthony are doing great. I live in Belle Harbor,N.Y. and Anthony lives in Florida as you gather I married Nick. My brother turned me on to this site, I don't believe what people have to say about the nuns and priests I think its nonsense! We received a proper education there and the nuns were tough not abusive! keep in contact with me on Facebook.

Joe: 9th Jul 2011 - 20:05 GMT

Why is it the devote Irish and German Catholic defenders of the faith call everybody else liars?
That reaction is EXACTLY how those sexually frustrated sociopathic Dominican nuns got away with murder & abuse on countless Italians, Blacks and Puerto Ricans.

-Margret: "tough but not abusive" Only if you were Irish or German BUT NOT TRUE
How about MURDER? The nuns literally killed that black boy who had a brain cancer (George Atkins) Instead of calling his parents to get him medically checked out they called him ďa clownĒ constantly smacked him around, beat his hands with a paddle (Georgette)would smash his head into the blackboard.
This all happened people are NOT making this up NO WAY

Sal Gelardi: 9th Jul 2011 - 21:18 GMT

Joe ,I am am Italian American and was wacked a few times but never unconcious. I graduated in 1968 and was in the school when the the class mix represented the change in the neighborhood. I don't see in the exchange the word liar. Each of us had our own unique experience at the school. I was at the school/church all hours of the day and night and never witnessed someone having their head smashed against the wall. I myself was almost choked to death by an alcoholic priest Father Hudson at 6 a.m mass. If it wasn;t for my friend Gary Eighmey who was serving with me and Sister Mary Wilfred I proably would not be here. We all have difficult expereinces in our lives and we can chose to dwell in the past or move on. The incident with George is terrible and should have never happened. What year did his death occur? I knew a George and his family when I was a crossing guard and spoke to them at length every day. He had a form of dwarfism and was not physical well.

Sal Gelardi: 9th Jul 2011 - 21:18 GMT

Joe ,I am am Italian American and was wacked a few times but never unconcious. I graduated in 1968 and was in the school when the the class mix represented the change in the neighborhood. I don't see in the exchange the word liar. Each of us had our own unique experience at the school. I was at the school/church all hours of the day and night and never witnessed someone having their head smashed against the wall. I myself was almost choked to death by an alcoholic priest Father Hudson at 6 a.m mass. If it wasn;t for my friend Gary Eighmey who was serving with me and Sister Mary Wilfred I proably would not be here. We all have difficult expereinces in our lives and we can chose to dwell in the past or move on. The incident with George is terrible and should have never happened. What year did his death occur? I knew a George and his family when I was a crossing guard and spoke to them at length every day. He had a form of dwarfism and was not physical well.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 9th Jul 2011 - 22:58 GMT

Joe,yes I meant tough in upbringing not to the point of being abused. I along with Paula Vento and other girls helped out constantly after school and during summer break AND NOT ONCE WAS THERE EVEN AN INCIDENT OF ABUSE! I find a sense of perjurdice against Germans I myself are German-American and was treated as well as my other classmates. As far as the Little George incident I did'nt know of it so I can't comment upon it. Don't be so easy to judge if all facts don't point in that direction. And get your facts straight the nuns were German,Irish and Italian! What year did this Little George incident happen I keep in contact with alot of the alumni and want to see if they know anything.

Joe: 9th Jul 2011 - 23:00 GMT

You have the correct George, I donít remember the year 69-1970 right before that big hurricane (Cammile ?)
George was real little with dwarf like features and not well toward the end (brain cancer)
Back to the nuns"
It was around the "Summer of 69" sexual revolution the older nuns really became really violent, fustrated & crazy. They could not handel demographic & social changes going on IMO

Margaret Newman Cilla: 10th Jul 2011 - 23:48 GMT

Joe, Do you remember the incident with some kids who broke the eight-grade windows I think it happened around 1970. Who were they?

Joe: 12th Jul 2011 - 05:00 GMT

"Urban" animals from the public school a couple blocks away.
At one point St. Leonard's was talking about dismissing the school day at 2:45 to avoid clashes with the public school kids. Those awful blue "SLS" uniforms made the smaller kids an easy targets

Wayne: 12th Jul 2011 - 22:52 GMT

I went to St Leonards and I don't remember any of these stories either. I was in class with Cilla, L. Vento, J Bonnetti. I graduated in 1969. I'd like to hear from some of the old classmates.

Wayne: 12th Jul 2011 - 23:32 GMT's Wayne. How are you? I haven't heard from you in a year.
Anyone remember Fr. Lee playing the Autoharp on the steps...
Gary - are you Gary Aimee? Joe- are you Joe Cavallo?

Wayne: 12th Jul 2011 - 23:34 GMT

Anyone remember Mrs. Berry from the principals office in the supply room every morning?

Sal Gelardi: 13th Jul 2011 - 04:23 GMT

Wayne, I remember Mrs Berry she had a daughter Sandra my brother Vincent Gelardi should have been in your class. Sal

Margaret Newman Cilla: 13th Jul 2011 - 19:30 GMT

Sal, she was older than us Vinny was in my class 70. Wayne was she in Big Sal's class?

anon ( 18th Jul 2011 - 05:46 GMT

Quote Wayne : Joe- are you Joe Cavallo ?
Wayne...close !, I was your 3rd grade teachers son (Mrs.Lancia). And yes for all that asked yes my 3rd grade teacher was my mother !
Mike & Joe Cavavllo (Ciravolo) went on to build guitars for many famed players, Randy Rhoads, RATT, Kiss etc.
And Yes I remember Mrs.Berry Sal

Wayne: 21st Jul 2011 - 22:32 GMT

Sal, I remember you. I lived on George St. You lived next door to Nick Cilla, who is still a good friend of mine along with Margaret. I knew your brother and mother too. Last I heard you were in Germany selling magazines, heard you were doing well. last time I saw your brother he was in college. I was a bartender at TJ's on Stanhope and Irving. From George, I moved to Wilson Avenue by the green fence with the dog that was always barking. It's good to hear from old friends. Remember Wednesdays, pretzel and soda day from Starstreet?

Sal Gelardi: 21st Jul 2011 - 23:03 GMT

Wayne, I do remember you . I also remember the pretzel factory and chicken market near the school. I live in San Diego and work for a publishing company. My brother is a lawyer and lives in Bronxville. My mother lives in Maspeth Queens.. Keep in touch it is indeed good to hear from friends especially those that lived in the old neighborhood. Sal

anon ( 22nd Jul 2011 - 22:15 GMT

I went to this school in 1964-1968.
All those who based their lives around the church, helping out constantly, after school during summer breaks were "pets" that werenít touched. I remember that one teacher who had 2 twins in the school. They were giving there lives to the church everyday even during summer. It was slavery in exchange for pure nepotism.
One big clubhouse of loonies ---insane in my opinion

Iím no longer Catholic's after that ordeal nor argue with Catholics who will protect the church and pope to the end. I refuse to attend church even for weddings, funerals and baptisms.
I currently own an avionics firm and put it all past me like a bad joke.

St. Leonard's did teach me 2 important lessons.
1- Never turn your back on anybody
2- Catholicism is all about controlling people and banishing those who cant be "programmed" or ask the wrong questions.

I remember Sr.Georgette going bezerk on me. She was telling the class about charity and teaching a man to fish rather then giving him a fish.
I asked ďbut we all live off a polluted creek and donít have boatsĒ ďthe fish store man down the street (Knickerbocker & George) has fish we could use the Sunday church basket money to buy everybody fish he would give us a good dealĒ
-----She went total bezerk on me for a totally good question

Maria: 23rd Jul 2011 - 02:38 GMT

Didn't attend St. Leonard's (went to St. Joseph's), but lived on Starr Street until 1955. (I moved to Ridgewood when I was 7 & live in Middle Village now). Reading the comments about the old neighborhood brings back so many memories! Especially the pretzel factory right down the block from me. On summer mornings,a nickel clutched in my little hand, I would knock on the factory door. A big, burly man in a white apron would answer the door, take my money, tell me to wait right there & bring out 3 big hot salty pretzels in a brown paper bag. Then my friend & I would sit on our stoop at 88 Starr & eat them for breakfast. In the afternoons we'd walk around the corner to Farino's Candy Store and if we were lucky enough to have a dime between us we could split a malted. Jack's Candy Store was across Knickerbocker Ave and it was a special day when we got permission to let someone "cross us" and we entered candy heaven: wax lips, fake cigarettes that actually smoked when you blew into them, Mary Janes, Bonomo's Turkish taffy, candy lipstick that turned your lips red, little wax bottles of syrup in a 6 pack and oh so many other sweet things that made summer days so special. Once my friend & I bought 20 pieces of "Double Bubble" gum (2 for a penny) and we each tried to blow a bubble big enough so we could float up to the sky. Needless to say we picked gum out of our hair for a week!
I look back on those days & think of the happiness those little treats brought us. I think of my playmates & wonder where they are (I still keep in touch with my friend who shared my pretzels & gum). I'm a Grandmother now and when I tell my 6 grand-kids what life was like when I was little, they can't believe it: only 7 channels on TV??? Black & White??? No video games??? What did you DO, Grandma? We played and we had imaginations, I tell them.
A lost art, apparently!!!
Thanks for the memories, guys.

Ted: 23rd Jul 2011 - 20:02 GMT

Maria-I remember all of that stuff and Yep only 7 channels on TV + Wrestling on UHF channel 47 on Saturday. I also remember all the "Black Cat" and "Rainbow" firecrackers, rockets, snakes and smokebombs we could buy in any cand store

richard rinaldi: 25th Jul 2011 - 16:26 GMT

i remember my first day of school first grade aprox.1947or 48.a very scary day.there was an other little boy who wouldntcome into the classroom,holding on the door entrance by all 4 limbs.the nun told his mother to leave the bldg.Than she hauled off and belted that kid with a right cross to his nose.blood all over him,she than picked him up and throw him into the class seat while the desk top was in the closed position.i say %uck them.lynbrook ny

richard rinaldi: 25th Jul 2011 - 22:34 GMT

i must admit that kid came in next day like a lamb.Not a peep out of him.I past by in the mid 70s the alter was stripped and they were doing spanish masses.Sorry to hear about the other abuses.all will not go well for those evil nuns.the brothers across broadway were also no bargans.Over all it was a very poor experiance for me.those fags will pay before God.My first post took about 64 years to get it off my leonards was beutiful,not so much those evil witch nuns.i found this site by accident.God is good.God is able

richard rinaldi: 26th Jul 2011 - 03:10 GMT

i can remember these stories like it happened yesterday.i guess im going back further than most of the stories posted.i think i remember miss o conner at ps 56 she was a delight ON wed/or thursday we would march out to a church on the other side of broadway for religious instructions about conformation.I didnt hear the brothers homework assignment.We were told not to turn around.i asked the kid next to me what did he say.when that brother came from behind us and banged our heads together.When i went home i was not right at dinner time, my father ased what was wrong, told him what happened.a week later it was all forgotten untill my father showed up at the class room door. I looked up with complete surprise dad notion with his finger is that him. i had to knod my head. what than took place was shockeing my father told him if he ever touched me again he would knock the ....out of him. I couldnt believe the arrogance of this brother,Dad came close to beating him up.A few days later my public school recieved a letter i was not to return.Yes i did recieve comformation from Bishop malloy. he slapped my face so hard i never forgot it,He really slapped me unlike the other boys and girls.Screw them all dad should have clocked that bastard Richard Rinaldi lynbrook ny

richard rinaldi: 26th Jul 2011 - 03:32 GMT

so it wasnt only the psycho nuns but the arrogant brothers, How can a child deal with this.?ONE by one these churches are selling out for big bucks .Money that came from the sweat of poor italians,irish.germans etc etc and so on.While there children go to school and suffer at the hand of these crazys. God help us So now it is really off my chest .all i wrote was gospel truth. thank you Rich Rinaldi lynbrook ny

Anthony: 27th Jul 2011 - 06:28 GMT

64 years...thats so darn long Richard.
The Catholic Church has to let nuns and priests marry if itis to survive. It would have put a stop what Richard and other's went through a century ago.
Out with the Vatican nonsense from those dinosoars. Let priests and nuns marry (man and woman like they did in the past)
Rules of Celibacy and social deprivation creates maniacs, sociopaths and a rather small pool lousey prospects to pick from to boot.

