Helen Garvey: The sisters loved one another, so she joined

Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Helen Garvey. (Submitted photo)

Helen Garvey
Member of: Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lives in: Dubuque, Iowa

D'Arienzo: Where and with whom did grow up?

Garvey: I grew up in Hempstead, Long Island. My father, Clarence Garvey, was born on the east end of Long Island on a potato farm with his 13 siblings. My father's era contrasts sharply with the current reality of the east end which has become somewhat a playground for the rich. My mother and her one brother belonged to an upper class Irish family in the Bronx. My parent's marriage was an interesting blend of cultures which later included the devastation of the depression during which my parents lost the farm. They were both active in parish life and my mother was an extraordinarily spiritual person blessing our home with a spirit of prayer.

Our four aunts enriched our family life with their presence and care. These single schoolteachers had a large vision for their nieces and nephews, education, education, education which at 13 or 14 years of age, we did not fully appreciate. Instead of dolls and baseballs, they brought us flashcards and books stamped, 'Brooklyn Board of Education, do not remove from school under possibility of prosecution.'

Our summers always included a few weeks at my aunts' home in Cutchogue, Long Island. With our cousins, we did the summer things of swimming, playing ball, and of course working those flash cards.

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