FROM THE ARCHIVES
In 1989 The Buffalo News’ Religion Reporter, Dave Condron, wrote an article in connection with the annual Catholic Charities Appeal. The article featured our own S. Ritamary Fuest who, at the time, was working at the Holy Innocents Day Care Center. Ritamary had been working there for several years and cared for those in the youngest group (2-18 months).
The Center was one of 64 sites providing services under the aegis of the diocesan Catholic Charities. It was the largest of three day-care centers operated then by the diocese and was located in the former St. Mary of Sorrows Elementary School at 30 Rich Street in Buffalo. The center accepted children between the ages of eight weeks and five years old.
In 1989 there was a waiting list of over 150 children whose parents were hoping to get them into the center which already housed 100 children. Monsignor John Conniff, then diocesan director of Catholic Charities, noted in the article that officials felt that, despite the need, they were operating at capacity and that to accept additional children would not be wise. “We think that is about all we can handle on the first floor of that building. If we get beyond that, it will be hard to maintain the quality,” he was quoted as saying.
S. Ritamary explained that even though the children for whom she was responsible were very young, they received a lot of attention. “People think they sleep, get changed and get bottles. But there are lots of activities.” She went on to list some of them: a variety of “art activities” for those a bit older, outdoor rides in a six-passenger, seatbelt-equipped wagon, and “music lessons.” The latter she said was when “they all cry at once.”
Holy Innocents Day Care Center opened on Dodge Street in 1970 and then was moved to Rich Street. S. Ritamary ministered there from 1985-1997 and later continued to work with young children in the Montessori Program at Stella Niagara Education Park 1999-2011.
Looking back twenty-eight years to her time at Holy Innocents, Ritamary said, “It was a good time. I enjoyed every minute working with the little children!”