Richard: Most those "Brothers" were gay's, troubles orphans, etc. The church thought they were going to "change" them by steering them into a strict structured religion. What they created in a good 1/2 of them was sociopaths with odd triggers that set them off.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Jul 2011 - 12:28 GMT

anon; I don't appreciate you referring to me as a pet,yes I did help alot around school and the covent but it was in return of NO Favoritism! I was an A+ student but I studied for my grades there was no nepotism. Stop putting me down and if you have any backbone give your name. I did the punishments and and receive a couple of scoldings. I can't say everyone had a positive experience with the nuns I can only conclude from my own experiences.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Jul 2011 - 14:51 GMT

anon-I have never been a slave and I answer to one man only my HUSBAND because I choose to not have to! I enjoyed helping with the other girls it kept us busy, again my choice!

richard rinaldi: 27th Jul 2011 - 20:36 GMT

to margaret newman,You go girl your on a roll dont lose it.Richard Rinaldi

richard rinaldi: 28th Jul 2011 - 00:45 GMT

i remember father Earny in 1956 he married my sister,He was drunk as a skunk,and slured his words.ST leonards was a funny farm for the religious . my cousin joany once told me of st georget that she was a monster.dark days sad times richard rinaldi

richard rinaldi: 28th Jul 2011 - 01:54 GMT

anthony in my humble opinion marrage wouldnt help them.If only people would stop sending,there little ones to there horror schools .the problem would eventually go away.Thank you for your response to me. Richard Rinaldi. PS goodnight margret.

Wayne: 5th Aug 2011 - 00:57 GMT

Father Ernie was never married. He did like to drink. Liked his wine in the morning, didn't make him a bad guy. Died on the altar during 6pm mass. he called me the Unholy.

Wayne: 5th Aug 2011 - 00:59 GMT

As a matter of fact, he kept the church together. Once new priests came in, they destroyed it. He came from a very well to do family who lived in Lake Ronkonkoma.

richard rinaldi: 6th Aug 2011 - 15:16 GMT

wayne wake up!Father earnie married my sister and brother in law,dah,not my sister and him.Have one for earnie...

Margaret Newman Cilla: 6th Aug 2011 - 19:33 GMT

Rich, what the hell are you talking about! Your picking on the wrong guy believe me. lol

Wayne: 6th Aug 2011 - 21:24 GMT

Who's slurring his words now? Maybe you should've said he performed my sister's marriage ceremony, not he married my sister.

richard rinaldi: 8th Aug 2011 - 12:42 GMT

wayne your right.He performed the wedding. the dah is on me.

Carm: 10th Aug 2011 - 22:33 GMT

Anyone who attended St. Leonards in 1960-64 know of Johnny Olson or his whereabouts, let me know.

Andrea Jakubowski: 26th Aug 2011 - 03:03 GMT

My name is Andrea Jakubowski. I went to St. Leonard's and lived at 256 Jefferson Street. Reading all these posts brought back so many good memories. I had a wonderful childhood on Jefferson Street and at St. Leonard's. So many names that I remember like yesterday, Paula, Margaret, Nicholas and Anthony. Boy, that was a long time ago. St. Leonard's was a beautiful church and I loved going there, especially on the holidays. I actually kept in touch with Father Wilkinson and he baptized my son 11 years ago. Those were the days.....

Margaret Newman Cilla: 26th Aug 2011 - 19:52 GMT

Hi Andrea, How are you? Its been a long time since with seen each other! Nicholas and I are doing well 38 years married. We also have three beautiful granddaughters.Anthony is also well and expecting their first granddaughter in December. Yes Nick and I often think about the old times on Jefferson they were great memories. How is Dad and Uncle Stanley(he was a character)? Keep in touch

Andrea Jakubowski: 26th Aug 2011 - 20:16 GMT

Hi Margaret, so nice to talk to you. My Dad is doing great. He will be 85 in a couple of months and lives with us. Uncle Stanley passed away about two years ago. How is your family? Seems like a hundred years ago that we lived on Jefferson Street. Do you ever talk or see anyone?

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Aug 2011 - 18:23 GMT

I glad to know that your Dad is doing well. My family is doing well everyone is having grandbabies.I'm sorry to hear about your mother and Uncle Stanley they were great people. Do you hear from Cousin Donna I always liked her. How are you and your family? Write me

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Aug 2011 - 18:23 GMT

I glad to know that your Dad is doing well. My family is doing well everyone is having grandbabies.I'm sorry to hear about your mother and Uncle Stanley they were great people. Do you hear from Cousin Donna I always liked her. How are you and your family? Write me

Nerio B. : 31st Aug 2011 - 17:41 GMT

I remember that church as well as that school. I can't believe that the church turned into that. My mom took my sisters and I there on Sundays. Yeah, I knew Father Wilkinson and Father (Frank)Mahoney. I don't remember the nuns, but I also was in Miss Jones' class. When I got into trouble, she was strict. A Miss Marilyn was also strict. Yeah, those were the days.

Margaret Newman Cilla: Father Mahoney name was Peter.

abilio franca: 12th Sep 2011 - 17:36 GMT

i went to st.leonards high in ridgewood, brooklyn does anyone remember brother pious, brother alfred or mr.o'rourke i to got beat up, you were better off playing hookey because if you went to school without your homework you knew you would get a beating, i don't know if the brothers beat us more or taught us more anyway i don't recognize to many people on this page, hope to hear from someone thanks they also called me bill

abilio franca: 13th Sep 2011 - 16:10 GMT

i know i went to st.leonards high in the late 50's for a year and a half i think it was in ridgewood brooklyn but i'm not sure,i also went to nativity grammer school in brooklyn the nuns there were pretty strong they hit harder then the brothers at st.leonards, i would love to hear from anyone about these 2 schools, thanks bill

Margaret Newman Cilla: 13th Sep 2011 - 21:34 GMT

Sorry Bill this is St.Leonards of Port Maurice Elementary School in Brooklyn. who knows you may find someone who went to your school. Good Luck!

Toni 1964-1969: 14th Sep 2011 - 05:16 GMT

more SL horror stories...Sr.Claudia was my 3rd grade nun and I remember her making me stand up at the blackboard for at least an hour trying to solve a long division problem that no one in the class could solve. I went home terrified,and my parents came up the next day, and gave her hell, and the principal made her apologize to me...never happened again! My father was well loved there, he took care of the nuns gave them food, money, helped out a lot. Christian mothers were mostly made up of a bunch of hypocrites. My cousin (Henry) went to school with me, and the nuns always tortured him, made him go to the principal's office and she would start yelling at him and threatening him with her paper cutting machine (we were in 2nd grade) terrifying. My older sister (Angie) never took any of the nuns crap. I remember so many bad stories, girls getting their hems taken down from their uniforms, bangs being cut b/c they were too long...rulers, pointers, paddles, anything they could do to humilate the children and make school a horrible experience. Shame on anyone who denies these stories, we all know what went on in SL ... Fr. Ernie was a drunk and flirt, and the nuns were nothing more than under educated goons who lived under the principal's thumb, and tyrancy...they all need to pay for the irreplaceable damages they caused...and the bad judgment used on us...shame on them and shame on SL for staying open as long as they did...that place would be haunted with bad memories and is a vortex of evil, nothing holy. BTW: my name is Toni but the nuns would only call me Anita b/c they said it wasn't a catholic name for a girl ... who were they kidding? So at home I was called Toni and in school Anita...more complications caused by SL.

Toni 1964-1969: 14th Sep 2011 - 05:19 GMT

I lived on Wilson Avenue & Star Street, pretzel factory was down the block, and Sam's had the best cherry water, Giangrassos best pizza, I remember Madison bakery/factory...Knickerbocker park...Morales florist, Jake's, the "bathhouse" ... great neighborhood memories...I recently went back with my sister and we took some pictures, I'll try to post them.

abilio franca: 14th Sep 2011 - 13:49 GMT

margaret thank you for pointing that out,i wish someone that was there would answer, bill

Margaret Newman Cilla: 14th Sep 2011 - 23:10 GMT

Toni I'm sorry but I had nothing but good experiences from SLS I was far from a pet but maybe I lucked out getting the right nuns. Get your facts straight Fr. Ernie wwas not a flirt at all, Fr. Hudson was the drunk. As far as the mothers that helped in church xheck it out they were NOT all hypocrites my Mother-in Law Anna did the church linens and there was never a better person. Don't make such broad judgements!

Margaret Newman Cilla: 14th Sep 2011 - 23:12 GMT

Your welcome Bill I hope you find what your looking for, good luck!

Marg: 19th Sep 2011 - 15:25 GMT

Graduated in 1965 and remember it as tough but well taught. Lived on Jefferson St.

Marg: 19th Sep 2011 - 15:25 GMT

Graduated in 1965 and remember it as tough but well taught. Lived on Jefferson St.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 20th Sep 2011 - 16:31 GMT

where on jefferson did you live I lived at 253?

Joe: 28th Sep 2011 - 21:31 GMT

Quote Toni: "haunted with bad memories and is a vortex of evil, nothing holy"
Toni your so right !
Today the building is some kined of Sanitarium for criminally violent children. I passed it this summer and felt a sense of "Evil" The was before talking to the securiety guard who filled me in and let me look into the stairwell. You couldnt even see the steps it was all steel doors and bars
The outside looks the same however insideís another story
The halls and stairways are lined with steel bars, armed guards and double locking gates like Alcatraz.

Sadly the candy store and My grandparents 3 story house at 142 and all around it are gone on George street
Your right about ALL the other stuff also

Margaret Newman Cilla: 29th Sep 2011 - 00:18 GMT

For all haters why did your parents keep you in a so called negative enviroment! You could have gone to 111 a real jungle!

Wayne: 29th Sep 2011 - 23:10 GMT

To Andrea: hi I'm Wayne. I remember you...your mother had black hair and glasses and a black dog. You lived in Nicky's building on the bottom floor. Always thought you'd be a movie star. Hope it worked out. Glad to see you are still around. I lived on Wilson Ave. By the green fence by the school. I am still in touch with Nick and Margaret. If you don't remember me, ask them.


Wayne: 29th Sep 2011 - 23:12 GMT

Margaret, this is wayne, remember me? I have a crush on you from grade school. If you ever get rid of that bum Nick get in touch with me.

Wayne: 29th Sep 2011 - 23:21 GMT

Margaret, Did I see you in Playboy magazine? Please send me an autograph photo!

Margaret Newman Cilla: 30th Sep 2011 - 00:18 GMT

Yes Wayne I do remember you and I did finally break up with Nick after all these years he never wanted to claim responsiblity for his kids! And the autographed magazine is on its way PERSONALLY! always had the hots for you too babe.

Andrea Jakubowski Okowsky: 7th Oct 2011 - 19:45 GMT

Hi Wayne, I do remember you. You are right, my mom had black hair and we had a big black, mean dog. Those days seem like a million years ago. I don't know where the time goes. I think I had a crush on all Nicholas and Anthony's friends. You guys were all so good looking. So nice to be in touch after all these years.

Gail Stephan Giambruno: 16th Oct 2011 - 17:00 GMT

I remember father Ernie also he was nice but you were lucky if you found him sober. I remember first or second grade a girl in my class had to go to the bathroom and was raising her hand and the nun kept ignoring her until she wet her pants and then the nun humiliater her.I also remember getting my head slammed into a black board because I could not answer a question. I attended St. Leonard's in the late 50's and 60's

Wayne: 25th Oct 2011 - 23:04 GMT

Gail- I got out of St Loenards in 1969. That was the year the sisters started wearing the robes and square hats and long rosary beads. Sr. Carey (Sr. nazarita) was one of them.

Wayne: 25th Oct 2011 - 23:06 GMT

I graduated with Maria Giamvolvo, Debbie Olsen, John Bonetti,Phyllis Turano , etc.

Joe: 31st Oct 2011 - 02:49 GMT

Wayne Im pretty sure the nuns were wearing the cardboard hats & robes earlier then 1969. I know they had them when Robert Kennedy got shot.

Joe: 28th Nov 2011 - 21:33 GMT

I passed the old school again today there was cop cars and an ambulance outside. One cop was really pissed off. He said they get a couple calls a week. The place is actually a juvenile jail. The church calls it "special education faciliety" to keep it within zoning regulations.

