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History of Little Flower

Education has always been the key to success for Little Flower's children!  It all began on January 2, 1931, when Father Bernard J. Quinn began a parish for African American Catholics on Jefferson Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  The parish of Saint Peter Claver became the center of a religious and social apostolate to the Black people who came to Brooklyn and Queens. 

Throughout the roaring twenties, and the depression of the thirties, thousands of people would attend a novena or prayer service in the name of Saint Therese Martin. To overflowing crowds, Father Quinn spoke of his desire to help homeless children.  With the generous contributions of his parishioners, a farm at Wading River was purchased, and placed under the protection of Saint Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus.  Father Quinn recruited Thomas E. Murray, Jr. of a prominent Brooklyn family, to serve on the Board.  The Little Flower House of Providence was built and dedicated by Archbishop Molloy in 1930.

Father Quinn had written to Mother Katherine Drexel and asked her to sent the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to conduct a school. "Mother Drexel," as she was known, was the founder and leader of this community of Sisters.  Mother Drexel agreed to staff this important ministry and The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament arrived at Wading River late in December 1930 to open a school.

The Little Flower House of Providence became a reality.  The school opened on January 2, 1931 with nine students in a newly decorated large convent building.  Because the number of students grew rapidly, a new facility was needed.  In September of 1932, the Sisters were ecstatic to move into their own school--a four-room schoolhouse...

Through the years, the growing educational needs to troubled children of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds led the school to become a union free school district by legislation introduced in the New York State Assembly by Assemblymen Perry Duryea and in the New York State Senate by Senator Leon Guiffreda.  The bill was signed into law on May 8, 1972 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller.  The district presently serves approximately one hundred students in a intensive twelve-month program.

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