MISSION & HISTORY
Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, rooted in the Catholic tradition and guided by the lives of Saint Therese Lisieux and Saint Peter Claver, transforms caring into action to deliver services, programs and direction to improve the lives of children in crisis, families and the developmentally disabled.
In 1927, Father Bernard J. Quinn, Pastor of St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, purchased a 122-acre farm in Wading River, NY, on the shores of the Long Island Sound with the intention of opening an orphanage for homeless black children on the property. The money came from funds received from his parishioners, the St. Therese Novena Devotees and a bequest from Mother Katherine Drexel.
The institution was named the Little Flower House of Providence for Homeless Colored Children and was chartered by the State of New York in June of 1929. On August 10, 1930 the first two boys arrived at Little Flower under the care of the Black Community of Brothers and so it began.
The institution continued to expand during the 30's with the creation of an elementary school and "Camp Claver", a summer camp for underprivileged city children in need of a summer vacation and respite from inner-city life. The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament came to care for and teach the children followed by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who remain active on campus today.
After Monsignor Quinn's death, Monsignor J. Raymond Campion was appointed by Bishop Molloy to act as rector of St. Peter Claver's Church and the Little Flower House of Providence. He gave himself full time to developing the agency and separated Little Flower House of Providence from Saint Peter Claver. One of his first official acts was to inaugurate a campaign to secure funds for the erection of a Chapel at Little Flower, which he accomplished, and named it the Monsignor Quinn Memorial Chapel. The Chapel still stands today and serves as alocation for religious services, school celebrations and agency gatherings. Monsignor Campion worked tirelessly for the agency until his death in 1958.
Monsignor John T. Fagan began his long history with Little Flower during the summer of 1945, volunteering as a counselor and lifeguard at Camp Claver summer camp. After being ordained a priest spending some time doing parish work, he was asked by the Bishop to head up the Little Flower agency at the age of 33. Under the direction of Father Fagan, Little Flower grew into one of the largest children's services agencies in New York State. Fagan's inherent connection to the needs of children and families allowed him and the agency to respond to a variety of societal needs of the time.
In 1982, Little Flower was among the first to open a community-based residence for the developmentally disabled near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Later a family care program was developed for disabled adults and additional adult residences were later opened in Queens and Long Island. In 1986, the crisis of "boarder babies" came upon the child welfare scene in New York. An advertisement in the New York Times, placed by Father Fagan, appealed for temporary families to meet the needs of this emergency. The appeal led to over 1,000 responses and the "Little Guys Project" eventually provided family placement for over 2,670 children by the time the crisis ended in 1991.
Monsignor Fagan led the agency for 42 years until his death in 2006.
Today we are known as Little Flower Children & Family Services of New York. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same as we continue to provide a multitude of programs and services to help children, families and disabled adults of all ethnic backgrounds and religions on Long Island and across New York City.