Ed E.: 26th Dec 2011 - 03:41 GMT

I attended SL from 59-67 and really have only fond memories. My 2 younger brothers also attended - Gary(class of 68') & Brian (class of 73'). I remember Sal & Anthony G., Nicky C. and Margaret N.C. and Gail S. I believe Gail and her cousin Pat Ward were in my class. I was an altar boy & was with my brother & Sal.G when the latter was attacked by Fr. Hudson. I truly believed it was because he was drunk and kidding went too far. In any event, I picked up the pole used to extinguish the candles and threatened to strike the priest if he were to persist in choking Sal. Fortunately, he released him without any residual physical injury. I'm not making excuses for the priests & nuns but we grew up in an era when we were expected to be respectful of our elders & figures of authority. I believe many of our parents thought it fine for us to be reasonably disciplined. I was pretty much a "goody to shoes," but my brother (Gary) could sometimes test one. Notwithstanding, I feel I was treated well by the priests & nuns as were my 2 siblings. I was particularly fond of Srs. Edward John, Francis James & Susan Marie. The principal, Sr. Mary Wilford or Winifred was a tough disciplinarian who wouldn't hesitate to slap you upside the head with her "man hands." She got me in the 1st or 2nd grade when she thought I whistled in the hallway during one of the many air raid drills (Cuban Missile Crisis). Before being slapped I tried to make her aware of my horific lack of whistling skills - she didn't seem to care. I don't believe I was scarred by the experience, but I obviously remember the some 50 yrs. later. If the true whistler sees this msg. please come forward! Merry Christmas to all, Ed

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Dec 2011 - 00:22 GMT

Merry Christmas Ed, hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you for your comments finally someone who makes sense except for Sal, Wayne and Thomasina they to had viable comments.

Ed E.: 27th Dec 2011 - 03:33 GMT

Thanks Margaret, the same to you. Don't know if you knew but my brother, Gary, passed away nearly 10 yrs ago from cancer. He leaves a wife & 2 kids. I also have 2 kids. My daughter just got married 6 mos. ago. My youngest brother, Brian, and his wife live on Long Island as do my wife & me. He has a son who now lives in Virginia. Although disturbed by several of the comments on this web site, other comments brought back great memories of SL and where we grew up. We didn't have much but we had each other. My best to you, Ed

Margaret Newman Cilla: 30th Dec 2011 - 23:13 GMT

Ed,I'm so sorry to hear about Gary you took me by surprise. My condolences even though late coming. He was a character sometimes but in a good way. I guess you know I married Nick, we have 2 children and 3 granddaughters. Yes this site is imformative and entertaining and you are right I would not change a thing about the way we grew up! In my thoughts, Margaret

Tina: 31st Dec 2011 - 02:16 GMT

I lived at 315 Jefferson and I went to Saint Leonard's for religious instruction after school. They were
taught by the nuns and they were scary. I am glad I didn't go to school there. I received my first
communion and confirmation at Saint Leonards after that my family went to Saint Joseph which was
an Italian church. To this day, I remember the nuns and they were all scary. I used to loved their school uniforms, they had the nicest. I am sad that the church is closed, it was a beautiful church. I remember in the back of the church had a glass case with bones of Saints in it. I am not sure if I imagined it or was it real.

Ed E.: 31st Dec 2011 - 23:07 GMT

Tina, I was sadeened as well when I learned the church was demolished. It was a real classic, although I have to admit a little scary when showing up to serve the early masses during the winter. I belong to Sacred Heart Church in No. Merrick and learned from the pastor several yrs. ago that SL's bell, which I used to ring as an altar boy, was given to Sacred Heart when the former church was dismantled. That's some coincidence. So, a little piece of SL & Bushwick continues to be with me to this day. Ed

Joe : 6th Jan 2012 - 11:40 GMT

I have some original benches (the short 2 seat pews) my aunt and uncle baught when the church closed. The have since both passed away as of Dec 23 , from what I remember the builders great grandaughter chimes in here once and a wile(Eppich spelling ?) . Does anybody have a contact for her ?

Joe: That be "Susan"

Sal Gelardi: 6th Jan 2012 - 18:05 GMT

Ed, I am sorry to hear of Gary's passsing. We had good times together at Saint Leonard's. I remember a few famous altercations we had with Joe LARocca who lived near the Florist across the street from the Church. I now live in San Diego have two grown sons and will be a grandfather in June. From time to time I think back and wish for the simplier times. I beleve that all of us that were touched by the "neighborhood" were impacted in a special way that defines who we are . Sal

Ed Eighmey: 6th Jan 2012 - 19:37 GMT

Sal, so nice to hear from you. I remember you & your brother as being very nice kids. I don't really remember any altercations with Joe LaRocca, who for some reason was nicknamed "hippo". He certainly wasn't overweight. I suppose I was too busy fighting with my brother. Congrats on soon becoming a grandfather. As a matter of fact, Gary's son is expecting a baby any day now so he would have been a Grandpa too. I'm still waiting to be one and am looking forward to the day. My daughter got married last June and my son is holding fast to the bachelor's life for the time being. I live on Long Island as do my Mom and my brother, Brian's family. Please say hi to your brother for me. Ed

Margaret Newman Cilla: 10th Jan 2012 - 23:55 GMT

Hi Guys,Happy New Year! I was reading your comments,Joe LaRocca was Angela Mirable's cousin. They lived almost directly across from you Ed. He was nicknamed hippo because he could not pronounce hippotamus. I al;so know for a fact that he got into a bad fight with my husband he hit Nick with a shovel because hippo knocked down a snow fort that Anthony and Nick made. I often think about the old times and get very sentimental I would not change a thing. Margaret

Ed Eighmey: 11th Jan 2012 - 13:21 GMT

Margaret, I had a good chuckle after reading your latest post. Yes, Angela was Joe's cousin and the first girl I ever asked out. I think our relationship lasted a month. My brother, Gary, continually teased me about that. He was the ladies man in the family. As I get older, I too get more sentimental about those days gone by. Ed

Margaret Newman Cilla: 11th Jan 2012 - 23:40 GMT

Ed, I don"t recall you going out with Angela but I went out with Gary during my hiatus period with Nick who was more my type Gary drove me insane! I think I made the right choice it has lasted 38yrs. Time flys!

Ed Eighmey: 11th Jan 2012 - 23:53 GMT

Margaret, I don't remember you going out with Gary. However, I surely would have remembered if I did. I know you had many admirers, secret or otherwise. Ed

Margaret Newman Cilla: 13th Jan 2012 - 23:51 GMT

Oh really, like who I'm

Ed Eighmey: 15th Jan 2012 - 16:51 GMT

I hesitate to name names in such a public forum, even this many yrs later. Suffice it to say that a girl with such a curvacious figure kept our raging male hormones in play during thos teen yrs.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 16th Jan 2012 - 23:53 GMT

Thank you for the sweet compliment I never thought that much about myself!

Ed Eighmey: 20th Jan 2012 - 20:11 GMT

I was wondering how many of our alumni were victims of 9/11. I worked in the WTC from Sept. 1986 until 9/11/2001. I was fortunate that I was at a management conference in CT on 9/11, although many of my colleagues were in the office. I learned months after the tragedy that one of my SL classmates(1967), Francine Virgiullio, died while at her office working for Aon. Coincidentally, I ran into her only 2 mos. prior at a local restaurant in downtown Manhattan and we exchanged business cards. Francine had an older brother who attended SL. I believe his name is Nunzio. May she rest in peace and her family find some comfort knowing she is remembered with fondness. Ed

leonardo martinez: 26th Feb 2012 - 03:38 GMT

I went to st leonards thru the 60s... I remember many of the people mentioned here, I lost touch with just about every one I went to school with there,,, wondering if theres any left...
sure someone survived from then..would love to reconnect and see where some of have been,,, leom41ATjunoDOTcoom.. in case someone knows

Margaret Newman Cilla: 2nd Mar 2012 - 00:19 GMT

Ed, Did Gary become a grandpa yet? I was curious if all is well, please let me know.

anon ( 2nd Mar 2012 - 20:31 GMT

Hi Margaret! Yes, Gary's son had a boy, Christian James, on 1/12. He's doing well as are his parents. Many thanks for asking. Hope all is well with your grandchildren & their parents, Ed

Annie: 4th Mar 2012 - 17:11 GMT

I remember father Ernie, and father Rooney. I attended PS 145 but went to after school instructions on Wednesdays. I still remember father Earnie talking on the pulpit about the A&P catholics, (the ones who only attended church when ashes or palms were given out). I had only good memories of going to religious instructions. The nuns were always kind. When the school opened, father Earnie told my mother all 5 of us could attended the school for $25 per month. My mom asked us, and we all wanted to stay at PS 145. The teacher's at PS 145 could also be intimidating.

bobbym: 7th Mar 2012 - 11:59 GMT


Hi Ed Eighmey and Sal Gelardi. I went to school with both of you. Ed was in my class and we even went to BTHS together. Sal you also lived on Jefferson st and was in my sister's class. I also remember your brothers.

Yes, sadly my sister told me that Francine Virgilio passed away in the WTC disaster. She was one of my favorite people.

I have to say I was in that school from 59 - 67 and was treated well. I was an altar boy there. I remember Fathers Ernie,Rooney,Mahoney,Hudson. Had sisters Michael Bernadette, Joseph Lucille, Edward John, Sean Bernadette, Catherine James and Susan Marie.

Ed,Sal and I were good kids. I remember being very rude and ill mannered towards both Susan Marie and Catherine James. Sister Susan Marie the whole class would ostracize, especially with her back turned. She was an emotional wreck and retreated inside herself often crying over the treatment her students gave her.

Sister Catherine James on the other hand encouraged dissent from the students. We argued and joked with her way beyond what was polite. She tried to convince us to be tolerant of the people that were different in the neighborhood. I called her a liberal and a communist. I was never hit by any nun or priest except for Sister Mary Wilfred who hit like a boxer. I was talking in church with a certain Michael P. She then called home and my father gave me some more, he hit like a boxer too. I never talked in chuch after that.

Just wanted say hello and mention that those experiences in that school were the only good ones I had in that neighborhood.

Ed E.: 7th Mar 2012 - 15:16 GMT

Hi Bobby! Good to hear from you. I agree - you, Sal & me were good kids. I recall that 6 of 9 of us made Bklyn Tech - a relatively high percentage for a small class size, as well as the number of us that took the entrance exam. I think Mike P. went to Bishop Loughlin.

You lived down the block from me on Jefferson St. near the Cilla's, as I recall. Yes, Sr. Susan Marie was a bit on the emotional side but I think she had a good heart. I haven't seen Michael P. since the mid-late 70's when we played on a touch football team together. During the good weather most of my time was spent in Knickerbocker Ave. park playing basketball, baseball or football. I'd always make it home for dinner & then go back out again until the light dimmed.

I think Sr. Mary Wilfred felt it was an obligation to strike all of the boys before they graduated. I wonder what her home life was like as a child. My father didn't have to lay a hand on me - just a cross look would be enough. However, my brother (Gary) wasn't so easy deterred by a look from Dad.

bobbym: 10th Mar 2012 - 11:32 GMT

Hi Ed;

I am sorry to hear about Gary. That was a real shocker. I always thought of him as a good guy because I never had any problems with him at all. May his soul rest with God forever.

I do not remember the six who made it. I know the five who went, you, me, Joseph F.,Jimmy P. and Richard C. ( now deceased ). I guess the sixth one was my friend Anthony S.

I lived at 248 Jefferson St. in the middle of the block two doors up from the Barbera's, Anthony and Paul. The Cilla's, well that is funny. I played with them and never knew their last name! Knew their Dad, I think, he really could throw a football.

Nice to know someone knew why Joe was called Hippo. He was a friend/rival of mine for years and I did not know.

I remember that on the Dekalb bus coming home from Tech, Francine V. was sitting opposite us and told me that Sister Edward John said hello. She was my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher and she remembered me. Sort of adds a new wrinkle to the idea that the place was full of hostile monsters.

Benita P.: 14th Mar 2012 - 01:38 GMT

I was so happy to see pictures of St. Leonard of Port Maurice Church. Thank you so much for posting them. I had gone back to see it after many years and was so sad to see that it had been taken down. What a loss.
My excitement soon turned to disbelief when I read of the reported atrocities on this site. I attended until graduation in 1964. I can honestly say that the atmosphere of the school that I attended was day and night compared to the stories on this site. Some of the nuns were strict but none that I knew were the sort of monsters described here. Most were very kind and patient. Sister Kevin John is still serving our children, in upstate New York, with great humility. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of singing in the choir with her as our choir teacher.
Father Ernie was a blessing. I don't think I ever heard him raise his voice. He taught us to love one another and accept others. His sermons at the pulpit always included his belief: "The family that goes to Church together enjoys God's blessings together." He made the best of a poor communnity. Many of the students attending the school had free lunch and reduced or almost no tuition.
What I found when our family moved was that other Catholic Churches could have used some advice on loving, caring and giving that I learned at St. Leonard's.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 16th Mar 2012 - 23:52 GMT

Hi Bobby my name is Margaret Newman Cilla I lived at 253 Jefferson next to Dr. Monteleone. I was reading the comments between Eddie and you and I found them amusing. I remember the Barberas also. The man you said throw a mean football was my father-in-law Pat and the name of the game was catchers flyers up which he used a tennis racket to hit the ball. I married Nick and Anthony was my brother in law. There is so much to remember and I enjoy sharing those memories. Pleases write back if you will. Margaret

anon ( 19th Mar 2012 - 08:51 GMT

Hi Margaret;

I remember Dr Monteleone. He delivered me but that I do not remember. I lived in the only 2 family house on the block. It was next to an abandoned lot where I played as kid. It is funny that you lived across the street from me and I never knew you. I am saying Hi to you now.


