I am Irish in spirit, for the beautiful Irish people nurtured me at St. Patrick’s School on Kent Avenue in Clinton Hill from l959 – l967. It was a time of “Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Harrigan,” and “That’s An Irish Lullaby,” for the Irish Sisters of Mercy loved to sing and to stage beautiful musical plays each year in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.
The "Good Sisters" were holy, loving, intellectually versatile and “old school," a
school of Catholic inclusion in education. Their habit of dress was beautifully black with some white, adorned with a rosary and crucifix.
And then there were the Irish Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn. The Franciscan Brothers were truly our "big brothers" since they were always there to guide us and to chastise us in the strictest sense of the word. The classroom resonated with a Franciscan ambience of poverty, humility, and charity.
And finally, may I honor the memory of those Irish priests of St. Patrick's Church, particularly the Reverends Stedman and Cullinane, who taught me how to pray in Latin as an altar boy.
And in memory of my Irish uncles, Edward Francis Griffin and Jack Wilkinson. May they rest in eternal peace.
Joseph N. Manago