Responding to a Neighborhood Need
By Sister Kathleen Quinn, RSM
Founding Executive Director
During the Centennial celebration of 1994-5, the Sisters of Mercy had hung banners outside the convent building proclaiming "100 Years of Prayer and Presence", which was to honor the dedication of the convent chapel. I wondered what the extent of our presence in the neighborhood was. My leadership Team members asked me to inquire about an unmet that we could fund for this anniversary year from the local church Pastoral Team. Their response was "an After School Program for the children of the newly arriving immigrant families". As the saying goes, "the rest is history". After meeting with the church leaders we decided that we would name the program in honor a devoted parishioner, Dorothy Bennet, as well as including the word "Mercy" as part of its name.
As I reflect on the hundreds of children, families, and adults who have passed through the doors of the Dorothy Bennet Mercy Center over the past 20 years, I never doubted that our efforts would bear fruit. The response to our financial appeal from the sisters and our friends was unbelievable. Somehow, it seems as if this was an idea waiting to happen. For the neighborhood, it was an opportunity to witness our Order's vow of service to the needy in action. For the Sisters of Mercy, it was a challenge and a privilege to respond and to establish a new ministry.
I am very grateful for my years of shepherding this small program as it grew from an After School Program to Adult Education and Community Outreach. If our foundress, Catherine McAuley, would be able to visit DBMC, I am sure she would give her enthusiastic approval.
Dorothy Bennett Mercy Center is named in honor of Dorothy Bennett, a deceased member of St. Lucy - St. Patrick's Parish. The Girl Scout troop she founded as one of her many activities had a special place in her heart. In addition to regular meetings, she involved the scouts in many activities that benefited Mercy Home and the neighborhood. A gentle woman, she cared about everyone. In her work as Executive Secretary for the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy, she was unfailingly gracious to all who called for information or assistance. She tightened her bond with the community by becoming a Mercy Associate.
This Center is dedicated to her memory.
In the beginning...
Sr. Kathleen and Tony selected the site for the Center's new home.
Foundation is laid and the first floor is
A safe and enriched program opens its doors to neighborhood children
Blessing of the Center
Dorothy Bennett's family with Bishop Daily and Sister Kathleen
Dorothy Bennett Mercy Center cordially invites you to the Blessing of the New Site
Thursday, April 30, 1998 at 4:30 PM by Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily DD at The Convent of Mercy Garden
Entrance 249 Classon Ave. Brooklyn
Reception - Auditorium followed by blessing
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people without whose hard work and creativity Dorothy Bennett Mercy Center would not have become what it is today:
Former Board Members: Sister Terry Agliardi; Cherry Blake (R.I.P); Sister Eileen Marie Corrigan; Marilu Cruz; Marie Corkhill; Duancy Cruz; Geraldine Flaherty; Sister Mary Franciscus (R.I.P); Sister Noel Grygorewicz; Sister Lenore Guirreri; Sister Sharon Kelly; Rev. Stephen Lynch; Rosario Lopez; Dorothy Phillips; Beatriz Rodriguez (R.I.P); Rev. Frank Shannon; Horace Williams; Susanna Zafra
Sister Helen Anne Ebbitt; Ann Falutico; Sister Brenda Gorman; Sister François McCarthy (R.I.P); Sister Marjorie McHugh; Beatrice Ponnelle; Betsy Rodriguez; Sister Regina Shelley (R.I.P); Doris Watson; Sister Lourdette O'Keefe