Margaret Newman Cilla: 20th Mar 2012 - 21:51 GMT

Hi Bobby, Nice to meet you,lol. I do remember the house but unfortunately I don't remember you sorry, but I do now consider you an old friend. Margaret

anon ( 21st Mar 2012 - 17:23 GMT

Hi Margaret;

I think the house is still there. I lived on the bottom floor. Was a typical kid of the neighborhood. Tall, dark hair, skinny and fighting every day. There was a little hole in the wall grocery store directly across the street from me.

I am pretty sure my cousin Charles (Charlie) D. was in your class.


Margaret Newman Cilla: 21st Mar 2012 - 22:14 GMT

Hi Bobby, Was your cousin's name Charles Demonte? The store you're referring to was P.R. Joe's. margaret

Margaret Newman Cilla: 21st Mar 2012 - 22:14 GMT

Hi Bobby, Was your cousin's name Charles Demonte? The store you're referring to was P.R. Joe's. margaret

anon ( 22nd Mar 2012 - 11:08 GMT


Yes,the spelling is a little off but that is him. He was one of the dozens of cousins I had in that neighborhood.

As for the store, a guy named Nick was the first owner.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 22nd Mar 2012 - 21:21 GMT

Thats great how is he doing? I apologize for the spelling of his name. I don't remember Nick the store owner. margaret

Joe: 22nd Mar 2012 - 23:40 GMT

Benita P.:
The school of 1964 was much different come 1969.
It was run by nuns. Many of the nuns The went totally crazy when the 60s free love flower power thing came along. I remember sister Gorgette lining everbody up who watched Rown and Martins "Laugh-in" againt the blackboard and bashing out hands with a paddle.
She gace us letters for our parents to sighn, my mother went up to the school and caller her crazy. I had many violent incidents with Sister Georgette and some others. I cant tell you the rest of the names because I somehow blocked them animals all out.
I only remember Sister Georgette, Father Sullivan and Father Twinkle Toes and sister Melony (spelling?) who was the only nice nun
I no longer go to church, to me the catholic church is a sham of criminals who protect other criminals.

anon ( 23rd Mar 2012 - 09:15 GMT

Hi Margaret;

He is doing well, I will mention you when I talk to him next.

Do you remember what became of Doctor Monteleone? Were you ever in that waiting room?


anon ( 23rd Mar 2012 - 09:27 GMT

Hi P Benita;

Father Ernie, he had the patience of a saint. I once made the stupidest mistake and he was the target of it. He never said a word to me or anyone else about it.

I agree with everything you said and it held all the way to 1967 when I graduated. My sister who graduated in 68 asked me to ask you do you know where Sister Kevin John is? She would like to write her and thank her for her kindness

anon ( 23rd Mar 2012 - 09:28 GMT

Hi P Benita;

Father Ernie, he had the patience of a saint. I once made the stupidest mistake and he was the target of it. He never said a word to me or anyone else about it.

I agree with everything you said and it held all the way to 1967 when I graduated. My sister who graduated in 68 asked me to ask you do you know where Sister Kevin John is? She would like to write her and thank her for her kindness.


Charlie D.: 24th Mar 2012 - 18:35 GMT

It's great to hear from all you guys. Yes Margaret I was in your class and remember Nick and Anthony Cilla. Bobby M is my cousin and my sister Rosalia was one grade ahead of me. As for the psycho zombie ninja nuns from hell that preyed on us I was also a victim of Sister Georgette's wrath. I remember a school trip to the Bronx Zoo, I got separated from the class and spent hours wandering around. Finally park staff took me to where the school buses were ready to depart and there was Sister Georgette. She took one look at me and grabbed me by the neck and slammed my head into the bus while punching my face with a closed fist. It was not until park staff intervened that the beating stopped. And Booby you're right they do punch like boxers. Interesting story about Dr Monteleone, I worked for NYC EMS as a paramedic and was transferred to the old neighborhood. One afternoon I brought a patient to Wykoff Hospital ER and there he was working as the ER Doc, talk about a weird situation.

anon ( 24th Mar 2012 - 20:21 GMT

Hi Charlie D;

I think I do remember you. Sister Mary Wilfred did teach me to keep my left up but I was still a sucker for a good left hook.

I said I would mention Margaret when I ran into you next so I am doing that now. She lived next to the Doc about 100 ft from me and I just met her here!

Ever been back to the old neighborhood?

Linda Stephan Caraballo: 25th Mar 2012 - 17:38 GMT

I also went to St.Leonard's in the 60's and remember the abuse. Those nun's were cruel got my knuckles smacked quite a few times

Joe: 26th Mar 2012 - 07:34 GMT

Yeah the knuckle smashing was popular with the nuns, I think all of them had wooden paddles with red writing on them in the desk drawers. It was standard issue
I remember sister Georgette asking me and some other boys what we liked about the TV show "Laugh-in" I replied her Judy Carne the "Sock it to me girl" who dances in the bikini.
Sister Georgette went bezerk first hitting my hands with a paddle then banging my head on the blackboard and repeatly slapping me in the face before moving on to some other boys she had lined up.

I worked in the entertainment industry and actually met Judy Carne. I told her the story. Judy was absolutly horrified, her eyes welled up in tears. This was followed with some choice words I cant post here. Judy is very interesting with words.
We ended up going out that evening
---and that is perhaps the ONLY good thing and memory that St.Leonards School was responsable for.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 27th Mar 2012 - 22:08 GMT

Hi Charles , Its been a long time. How are you? As you see from my heading I married Nick Cilla. We have two children and three granddaughters which keep me very busy. Fotunately my experiences at St. Leonard were all positive although it was true their were tough, I remember our homework punishments my hands were cramped for days. Please wrie back and let me know what you up to these days. margaret

Benita P: 28th Mar 2012 - 01:38 GMT

Joe, I am not familiar with any of the nuns or priests you referenced. They must have started after I graduated. It is truly sad that a handful of people could have changed the mission so negatively. I am even more saddened that you lost your faith because of their behavior. I have always believed that the church is a hospital for sinners, with me being one of them. I wish that you could shed all the anger and pain that you were subjected to in the past and realize that they took something from you that they had no right to. Your relationship with God is only for and about you. It has always been about you and God. They don't deserve the power to have any say in that. They will answer for what they did, so leave them to Him. Practice your faith in a way that is meaningful and positive for you.
Bobby, I don't mean to play cat and mouse with you regarding Sister Kevin John, but I am uncomfortable posting that information online. I spoke with her several days ago and she is still working and loving her work. God bless her.

Ed Eighmey: 28th Mar 2012 - 18:38 GMT

Benita, I wholeheartedly agree with your advice to Joe and any others who may have turned from their faith because of the actions of some rogue priests and nuns. God did not create evil and wrong doing, but He does permit it - this is the price we pay for freedom of choice. I pray to God, not the clergy or even the Church.
Bobby M., I need some clarification about Sr. Kevin John. I thought our 3rd & 4th grade nun was Sr. Edward John and our 7th grade nun was Sr. Kevin James. The former also was my altar boy trainer.

Ed Eighmey: 28th Mar 2012 - 18:41 GMT

...or was our 7th grade teacher Sr. Francis James (1965-1966)?

Margaret Newman Cilla: 28th Mar 2012 - 21:57 GMT

Ed ,I truly believe in what you say. Our faith in God is not a building we so call church. I believe in a Supreme Being who I pray to and express my faith he alone controls my destiny. On another note, Sr. Edward John taught 2nd grade,Sr.Francis Daniel taught 7th gr. and Sr. Kevin James 7th grade.margaret

anon ( 29th Mar 2012 - 03:25 GMT

Ed E. Don't know if you remember me. Vickie Sigari (jefferson st). I'm sorry to hear of Garys passing. You mentioned Merrick, I live in Wantagh. Could we be neighbors? Love all the stories, although I attended public school. We recently had a reunion. It was nice to visit the old neighborhood and remember the good times. My mail is Would love to hear from you.

@Margaret. Sorry you missed the reunion. Hope all is well with you and Nick.

anon ( 29th Mar 2012 - 03:25 GMT

Ed E. Don't know if you remember me. Vickie Sigari (jefferson st). I'm sorry to hear of Garys passing. You mentioned Merrick, I live in Wantagh. Could we be neighbors? Love all the stories, although I attended public school. We recently had a reunion. It was nice to visit the old neighborhood and remember the good times. My mail is Would love to hear from you.

@Margaret. Sorry you missed the reunion. Hope all is well with you and Nick.

Ed Eighmey: 29th Mar 2012 - 20:54 GMT

Vicki, do you have an older brother named Mel?

Margaret Newman Cilla: 29th Mar 2012 - 22:12 GMT

Ed, My husband corrected me it was Sr.Catherine James . Nick said do you remember the day a truck flipped over on Melrose and she jumped up on the truck to get to the driver?

Margaret Newman Cilla: 29th Mar 2012 - 22:17 GMT

Hi Vickie, Sorry we missed the reunion but Nick recently retired and we relocated to Florida. Having the time of our lives. Do you have any more photos of the reunion? margaret

Charlie D.: 30th Mar 2012 - 00:02 GMT

Hi Margaret, good to hear from you. I grew up on Melrose and remember the truck flipping over. I live in NC outside of Raleigh now and have a health and safety training and consulting business. Say hi to Nick and Anthony.

Charlie D.

Joe: 30th Mar 2012 - 06:09 GMT

Im with Ed --Pray to whoever you beleive in, not the clergy or even the Church.
The Catholic created its problem by thinking they could reform gays, lesbians and assorted people with mental problems and make them priests nuns and teachers. The result is repressed loonaticks like cocked and loaded shotgun.
The Catholic church would have a much bigger pool to pick from if they accepted married clergy.
Regarding my story about Sister Georgette beating us for watching Judy Carne in a baithing suit on TV. Im positive Georgette may have been a fustrated lesbian who hated men and watched the show herself. Us "boys" liking Miss.Carne somehow enraged her.
This loonatic harmed so many people including Miss Carne who felt guilty we got beat up. I assured her it wasnt her fault. I even went with her to a "meeting" to tell some of these St.Leonards school storys.
Turns out many of the people there clearly had the same experiences, they were gasping for air, sweating getting upset and leaving the room!!
I was fine--but they clearly were not.
As far as forgive the Catholic church --one word: NEVER

Margaret Newman Cilla: 30th Mar 2012 - 14:57 GMT

Forgiveness is what the Lord teaches us to do,forgeting is something we have to find out within ourselves to do. margaret Hi Charlie, I'm glad you wrote back. Please keep in touch.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 30th Mar 2012 - 15:00 GMT

Sal G. Hi Sal, How are you hope all is well. Sal I tried numerous times to contact Vinny to no avail. Is he doing well, I would like to know. Please let me know. Margaret

Sal Gelardi: 30th Mar 2012 - 15:58 GMT

Margaret, Hi, Vinny is doing fine and lives in Bronxville New York. He is a defense attorney and has his own practice. He has been involved in a few big cases which you can check on Google. Good to hear that you moved to sunny Florida. I love San Diego and have been here almost 20 years. Please give Nic my best. Sal

Ed Eighmey: 30th Mar 2012 - 18:31 GMT

Margaret, no I don't recall a truck flipping over on Melrose St. I wouldn't put it past Sr. Catherine James to try to rescue the driver by jumping on the truck - she seemed athletic to me. I remember Nick and Anthony with fondness. Nick reminded me a little of Gary - fun loving and entertaining to be around. Pls give both my regards. Ed

Sal: 31st Mar 2012 - 00:46 GMT

Quote: "Forgiveness is what the Lord teaches us to do"

Sorry Margret thatís what the catholic school or some religious person told you god nor any higher power told them anything.
Itís simply how the church justifies "nut harvesting" and brainwashing people to get cheap labor or tax free money. The Vatican is nothing more then another corrupt global conglomerate spewing propaganda & guilt to control people wile seeding the flock.
Yes there are some good people (like yourself) who are clean and trying to do kind and good but the people running the show may as well be Bernie Maddoff.
A "Boss" and pecking is never good the 10 comandments and common sense is all one needs.

