Nuns and students make pilgrimage for school reunion

Photos by Sam Spokony
Nuns of the Sisters of Charity and former students reunite, from left: Sister Kathleen Gibmargia; Charlie Mirisola, St. Joseph’s Academy class of ’70; Vivian Cardia, ’66; Sister Miriam Helen; Mark Cunningham, ’66; Sister Nora Hearty; Sister Genevieve Wentmore; Sister Patrick Regina Sullivan; and Sister Connie Brennan.

BY SAM SPOKONY  |  It wasn’t your run of the mill reunion.

Charlie Mirisola, a lifelong Greenwich Village resident, organized the gathering last Saturday of around 100 former students of St. Joseph’s Academy School, which taught kindergarten through eighth grade before closing in 1974.

Now the building, at 20 Washington Square North, is rented by a senior center for the Greenwich House community service organization, but the space is still owned by the Riverdale-based Sisters of Charity convent, which staffed the St. Joseph’s grammar school all those years ago. When Mirisola, who graduated in 1970, found out that the nuns still own the place, he took a trip up to the Bronx, he said, in order to ask for their permission to hold a reunion for students who had graduated between 1954 and 1974. After taking some time to think it over, the nuns didn’t just give the O.K. for a party — some of them agreed to travel down to the Village and join in.

Mirisola was also proud to say that, although he and many other former students are still New Yorkers, some reunion attendees had come from as far away as Seattle and Southern California to reconnect with familiar faces and recall treasured memories of the school.

“It’s fantastic,” Mirisola said on Saturday after chatting with some old friends. “It’s the first time we’ve all been back in all these years. And right after we got here, a bunch of us walked straight in to find the first-grade classroom, just to see it again.”

Outside the front door, Mirisola also joked about some of the more embarrassing memories — like when the nuns used to make him stay for detention after class.

“Remember, the gate that used to open over there?” he asked a group of former classmates, laughing and pointing toward the sidewalk. “My poor grandmother had to wait so long for me, on all those days when Sister Monica kept me late.”

From left, Gerry Robilotti, St. Joseph’s Academy class of ’54; Vincent Lupiano, ’54; Paula Lupiano, ’59; Carole Bartone, ’57; Angela Pietropinto, ’57; John Chimera, ’54; Valarie Santopietro, ’57; and Christine Esposito, ’58.

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8 Responses to Nuns and students make pilgrimage for school reunion

  1. Bob Migliardi, 1960

    Wish I'd known about this in advance! I would gladly have travelled down from Ottawa, where I now live!

    • Bob – There is a Facebook group page you can join for future announcements – search for "St. Joseph's Academy – Washington Sq.". Also, we have photos posted – past and present.
      If you're not on Facebook, you can email and we will add you to our email list.
      Hope this helps. See you next time!
      Sandra D'Alfonso Mole', 1964

      • Sally Garvey Perez

        Hi Sandra!
        I just found this page on the web. The last time I saw you was when you moved to Dumont, NJ. I remember going to your house on Thompson St. after school next to your father's statue factory. I hope to attend the next gathering and reunite in the future.

        Sally Garvey Perez, Class of '64

        • Sally!!!! Oh my gosh – I was trying to find you online last year before the reunion. Are you on Facebook? If not, my email is: Write me there. So happy to hear from you after all these years.

  2. I traveled from VT for the reunion and am glad I did. Seeing that the stage, library, gym and classrooms have shrunk; my 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade teachers have remained the same, and my classmates have become amazing adults was an unforgettable experience. Thanks, to Charlie, Marc and all the other organizers.

  3. What a pleasure to walk the Village, see the site of a school that had many fine memories for me and, of course, to re-connect with so many friends and teachers. Yes a big thanks to the organizers.

    • Sally Garvey Perez

      Hi Joan!Did you graduate in 1964? If so, your dad took us to see the Dave Clark Five om the Ed Sullivan Show. I took a picture inside the studio (still have it). Ed Sullivan yelled at me. Hope to see you one day.Sally Garvey Perez, Class of '64

  4. Sally Garvey Perez

    Sorry,Joan.I think it was Lynda Orlando's father who took me to the show.Hope you are well!

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