By Katie Mahon, Communications Manager
In the early months of 1899, the fallout from the Spanish-American War occurred as the United States received the Philippines, Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico as a result of the Treaty of Paris, and Americans, even in southern Florida, were hit with the Great Blizzard of 1899 experiencing freezing temperatures and snow.
During that time, Mother Mary Ann and the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, cared for the most vulnerable children of New York City.
Up to 1899, the Sisters of Holy Rosary Convent, Second Street, in their kindness, provided a reception house for the children coming to Blauvelt - first, St. Mary Magdalen's Convent on Seventeenth Street and, later, St. Boniface's Convent on Forty-Seventh Street.
Due to the rising numbers of children in need, an increased effort to house needy children from the courts in lower Manhattan, along with the need as an independent community to have their own reception house, the Sisters of Saint Dominic purchased a house on 461 East 57th Street in New York City in March 1899. This house would become the Convent of Saint Catherine de Ricci, a reception house of the newly formed congregation.
After buying the property in March, the congregation converted the house into the convent and reception house for children, which opened in May of 1899.
Sisters M. Suso Marshall, M. de Ricci Mullen, M. Albertina Keogh, M. Sebastian Lull, and M. Gertrude Marshall all lived and ministered at the Convent of Saint Catherine de Ricci.
These sisters would go on to serve kindergarten students at the convent, as well as give private music and art lessons to those who were interested. Their ministries would help make the Convent of Saint Catherine de Ricci a self-supporting property.
The Saint Catharine de Ricci Convent would serve multiple purposes for the Blauvelt congregation for over two decades, including being a reception house for any children transitioning into the care of the sisters and a school.
In the official Congregation Archives, the property was reportedly sold sometime between 1920 and 1923.