I hear the Vatican and the Pope want a huge piece if all the "south of the border" Illegal immigrant criminals lurking and trespassing in the cracks, safe-houses and jails of New York City, Texas and Southern California.
Ahh, I think I said enough


Margaret Newman Cilla: 31st Mar 2012 - 22:17 GMT

Many times in my life I needed to forgive but found it hard to forget the incident that took place that needed to be forgotten. Margaret

anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 20:50 GMT

Hi Ed;

I get a little confused myself about when I had whom. I just remember they were good to me. How are you doing Ed?

anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 20:53 GMT

Hi Margaret;

You keep right on believing the way you do. It does not matter what the Vatican is or isn't. The little people make up any organization. I never heard that about Sr. Catherine James but I would not put it passed her. She had a lot of courage. Came from a rich family too, gave it all up to try to educate people like me.

Do you now live in Florida?

anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 20:56 GMT

Charlie D;

How are you my friend? Hope all is well with you.


anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 20:56 GMT

Hi Margaret;

You keep right on believing the way you do. It does not matter what the Vatican is or isn't. The little people make up any organization. I never heard that about Sr. Catherine James but I would not put it passed her. She had a lot of courage. Came from a rich family too, gave it all up to try to educate people like me.

Do you now live in Florida?


anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 20:57 GMT

Hi Ed;

I get a little confused myself about when I had whom. I just remember they were good to me. How are you doing Ed?


anon ( 4th Apr 2012 - 21:18 GMT

Hi Benita;

I understand your reluctance. Tell her someone said thanks for everything.

Benita P: 4th Apr 2012 - 23:59 GMT

Thank you for understanding. I wish I could give you the information privately. :-( I will convey your warm thanks to her. I know that she will love hearing that a former student thinks of her. She is truly a special person.

Charlie D.: 5th Apr 2012 - 00:29 GMT

Hi bobbym,

I am doing fine, how are you and jimmym?

Margaret Newman Cilla: 7th Apr 2012 - 13:03 GMT

To All My Friends, Happy Easter to you and your families. God Bless. Margaret

Ed Eighmey: 8th Apr 2012 - 09:34 GMT

Thanks Margaret. Happy Easter to you, Nick and everyone else! Ed

anon ( 9th Apr 2012 - 12:10 GMT

Happy Easter!

Hi Charles;

We are fine, Jimmy says hello.


MARY AGUANNO - MONTALTO: 12th Apr 2012 - 20:32 GMT

I lived at 231 Jefferson St, between Knickerbocker and Wilson. I went to St. Leonard's only a short time, since we were in the basement of the church. After that, I believe it was maybe 3rd grade, I went to St. Joseph's, on Suydam, corner Wilson Ave.
Played in the Knickerbocker park all the time, and loved the hot summers with the "johnny pump" open so we can cool off. Let me tell you something guys, good nums, bad nuns, good priets bad priest's, I would just love to be back there again, where we could walk the streets safely, go to the social clubs, like Moulon Rouge, on Jefferson St, not to mention Bravado and all the rest of the clubs. Kids up the ying yang, playing in the streets, mom's looking out the window's with their pillows watching us. Those to me are days gone by, but never ever forgotton. Wish my kids would have had that simple life. Dad worked, Mom home with the kids, Sunday sauce, visit to Grandpa's, and let's not forget always always, confession and Sunday Mass. By now you probably guessed I'm Italian. Yep, I think back then we all were. I'm 66 now, born in `1946, one of those baby boomers. So you figure it out. Stayed on Jefferson St. until I got married in 1971. Ahhhh, what a life it was...............Mary
P.S. Thanks so much for posting the pictures of St. Leonard's, brought me back to my childhood.

MARY AGUANNO - MONTALTO: 12th Apr 2012 - 20:32 GMT

I lived at 231 Jefferson St, between Knickerbocker and Wilson. I went to St. Leonard's only a short time, since we were in the basement of the church. After that, I believe it was maybe 3rd grade, I went to St. Joseph's, on Suydam, corner Wilson Ave.
Played in the Knickerbocker park all the time, and loved the hot summers with the "johnny pump" open so we can cool off. Let me tell you something guys, good nums, bad nuns, good priets bad priest's, I would just love to be back there again, where we could walk the streets safely, go to the social clubs, like Moulon Rouge, on Jefferson St, not to mention Bravado and all the rest of the clubs. Kids up the ying yang, playing in the streets, mom's looking out the window's with their pillows watching us. Those to me are days gone by, but never ever forgotton. Wish my kids would have had that simple life. Dad worked, Mom home with the kids, Sunday sauce, visit to Grandpa's, and let's not forget always always, confession and Sunday Mass. By now you probably guessed I'm Italian. Yep, I think back then we all were. I'm 66 now, born in `1946, one of those baby boomers. So you figure it out. Stayed on Jefferson St. until I got married in 1971. Ahhhh, what a life it was...............Mary
P.S. Thanks so much for posting the pictures of St. Leonard's, brought me back to my childhood.

Benita P: 12th Apr 2012 - 22:19 GMT

Mary, what you've said is so true. When I started school at St. Leonard's, we were in the basement with sheets hung between "classrooms." It was an age of innocence in so many ways. We lived on Troutman Street. I remember my mother, God rest her soul, hanging out the third floor window of our apartment building and whistling for us to come home for dinner. No matter what we were doing, we dropped everything and ran home at the sound of that whistle. Sure seems like a lifetime ago. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Charlie D.: 14th Apr 2012 - 13:30 GMT

I also remember playing in Knickerbocker park, I grew up on Melrose at the corner of Knickerbocker. I remember playing in the open fire hydrants, some kids would have a tin can with the top and bottom removed and hold it over the water coming out of the hydrant and create a huge high pressure stream we would run through. One summer a kid got hit by a car that did not see him in the spray and the FD put a lock on the pump. Does anyone remember that decrepit truck that had the carnival ride on the back that would come to the neighborhood? I am surprised none of us got killed on that thing.

Joe D: 14th Apr 2012 - 14:34 GMT

WOW so many memories.My 3 brothers and sister all went to St.Leonards.I went to school with Nicholas Cilla and remember Margaret Newman.We lived at 109 Wilson Ave cor Starr St ...remember the pretzel bakery ?

Ed Eighmey: 14th Apr 2012 - 19:30 GMT

I remember the prezel bakery. My brother, Gary, and I sold them for a while. I lived at 90 Wilson Ave. between Troutman & Jefferson Sts. for 15 yrs. and then on Jefferson St. bet. Wilson & Knickerbocker for 4 yrs. before moving to Ridgewood where I got my very own bedroom!

Joe D: 14th Apr 2012 - 20:30 GMT

Ed Eighmey do you remember the Drogalis brothers ? I am Joe

Margaret Newman Cilla: 15th Apr 2012 - 03:20 GMT

Hi Joe, It"s Margaret . How are you and your family? I guess you know I married Nick (what a surprise). Do you keep in touch with anyone from the neighborhood? Keep in touch. margaret

Joe D: 15th Apr 2012 - 09:40 GMT

Hi Margaret
What started as a simple google search on St Leonards has brought me to this page.And after reading most of the post here it sure did bring back a lot of memories almost all of them good.Growing up the way we did was a lot of fun.......Please tell Nick and Anthony I said hello and I sure do remember their father had a strong throwing arm.....I live in Ct and commute to NYC 5 days a week.....married to a great woman for over 25 years and have 4 wonderful sons age 18-24

Margaret Newman Cilla: 15th Apr 2012 - 18:30 GMT

Hi Joe, It is great to hear from you I will tell both Nick and Anthony you gave your regards. We all live in Florida, Nick and I have a son 37 and a daughter 35. we also have three granddaughters. Anthony and Colleen have one son 29 and their first granddaughter. Looking back then it seemed as though we would never growup. Would not change a thing!

anon ( 17th Apr 2012 - 12:43 GMT

Margaret would you know if Nick or anyone else has any of our class pictures.I lost a lot of stuff in a garage fire years ago and would love to see them.

Joe D: 17th Apr 2012 - 12:44 GMT

Margaret would you know if Nick or anyone else has any of our class pictures.I lost a lot of stuff in a garage fire years ago and would love to see them.

Margaret Newman Cilla: 17th Apr 2012 - 15:17 GMT

Yes he does we have to get my daughter to put them on they are a riot!

Margaret Newman Cilla: 17th Apr 2012 - 15:21 GMT

To all my friends from the old neighborhood, there is a site that Wayne Betz told me about you can find it on facebook just write Bushwick Buddies on the search engine box, it has alot about the old days! Enjoy margaret

Joe D: 17th Apr 2012 - 16:18 GMT

Margaret thats great my wife is driving me crazy.Let me know please.

anon ( 17th Apr 2012 - 23:44 GMT

That old truck that some kids would get on that ride. Not me though! Mary mentioning the Moulon Rouge and Sunday sauce. The johnny pumps and the tin cans. Stoop ball and a game called skayleez. Dodge ball with Billy Fink, wonder what happened to him. The guy coming around and sharpening your knives, anybody remember that? It sure wasn't dull.


kdaglia cilla we: 18th Apr 2012 - 16:37 GMT

Hi Margaret: We lived next dooe to each other in MV. I've bben trying to locate you or Nick.Miss you both

Pittbull 580: 19th Apr 2012 - 21:13 GMT

Do you know we can purchase some champion pitbulls! I have a factory and I'm interested in security dogs. larry d

Joe: 20th Apr 2012 - 18:58 GMT

Quote:"The guy coming around and sharpening your knives".
I especially remember him, he made a racket coming down the street. What was that he was shouting it was something that sounded like "rubber bones" "rubber bones"
I lived at 142 george st between Knickerbocker and Wilson and Dekalb between Myrtle and Evergreen.

About pitbulls: Those are not even dogs and they are only good with there owners. I seen a police office empty 6 shots into one and it would still not release this little girl. It had her by the hip she was bleeding bad we had to smash its jaw with a hammer. Come June 1 You can no longer own them unless you carry 1 million dollars of lieabiliety insurence per animal

Margaret Newman Cilla: I hate pitbulls too.

anon ( 22nd Apr 2012 - 19:13 GMT


Margaret Newman Cilla: I stand corrected. marg.

Joe: 6th May 2012 - 01:47 GMT

Pitbulls and several other man made breeds like them have natural aggressive tendencies are toward other dogs and small animals. They are only protective to thier owners. With these animals once an enzime is "set off" in the brain will fight any enemy to the death. Once this attack enzime is set off nothing can stop it
Many owners love this fact and sense of power and intimidation much like criminals and gang bangers loving guns.

Joe: 6th May 2012 - 21:18 GMT

Sorry Iím not buying any of this.
Owning a pit-bull is like having Mike Tyson or an armed self guided missile in your house. You never know if itís going to go off or who is going to get it.
Every pit-bull attack I have heard of was a so called RHAB RESCUE DOG.
One recently jumped through a living room bay window because it didnít like a UPS driver. (Again a "Sweet loving dog" according to the owner)
These people who believe a wild animal can be "rehab" or domesticated belong in jail along with all the owners. Yes you can tame and control wild animals but its takes 1000s of years to domesticate one.
Pitts, Rotts, Presa Canaros and Mastiffs arenít even considered dogs by experts. Unless one has a private Island of sheep or goats to guard these animals have no good use.
If it were up to me I have all these breeds banned from within 1000 feet of any public acess or sidewalk and require a federal backround check and $5 million a year insurence bond for owners

anon ( screw you

Benita P: 16th May 2012 - 00:31 GMT

I have to admit that I smiled on and off for days when I thought about all the street games we played on those Brooklyn streets. I found a book with game rules and a DVD, to compare our rules to. I bought them for my husband and my brother for Father's Day. I even bought two boxes of Spalding balls for our grandson to add to his gift bags for his fifth birthday. Of course, I kept one for myself! He loves how high they bounce. We played skellzies a few years back and laughed at how much easier it was to bounce around the gameboard years ago.

Janice: 19th May 2012 - 19:38 GMT

I went to St. Leonards school and church. I remember Father Ernie so well. My first grade teacher was Sister Michael Bernadette. My second grade teacher was Sister Joseph Lucille. I can honestly say that I never had any trouble with the nuns. Father Ernie seemed nice. He did give rather long sermons though. Does anybody remember those two nuns. I often wonder what became of them....

Janice: 19th May 2012 - 19:38 GMT

I went to St. Leonards school and church. I remember Father Ernie so well. My first grade teacher was Sister Michael Bernadette. My second grade teacher was Sister Joseph Lucille. I can honestly say that I never had any trouble with the nuns. Father Ernie seemed nice. He did give rather long sermons though. Does anybody remember those two nuns. I often wonder what became of them....

Ed Eighmey: 21st May 2012 - 23:33 GMT

Janice, I also had the same 2 nuns in the first & second grades (1959-60 and 1960-61). I don't know what became of them, however.

Joe: 5th Jun 2012 - 19:41 GMT

My mother worked for the school. She says sheís 99% sure both nuns Bernadette and Melanie left and got married--and one other she cant recall but it was no doubt at least 2 possible 3 of them.
This was when the older nuns running the show started getting really crazy (school coming apart come 1970-71) I had both Bernadette and Melanie grades 1 and 2, they were the only decent nuns qualified to work around children. The rest of the nuns on that first floor belonged in a mental hospital. (I canít speak for the 2nd floor, my parents pulled me out middle of 4th grade. There was simply to much mis-management violence and hostility for kids to get an education. That school went downhill and fell apart really fast (less then a year)
Its some kind of juvenile hall now compleate with armed guards and steel cages around the entry doors & staircases. The armed guard I spoke with would only comment "tis -za a special school"
---Meaning A nuthouse.
Yep makes total sense to any 4th grader from St.Leonards come 1969-70. People who went there in the early 60s have no clue, no comprehend how bad it got.

Joe: 5th Jun 2012 - 23:30 GMT

Just for clarity I think the head boss at the time was this father O'Sullivan (Sullivan spelling). He was never seen in the school only at mass and special events, I donít know what his story was but do remember people afraid to speak up and be "shamed" or treated like lepers by the whole block if they questioned or challanged any clergy. Thats how it was back then.

anon ( 6th Jun 2012 - 13:01 GMT

Does anyone remember the young priest that started around 1968, he was tall, dark hair and good looking. All I remember was the nuns and female students falling all over him.

Ed Eighmey: 7th Jun 2012 - 09:53 GMT

ANON, you're probably referring to Father Bernard Rooney. I understand he left the church and married.

Joe: 8th Jun 2012 - 03:17 GMT

The youngest priest I remember was named Mahoney (or was it Rooney)--1968 is about right. He was kinda hippie like and not like a priest at all.

anon ( 8th Jun 2012 - 23:31 GMT

Father Rooney thats it

charlie pinto: 19th Jun 2012 - 00:46 GMT

and i thought i was the only one that got his ass handed to him in this school.
i was outside clapping erasers one day and when the bell rang i started running back to class...when the principle saw me she made me walk the length of the hallway back and forth twice....ON MY KNEES...i could keep going but i won't...i swore i would never send my kids to catholic school...and i didn't...father Ernie was a drunk and father hecker was banging all those nasty bitches but obviously not good enough...or else they would have been nicer...;)

Ted: 20th Jun 2012 - 18:54 GMT

Dont sweat it Charlie.
Many of those nuns were from orphanages and reform schools; they had mental issues, sexual frustration issues. Sister Georgette and several others were frustrated lesbians. Now add some guilt take sex away from them you get repressed lunatics. Thatís one reason boys and men would set them off so violently. The Catholic Church needs to let its clergy be married and quit trying to reform bad people.
It also has to many crazy rules. I no longer go to church, not even for weddings, christenings and funerals.
I am totally disgusted with what these people hide and allow to go on . My wife wanted to get married in a church to please her family. They would not marry use unless we went on this ďretreatĒ and did all this crazy $$$ costly religious mumbo jumbo. The priest wanted to know all our ďpersonal businessĒ and wanted us to go confess our sins (this sex is sin is BS) and do all this praying and stuff. We took our $$ and went to Las Vegas and had Elvis marry us on the skyride with some tourists. We then threw a party for the familyís at the NY Hall of Science ďGreat HallĒ with a 1964 NY worlds fair theme. We even got the recipe for the waffles and a couple dinosaurs.

Billy J: 21st Jun 2012 - 18:48 GMT

Many of those nuns were from orphanages and reform schools; they had mental issues AND JUST HOW DO YO UKNOW ALL THIS ?

Billy J: Hey Ted do you know how stupid you sound

Ted: 22nd Jun 2012 - 18:42 GMT

Screw you Billy (another defender of the faith)
Its people LIKE YOURSELF that are 50% responsible for some of the horrible things to happened at that place in the late 60ís. Many kids were to afraid-ashamed to tell there parents about abuse BECAUSE of people like yourself who refused to take the blinders off. Those crazy nuns and mother superior ran amuck because they knew that !!
Iím not making this stuff up.
My mother was a teacher there (also Wednesday afternoon catechism) ---She quit then put me in public school when she saw to many things compounded by the churchs money problems. When she started speaking up the nuns treated her really badly and created problems to force her out. It was very "click-ish" you were in the club or you werenít.
Those animals paid my mother peanuts as some priests did NOTHING but drink 12 year old scotch and wine and perform a mass or 2

Ted: 22nd Jun 2012 - 20:24 GMT

Come to think of it this new young priest didnít like what he experienced as well. He was so disgusted he left the priesthood and got married. So did some young nuns

Billy J: 24th Jun 2012 - 01:39 GMT

Listen Ted the Bedwetter if your mother knew of such terrible things and didnt report them then she was just as guilty.Stop crying.

Anon: 25th Jun 2012 - 22:14 GMT

I remember this.
When the local 83pct police (90% Irish Catholic cops at the time) finally believed the parents they paid a visit. By this time the school had been tipped off to the investigation. The detectives were told the nuns and Mother Superior running the school were "transferred" and not available for interviews. The dioceses of Brooklyn lawyer'ed up and refused to co-operate in the investigation. They simply closed the church and school.

Josephine: 7th Jul 2012 - 01:19 GMT

I do not understand any of the derogatory remarks about the nuns at St. Leonard's school My brothers & sisters went to the school including mself. We attended through the years of 1930 through 1950. Yes, the nuns were strict BUT, none of us were hit as stated by others. When my children were born and time to go to school, I sent them to St. Leonard as I was still living in the area. My children attended through the years of 1962 through 1973. All went well except for one mishap with my daughter. One nun was mean spirited and terrified my daughter, BUT, in finding this out, I went up to the convent and had it out with this nun. I will not have anyone terrifying my child and I told this to her. My daughter did graduate and went on to "Christ the King" High School. I am sorry for those that did have their best years turn into horror years. By the way, Does anyone out there know the year that the school closed? Any info about the school will be appreciated. Thanks.

Josephine: By Adding info..............I am Italian

Joe D: 9th Jul 2012 - 18:58 GMT

Josephine there was a lot of physical abuse in the 60's I would never tell my parents because I would get more punishment at home.personally I would not doubt anyone story that is posted here.I graduated in 69

Joe: 16th Jul 2012 - 02:30 GMT

Than you Joe D, Nobody wants to hear and hates the truth.
Those nuns were hell on kids (especialy boys) that were other then German or Irish. They especially hated Italians and Puerto Ricans.
The only exception is the people dedicated just about all there free time to the church, I remember 2 twin Italian girls and there mother who was always working at at that place. They were treated very different (well)
This is why you have 2 very different views here, its part of how those nuts operated and got away with a lot of bad stuff for over 10 years.
When you have such contrasts like that 1/2 the parents refused to beleive the abused kids side, many were beat or punished them a 2nd time for "getting into trouble" .
.. In those days a priest or nuns side of the story weighed out like gold.
I personally have not been to church since age 16 I want o part of it. St.Leonards made me an 100% convinced athiest much like the Jews that survived Hitlers concintration camps.

Joe D: Joe what years did you go to SLS ?

Joe: 16th Jul 2012 - 18:15 GMT

1965 till June 1969 before Hurricane Camille hit.
I then 5th grade at PS 68 in Glendale, graduated JHS 91 in Ridgewood in 1973.

Joe D: 16th Jul 2012 - 18:57 GMT

Joe There is a group called "Bushwick Buddies" on facebook.There are a lot of people from this area/time there.

Maria: 25th Jul 2012 - 11:51 GMT

Joe D, Thanks for the "Bushwick Buddies" info! Great group; so many memories!

Rudy S.: 18th Aug 2012 - 18:09 GMT

Lived at 117 Troutman Street and attended SL School 0F HORRORS between 1956/60. Was also an alter boy for 2-years. I have read all the stories and rebuttals in disbelieve - but can ASSURE EVERYONE THAT IT IS ALL TRUE BECAUSE as I TOO WAS PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ABUSED BEYOND Belief, and carrying to this day dreadful memories. With regard to the catholic church, unfortunately more and more revelations are exposed on a regular basis, and not much has changed (from back-in-the day) because the pervasive pattern of abuse and coverup continues. Other than what has already been said, I can think of no other characterizations to describe the nuns, priests, and of course the infamous SL School/Church, but to reiterate just a few; "abominable bastards," "savages", of "pure evil" directed at us all from the "house of horrors" and the "den of abuse."

Rudy S.

Anon: 14th Sep 2012 - 05:40 GMT

Thatís terrible but sadly true Rudy. Some of those nuns had bad mental problems, likely because some came from orphanages. Some really bad things must have happened to them they should never have been allowed to work with children. There was no screening process or policing. It was like having wolves watch the henhouse.

Benita P: 17th Sep 2012 - 02:27 GMT

Okay, "Uncle." I am truly saddened by the pain and anger that I feel when I read of the abusive accounts of students at the hands of those in charge at St. Leonard's. I wish I could change that experience, but, of course, I cannot. Having said that, I have to admit that I can no longer view this site if we can't agree to focus on something more positive about our experiences there. Nothing is all good or all evil. Some experienced more indifference than others. If I have offended anyone, then I am sorry that you are offended. It is not my intention to offend. I would simply enjoy hearing about so many things involving our community and school. Thank you for the read.

Joe: 23rd Sep 2012 - 00:36 GMT

Sorry your upset Bonita.
The church was a magnificent structure and it had great bazaars in the basement. I honestly just spent 5 minutes trying to remember if there was anything else (nothing) There arenít many good memories for most of us. Especially for most kids that attended the school after 1968. The diocese of Brooklyn turned Leonhard Eppichís masterpiece into a dumping ground for its misfits.
Many who attended in the 1950s have a really hard time with these posts and I totally can understand why it upsets them. If there was a machine that could plug them into my experiences memoryís at that school for 5 minutes it would be so traumatizing hospitalization would be needed.
I wouldnt put that on anybody

Benita P: 26th Sep 2012 - 01:04 GMT

Thanks for the response, Joe. Please don't apologize to me and don't short-change yourself. You did think of some positive things. I only wish that you could magnify that to at least let you feel less hurt by the atrocities you were exposed to. It was a different time then. Most of us were not given a voice to complain. It was a matter of "respect" and being "seen but not heard."
When I attended, the "classrooms" were separated by hanging sheets. I remember several plays that we put on. We would never be able to do some of them in this age of political correctness. In one play, we rubbed blackened corks onto our faces and sang songs like "Old Black Joe" and "Camp Town Races." Now, I would think that it would be perceived as racist (not by me.) Then, it felt more like a tribute.

anon ( 1st Oct 2012 - 22:17 GMT

Hi, My name is Rosalinda Feliciano and I attended St.Leonard's from 1960 -1973.I recognize alot of names here and I was so excited and saddened to read about the school and all of the abuse going on there.Personally, I never experienced abuse from the nuns,but from some of the students because I was Puerto Rican.
I too had Sister Michael Bernadette and Sister Edward John for first and second grade.For third grade,I has a female teacher named Mrs.Gamma.I think that Sister Caroline Esposito was my teacher for 7th and 8th grades.
I am going to look for a class picture that I have somewhere when I was in first grade.
My younger sibling also attende this school and had a friend named Alexandria who was Dominican.My sister's name is Nydia and I think she dated someone named Benedite?? I also remember two brothers. They were Italian and their names were Neal and Sal Sorrentino.Hope this jogs someones memory.:0 I can be found on Facebook by the same name that is posted here.

Nydia Feliciano: 3rd Oct 2012 - 20:09 GMT

Hello: My name is Nydia Feliciano, Rosalinda's sister, I too went to St. Leonard's from 1963 - 1971 and did not experience any abuse except for getting hit on the knuckles with a ruler because some student put clay on the Sister's chair and no one said who it was. But that was it. The guy I dated was Benneti and I also had a friend name Tony Velez who was puerto rican. Benneti was Italian. I have no pictures of the school but was sadden to hear the church was demolished. It was a beautiful church. My parents and I use to go to the Church on Sundays and on Wednesday for religious studies. On Friday's we use to help the nuns clean their house and they use to give us cup cakes for helping out. I use to enjoy that very much. I went to St. Leonards from 1st grade to the eight grade. Yes they were strict but never abusive. This must of been before our time there. So sorry to hear all the sad stories about the abuse and how they chose to keep it in house. I remember Father Rooney, he married a young nun also from St. Leonards, he was very handsome and she was very pretty. So glad to hear he became a laywer and had a family and enjoyed life to the fullest. If anyone remembers me please respond to this website, would love to hear from you. Take care all of you and may you enjoy life now.

anan: 12th Oct 2012 - 03:59 GMT

The nuns working with the kids under 5th grade on the 1st floor were the ones that went nuts. They liked to beat up small kids, especially small boys. They feared the larger boys that were left back a couple times, immigrant Italian boys that were much older and larger and never did homework. I think the 1968-1969 free love and hippie stuff going on at the time really sent some of them conservative completely over the edge. Sister Georgette did "searches" and beat the hell out of me (one of many beatings)for having a bikini photo of Goldie Hawn (Laugh in) in my notebook; those nuns were explosive with rage and frustration.
Who knows? Perhaps they wanted to teach pre-high school classes? Wanted men? Some other issues? They no doubt had serious mental issues.
The mental abuse and terrorizing was far worse then the physical abuse

Dennis: 8th Nov 2012 - 02:05 GMT

Was "Sister Georgette" her full name, and was she a Dominican nun? (If you can please respond also to my e-mail address, Thanks.

Joe: 13th Nov 2012 - 02:23 GMT

Donít know Georgettes last name but she was one of them nuns with the hats and cardboard headbands. Sort of like those Romanian widows commonly seen in Ridgewood in the late 1970s. Had a drawer of assorted red and green logo "right & wrong" paddles, sticks, straps, soapbar's. Dominican nun? Dont know the difference because after St.Leonards I have nothing to do with, no interest in any religion ever again.

Joe: 13th Nov 2012 - 02:38 GMT

Just for clarity: From what I remember all those nuns in the 60's wore the exact same B&W scarify wardrobe. The hats white cardboard tubes were very tall, at least the size of ones forehead with more black scarves draping down. (Not like a winged hat Sally Field wore on TV)

Maria: They were Dominican nuns

Dennis: 14th Nov 2012 - 22:18 GMT

Joe, thanks for the input. I went to St. Pancras in Glendale, and we had Dominican nuns. One of them was Sister Rose Georgette. I graduated from there in 1961, so she was there around that time. I remember her as tough but fair and basically nice, and I doubt that she is the same person as the one you are talking about. By the way, although we had one priest at St. Pancras who was named in the sex scandals, I can't remember a single bad nun in the eight years I was there.

Joe: 15th Nov 2012 - 06:03 GMT

I went to PS91 down the street from St. Pancras (1972)
PS91 was the best school ever. Mr.Dumas was incredable science teacher, and Mrs.Goldberg (art)

Ann: 22nd Nov 2012 - 16:21 GMT

I lived on Willoughby Ave. and went to St. Leonard's from 57-62. Does anyone know what happened to Sr. John Magdeline? She was the meanest, most vicious nun. I had her for 1st & 4th grade. My first day of school was a doozy. I was talking to James Curcio who sat in back of me. Tgat was a huge mistake because Sr. picked me up from my chair by my hair hit my behind and made me stand in the corner. I cried until she let me sit back in my chair. I was terrified from that point forward. First thing every morning we had religion. She would go up and down the rows asking catechism question and those who missed the answer would be called to the front of the class and have their hands whacked with the ruler. I remember she wouldn't let my friend go to the bathroom and made him stand by his chair until he peed himself. If you were late for morning mass she brutalized you. Needless to say I never missed a catechism question, was late for church or talked during class. Talk about having your head hit into the blackboard, in 4 th grade she called this girl up to the front to do a math problem. I remember thinking why us she calling that girl up to the board because Sr. John Magdeline knew that she couldn't do the math problem. Well she started yelling at the girl and the grabbed her by the back of her head and pounded her head into the blackboard. The next day as I was waking to school I saw that girl hiding behind the parked car across the street on Central Ave. Needless to say, that girl never returned to school. I had no idea about the other things that have been posted here, but I remember being terrified of the principal's office. Does anyone remember or know what happened to Sr. John Magdeline?

Ann: 22nd Nov 2012 - 16:26 GMT

Also, I am Italian and my mo told me that when she was a young girl she was not allowed to sit in the pews at St. Leonard's because she was Italian. She told me Italians Had to stand in the back of the church if they wanted to attend mass. This was before St Joseph's was built.

Ann: 22nd Nov 2012 - 16:26 GMT

Also, I am Italian and my mo told me that when she was a young girl she was not allowed to sit in the pews at St. Leonard's because she was Italian. She told me Italians Had to stand in the back of the church if they wanted to attend mass. This was before St Joseph's was built.

Joseph Saccomanno: 25th Nov 2012 - 00:16 GMT

I went there also graduated in 1972 1 through 8.I have a memory like an elephant,it was Peter Mahoney.the princeple was Sister Mary Wolferd I'll never forget her she was mean as hell.Remember Mrs Berry.I to was an alter boy.I also rang the bells awesome remember Sister Jude.I have alot of good memories.Got paddled a few times.I hung out with Tony Velez,they use to call me Soc.If anyone remembers me Im on facebook.I think Father Rooney married Sister Maureen.Nadia I think I remember you,If Im not mistaken you were very pretty.George Haeline & Carlos Guzman were your classmates.George was my best friend, he passed many years ago.His brother who was my classmate patrick just passed 2yrs ago.I have some pictues on my face book page.Look me up.Louie & Sal Sorrentino were in my class Louie & the whole family is in Vegas their on face book also.Does anyone remember the Gold team against the Bue team The whole school participated A-to-M was the Gold team from N-to-Z was the Blue team & the Blue team won,it was in the church basement.

Joseph Saccomanno: 25th Nov 2012 - 02:18 GMT

Had a kid in my class Michael Valenti if my guess is right it was you he left. Mike Antonucci also had the same offer but stayed

Joseph Saccomanno: 25th Nov 2012 - 21:21 GMT

Mabeline you were my girlfriend back then do you remember, I use to go over your house to eat on Bushwick Ave how's your sister Awilda.Your mom always liked me,piching my cheeks.Im on facebook-friend me.It would be nice to talk to you.

Joseph Saccomanno: 27th Nov 2012 - 01:41 GMT

I went to Bishop Loughlin HS in my sophmore year i went to my new religion class to find standing in the front of the room was non other than Sister Edward John she remembered me from St Leonards & she was sweeter than ever it was a pleasure to know her she really cared about the kids she taught.I lived at 105 wilson Ave right around the corner from the pretzel factory.memories

Joseph Saccomanno: 27th Nov 2012 - 01:59 GMT

Hey Joe its me how's your brothers doing Tom use to be my best friend but your dad didn't like me for some reason,Tom said because I didn't wear a shirt in the summer.How's John ,Robert & Patrica?I was pretty torn up on hearing Tom's passing,we had some good times.Where are you living now.

Cathy: 5th Dec 2012 - 00:26 GMT

Hi,Nydia. I remember you & even recall once seeing you in the convent cleaning when I had to deliver something (donít remember what it was) there. I believe you were friends with Michelle Yanni. We probably were in all the same classes, from 1st thru 6th . My family moved to Long Island in Feb of í69. I have to say your experience at St. Leonardís is more benign than many of those here, as well as my own (as I posted in the beginning of this thread). But we are unquestionably, a couple of the lucky ones.

I do not regret attending St. Leonardís. Itís part of my history; part of who I am today. I credit it with providing me with a ceaseless faith that soothes my soul. That being said, I fully believe every single one of the egregious offenses related here. How SAD, SAD, SAD it is that instead of expressing empathy, some of us more fortunate ones, accuse the victims of making up or exaggerating these traumatic events. I will not be part of such insensitivity. I applaud their courage to share the pain. And yes, I pray for them.

Joe D: 5th Dec 2012 - 13:56 GMT

This thread has been running for almost 3 years and a lot of what has been written here is true.I loved growing up in Bushwick and 8 years in St Leonards was one hell of an experience.Some of those nuns were just plain crazy.YEAH I was a troublemaker...... "mischievous" is what my mom called it.In the 7th grade I had walking pneumonia I was out for 4 weeks.The first day back the nun beat the schit out of me because I was talking to a few kids.Crazed frustrated bitches in a robe

Linda B.: 5th Dec 2012 - 22:03 GMT

I also went to St Leonards in the early 60's I have a sister who also went with me. It was just very scary, I remember how mean the teacher Mrs. Gammer, I was a little behind in the work, so they ended up leaving me back. I didn't know they were,(my parents didn't tell me.) At the end of the year she wanted everyone to hand the books back, she then said to the whole class...except for Linda she is left back!!! I was so shocked !!! To this day I remember it like it was yesterday!! I know its not so bad in comparison to the other stories, but I was only 7 years old!!! I also had alot of the nuns everyone talks about, I just want to say I loved living in Bushwick I have good memeories of Brooklyn, I lived on Troutman St. between Central and Everygreen. My building is still up...everything around that building burned down!!

Benita P: 21st Dec 2012 - 04:35 GMT

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year.

Benita P: 31st Jan 2013 - 18:52 GMT

Sister Kevin John is still going strong. God bless her.,8454,8563

Isidore Ruvolo: 2nd Feb 2013 - 13:35 GMT

I attended St Leonard's from 1952 to 1956. I also was an altar boy for four years. Father Dunn was our leader. Are there any members of that class who are still around? I would love to hear from you.

Robert Drogalis: 24th Feb 2013 - 22:28 GMT

My son, Robert Jr. was asking about the church and school I went to when I was his age. I googled St. Leonard's and found this page.

I am amazed by all these horror stories about the nuns. I attended St. Leonard's School '66-'74. I have nothing but great memories of the school and church. Granted it was much different than schools are today, but in my opinion, BETTER! The nuns only punished or mildly disciplined me a handful of times in 8 years. When they did, I had it coming to me. Maybe I wasn't much of a trouble-maker??? I did receive the General Excellence award at graduation!

We grew up better that way, understanding that there would be consequences for poor decisions. Kids today, who get "time-outs" instead of discipline are all screwed up.

The nuns were fun! I remember having snowball fights with them after we would shovel out the convent after snowstorms. The priests were also great! I could talk to them about anything.
I was an altar boy for many years, and even taught religion class for children preparing for the sacraments. I definitely remember how much fun I had ringing the bells!

As I said... Nothing but great memories of St. Leonard's for me! Broke my heart when I drove past there around 7 years ago. I am not calling anyone here a liar. I am sure some of you had bad experiences there, but not me.

I noticed that even my brother Joe D posted some negative stuff on here... But I think he also acknowledged why... Lol

I am currently living in Orlando, FL, very active in Holy Cross Parish, a very devote Catholic, blessed with 6 wonderful children!

Joe: 2nd Mar 2013 - 22:04 GMT

You were in my class Robert, my mom was our 3rd grade teacher she also taught religion class on Wednesdays Those people treated you very well because they considered you as one of them. The nuns especially hated and tormented my mom and myself to the point she had to quit and I had to be removed from the school. It was pure hell

Nydia Guevara: 20th Mar 2013 - 16:26 GMT

Hello Cathy:

I am not sure if I remember you. The only Cathy I remember was one that was friends with a Linda Ross who was always so perfect at school with her uniform and her hair with ribbons. Her mother always took her to school with her little sister also. Her mother was always dressed so nice. I always thought they were rich or something. Let me know if that is you. If it is, I think I saw you at a beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico but was too shy to go up to you back then. I was watching you with a lot of friends in the water. I was also friends with a girl named Olivia, do you remember her? I remember Michelle. I wonder what happened to her? Take care and God Bless. Nydia

Nydia Guevara: 20th Mar 2013 - 16:29 GMT

Dear Cathy:

Just to let you know my name is my married name now, back in St. Leonard's it was Nydia Feliciano.

anon ( 20th Mar 2013 - 23:53 GMT

Hi, Nydia!

Yes, that's me. Only I went by Catherine, of course. My maiden name is Battaglia. I actually was in Puerto Rico this summer, but not Aguadilla. I do remember Olivia, but her surname is on the tip of my tongue. Linda Ross lived on Evergreen, very close to where I lived on Troutman. Her mom always dressed to the nines, even to take out the trash. Her parents were divorced, which was uncommon back then.

It's so cool to connect with someone from so long ago. It's amazing how the memories surface: at times, almost rushing. This thread is a good thing. Believe it. Be well. Catherine

charles d: 2nd Apr 2013 - 19:58 GMT

Isidore do you have a sister Josephine? I had a girl in my class Josephine Ruvolo.

Joe: 17th Apr 2013 - 05:39 GMT

They are looking to sell the building, I may buy it.
If it happens I invite everybody for a last walk through it and take stuff. I have other applications for the property will keep informed.

Wolfgang: 18th Apr 2013 - 10:45 GMT

Report from the newspaper Innbrucker Nachrichten, edition 16.10.1908:
The Tyrolean stained glass company has got the honorable order to make the paintings for the whole windows of St. Leonhards. St. Leonhard is the most important church after the Cathedral from New York. ....
(What a pitty, that the church has been demolished.)
Greats from Innsbruck/Tyrol/Austria

Wolfgang: Sorry, itīs the edition from 16.01.1908

Robert Drogalis: 18th Apr 2013 - 16:49 GMT

Hey Joe, what is your last name? Your Mom's name?
Can't remember 3rd grade... Lol
Why would/did they consider me "one of them" ???
What do you mean? Curious!

Hope all is well!

Robert Drogalis: 18th Apr 2013 - 16:49 GMT

Hey Joe, what is your last name?
Your Mom's name?
Can't remember 3rd grade... Lol

Why would/did they consider me "one of them" ???
What do you mean? Curious!

Hope all is well!

laura: 29th Apr 2013 - 21:54 GMT

Sorry to hear all that many of you went through. I am related to Lou Farino who had the candy store across from the church in the early 1950s and would welcome any memories anyone has of the store (reference to Maria's post above in 2011). Thanks!

Maria: 2nd May 2013 - 02:25 GMT

Laura: The candy store I knew as Farino's was on Wilson Ave. between Starr & Willoughby. I can still remember the long counter & stools which swiveled and if I try really hard, I can almost see Mr. Farino in his white apron mixing egg creams. Once in awhile, my mother would send me in there with a raw egg & Mr. Farino would mix it into a chocolate malted (I hated eggs, so I guess she figured I wouldn't notice it so much in malted milk). My cousin & I would save up our pennies & when we had a quarter we'd buy a Pez dispenser with 5 packs of Pez candy. They were displayed as soon as you walked in. I think, but I'm not sure, there was an older man working in there also. I remember my father sending me in there for cigarettes..Camels, 18Ę a pack. TuttiFrutti ice cream was a favorite in my house & I remember the open quart containers filled to overflowing, without a top, being rushed around the corner before it melted on a hot summer night. Lime, cherry & orange Rickeys were served in tall, thin frosted glasses and when you ordered a malted you got 2 glasses full and a little bit more from the cold metal serving container. The only drawback was the paper straws...sometimes my straw would collapse before I finished, but Mr. Farino always gave me another one.
Your uncle was a very nice man, Laura, and was part of the fond memories of my childhood.
I'll write again if I remember anything else.

Izzy May 3 rd: 3rd May 2013 - 15:15 GMT

Hi Charles,
Yes, my sister is Josephine Ruvolo. I also have a brother, Tony.
Do you know of any other graduates from 1956? What's your last name?


Vin A: 23rd Oct 2014 - 17:28 GMT

Nydia Feliciano and Cathy Battaglia, I was in the same class as you. I don't see any comments on here for over a year. I was hoping to contact each of you. I have been in contact with Vickie Campisi, Elaine Della Torre, Tony Velez, Frank Borg, Dennis Flood, Roseanne Fabrico and yes I do still have contact with Michelle Yanni. If you guys want to contact me that would be

Margaret Newman cilla: 6th Nov 2014 - 17:55 GMT

Has anyone Ben in contact with Vincent gelardi. Please let me know.

Lois : 25th Feb 2015 - 17:53 GMT

I read Janice's comment and I, too, had Sister Joesph Lucille in the third grade. ALso, remember Father Ernie. My brother (James) was an alter boy. I moved to Long Island after completing the their grade in 1959. My brother was in the 5th grade at the time. I remember Sister Joseph Lucille as a sweatheart. She even picked me and another girl to be in the procession of nuns. I think her was June. I was pertrified of my first grade nun, Sister John (I can't remember the rest of her name). Can't remember 2nd grade nun at all. I do know that when we moved to LI we told my Mom and Dad we would never go back to Catholic school again. And I would never put my children in Catholic school. I do not believe in teaching through FEAR!!!

Rosalia Damanti Henry: 25th Feb 2015 - 20:15 GMT

I had Sr Joseph Lucille in 2nd and 4th grades and was disappointed I didn't have her in 6th. She was the personification of what a teacher/sister should be. I looked her up a few years ago and we exchanged Christmas cards for awhile. I hadn't gotten any cards from her in a year or two so I called Amityville, they said she wasn't doing very well. I will always remember her fondly.

Lois : 25th Feb 2015 - 21:34 GMT

I lived on Jefferson St. same block as the church. Do you know anyone from that block? Where in Amityville was St. Joseph Lucille?

Lois : 26th Feb 2015 - 01:11 GMT

Rosalia..I just did some research and Sister Joseph Lucille died in February of 2014 (she was 82) and is buried in Amityville Cemetery for Dominican sisters. I wish I had known she was there I would have visited her. She good teacher and a very compasionate sister.

Lois : 26th Feb 2015 - 01:26 GMT

Ann: I had Sister John Magdeline in 1957 in the first grade or 1958 in the second grade. Do you know anyone else that had her and the correct year she taught 1st grade?

Rosalia Damanti Henry: 5th Mar 2015 - 15:56 GMT

Lois, My cousins lived on Jefferson St. Lorraine was in the same grade as me and Bobby was a year older. Did you know them? Sr. Joseph Lucille was the BEST - the very best Sister I ever had at St Leonards. I'm sorry to hear she passed, but she is no longer suffering.

Lois : 5th Mar 2015 - 20:38 GMT

Their names do not sound familiar. I lived at 176 a few house up from the church on the same side of the street. I was friends with Denise Pullen, Patti and Joann Geneovese. My brother James, who is two years older than me, also went there. I think I had Sister John Thomas in 1st grade. Any of this sound familiar to you?

Donna: 6th Mar 2015 - 03:44 GMT

I was in class with the boy who is spoken about, George. His name was George Dinois. I was friendly with his family. His cousin Brenda Matos, she lived on Noel Street, around the corner from George, I lived at 169 Troutman Street, then I moved to Flushing Avenue, off Vandervoort Street, which was across from Flushing Ave.
I was so young, we were in first grade when George died. I'll never forget that. He was very slow, from what I remember. I believe Sr. Melanie Marie was our first grade teacher. I do remember him being scolded a lot, and I do recall him being pushed at the front of the classroom. I myself, on my first day of school, had my knuckles wacked. We were lined up for lunch, when a classmate offered to take my pencils home to sharpen them. I turned around, at that moment I turned around, I was pulled off the line and brought up front and was told to put my hands out. When I pulled my hands back because I was freightened, I received double wacks with the ruler.

Donna: My first grade year was 1965

Lois : I was in first grade in 1957.

Rosalia Damanti Henry: 7th Mar 2015 - 12:26 GMT

I think their address was 248 Jefferson St - across from the little grocery store that was in the middle of the block.

I was in first grade in 1960.

Cathy : Donna, did you live on Evergreen Ave.?

Cathy : 27th Mar 2015 - 17:23 GMT

Oh, forget my question, Donna. I see you lived on Troutman. I thought you were a different Donna. But my sister may have been in your class. Her name is Linda & I know she had Mrs. Gamma (not sure of spelling) in 2nd grade, I believe.

Benita P: 17th Apr 2015 - 17:04 GMT

I am so sorry to hear that Sister Joseph Lucille passed. She was a wonderful person and teacher. May God rest her soul.
I had Sister John Magdeline, Sister Sean Bernadette, Sister John Beatrice and Sister Kevin John. I did have other teachers, but those are the ones that come to mind foremost. I graduated in 1964.

James: 24th Jul 2015 - 13:33 GMT

I was in first grade and part of second grade at Saint Leonards. I am trying to figure out the exact dates 1959-1960-1961. I rembered being hit by a nun on my knukcles for no reason.

danny santa lucia: 7th Aug 2015 - 00:24 GMT

i attended st

leonards in the mid to late 50's.and went to ps 145 on noll st. Father ernie was the priest at that time. I recall many questioned the morals at that time. True or not I dont know. I do recall the peaceful aura i felt when walking through the sanctuary. I lived at 96 Morgan Ave.owned by Mr. and Mrs Mandel who had a candy store on the ground level. My brother Billy
bought the store in 1960. I am hoping someone would remember my family. Sisters-Marie(Dolly) Diana, Jaqnet, twinns, Rita and Rhoda, Jaunita(Babe). Brothers Billy and Nicky (Jumior).FRiends included Phil Janazzo, Lenny Abruzzo, Vito Gennaro,Nancy Mastretta, Bobby Paulon. We would get our pizza at Rock St. Pizzaria. Berkys bakery plant and Joyva halvah were down the street on Ingrahm Ave. Another close friend was
Carl Giacalone. If anyome can help me please contact me on
danny santa lucia. Thank you all.



Doug W.: 10th Aug 2015 - 07:30 GMT

About 1983 I visited a St. Leonard's Church with Father William Scrill, who had been ordained there. When he saw the condition of the inside of the church, he cried. I don't recognize the building from the photographs as I had thought it was surrounded by apartment buildings, according to my best recollection. Father Scrill (who lived out east in Calverton and was on Nassau County's prison rehabilitation staff for about 15 years after leaving the clergy) returned to the clergy soon after meeting me, for both financial reasons and having found secular life unfulfilling and not as productive (in terms of successful convict rehab). He told me that there had been riots (anti-German) outside the church during World War I, so as this was originally a German parish, I think I have the right place. We visited the Green-Wood Cemetery later that day as I had a special request that he helped me fulfill. Father Scrill's first assigned parish had been Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, in which Francis Ford Coppolla had his very first theater experiences. I'm sorry the church was demolished. Father Scrill showed me the high small and narrow, long areas above the church main area where children would crawl into and sing to represent heavenly voices.... pointed out only, we did not go to any level past the main nave floor. Pigeon feathers and poop adorned the statuary and floors, which made Father Scrill tearfully upset. He died about 1992, suffering a heart attack on the steps of the Greenport Church, his last assigned parish, a while after Sherriff Finnerty had him removed from the Riverhead Jail office he occupied as part of the Prison Team Ministry for Rockville Centre. When I went to Patchogue Library to search for his obituary in Newsday, and requested about three years of microfilm and paper (I've forgotten... that may have been about 1996 or so) records, I was surprised that I found the obit very quickly, as if guided by some unseen hand.....about the third newspaper or month of papers had it.

Doug W.: 10th Aug 2015 - 07:55 GMT

Father Scrill died May 1, 1998 according to, so I must not have researched at Patchogue Library until 1999, shortly before I moved from Long Island & New York State.

Gregoria Echevarria: 29th Oct 2015 - 23:57 GMT

I went to St. Leonards from 1966 to 1973. I was asked to leave the school because I took one pill that made me sleepy that one of my classmates gave me. The nuns said I was a drug addict and had my parents remove me from the school and church. All my brothers and sisters went to St. Leonards from 1965 to 1975. My sisters were Rosemary and Sophie. Brothers Jack, Richard and Jacob. Jack was in the same class as Tony Velez and Frank Borg. I was in the same class as Brenda Matos. I was pretty shocked to read these things that happened in our school. I have some memories of being hit on my knuckles with a ruler.

annonymous: 16th Dec 2015 - 00:30 GMT

I attended St. Leonard's as a worshipper. The very first time my mother took me into this church I cried and cried. the inside was massive and very dark. I pleaded with my mother, "please lets go home, I don't want to be in here I am scared." She told me to be quiet. I said "No I want to go home." I was only a young girl but the tears of fear were very, very real. The church was always dark and eerie like a dungeon and the ceramic statues way up on the pillars were very, very scary looking down. I sensed an eerie presence of an entity in that structure and it was anything but holy. I experienced the wrath of one of the nuns one time in that church during the summer when it was opened as a day camp. The nun singled out one boy who was laughing or talking too loud during a lunch break. That nun reprimanded him in front of everyone including the priest who won her approval. Well let me tell you that boy did not return and within one week that I was there I decided to leave. So the first opportunity I got, I ran out the side door as fast as I could without looking back. I told my parents that the camp was over. no one came looking for me either. I did not bother to return. I was about 11 years old. Today I am a born again Christian and attend a beautiful Christian Church where the people are like family. I attend Sunday School and reading God's word. There are no nuns or priests to ridicule or reprimand. There are people like you and me who praise the lord and worship Jesus freely. We are born again Christians. We focus on God's plan of salvation, the real reason why Jesus came down to earth. He gave his life as a sacrifice so that we may live. Hallelujah. may you all find your own path to Jesus and to focus on his redemption. God bless and be with you.

Bob Gorman: 8th Jan 2016 - 18:30 GMT

Just found this site and the comments from Mary Aguanno-Montaldo in 2012. I lived across the street from you at 234 Jefferson St and remember you well.
Your comments brought back very fond memories.
Those truly were great times
Spent Saturdays at Knickerbocker Park.
Went 8 years to St. Leonard's then onto Most Holy Trinity HS
Wonderful times - Brooklyn and Jefferson St. in the 50's & 60's.

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