Memorial for St Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church parishioners who passed away and that will be never forgotten by their community in New York.
Ellen Kieran Hagan was born in the tiny village of Drumass, Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland on September 28th, 1920. She was the daughter of Rose and Michael Kieran and one of seven children. She grew up in a two room Irish cottage and worked alongside her family on their farm. It was there that she was first instilled with the virtues and dignity to be found in hard and honest work, virtues that stayed with her throughout her long life.
At the age of 19, word came from America that her beloved Aunt Mary Breen, who emigrated from Ireland earlier, had saved enough money to sponsor one of the Kieran children to take up a new life with her in New York. Despite her love for home, Ellen eagerly embraced the opportunity. She later recalled being told that the streets of New York were paved with gold and the young girls were all attired in silk dresses. And so she said a melancholy but confident farewell to Inniskeen and followed in the footsteps of so many before her in sailing “across the broad Atlantic” to the shores of America.
Ellen quickly acclimated to her exciting new life on the West Side of Manhattan and loved to attend the Irish dances that were so prevalent then. But she soon discovered that no gold bricks were to be found on the streets of the City and so she found employment as a cashier in the Schrafft’s restaurant chain. There she put to good use her lifelong skill at managing money. Her sharp brain was always a good match for even the most modern computer!
It was at Schrafft’s that she soon caught the eye of a fellow employee. John Hagan was a handsome red-haired Irishman, himself the child of Irish immigrants. The romance soon blossomed and they were wed on June 11th, 1949.
John and Ellen settled down on East 76th Street in Manhattan, eventually bringing with them Ellen’s beloved Aunt Mary, who she was lovingly devoted to until her passing in 1966. Their family grew to include their two sons and a daughter, making for a very happy life indeed.
Sadly, in 1968 tragedy struck with John’s sudden and unexpected passing at the age of 46. Despite her devastation, Ellen’s deeply religious faith never waivered, and she prayed to find a way to somehow carry on her life. Shortly thereafter, that way came when she was offered the opportunity to work for the Parish of Saint Jean Baptiste. She was employed first in the office of Saint Anne’s Shrine and later as the Parish Secretary, a position she held with great pride until retiring (with some measure of hesitation) at age 95. She cherished her wonderful relationship with the Saint Jean Baptiste Parish Community, where she attained iconic status and where she will always be loved and admired.
In her legendary career as Parish Secretary, Ellen had the honor of meeting such celebrities as former President Nixon, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the singer Bono, her dear friend Cardinal O’Connor, and so many famous celebrities from around the world. She also would be visited daily by the hungry and destitute seeking assistance from the hardships of life. No matter their station in life, Ellen treated everyone she met with the same dignity and respect. She neither bowed down to anyone nor looked down on anyone, and she had no use for arrogance or pretense.
Ellen was predeceased by her beloved husband, parents and siblings. Left to cherish her memory are her children, John, Edward (Karen) and Roseanne Hagan-Laverty (Patrick); her grandchildren, Daniel Hagan, Erin McNamara (Patrick) and Eileen Laverty, and her many nieces, nephews, and their families, in America, Ireland and England.
In lieu of flowers, Ellen would have greatly appreciated contributions to her beloved Shrine of Saint Anne at Saint Jean Baptiste Church.
To donate to St. Anne’s Shrine in honor of Ellen Hagan, please make a check payable to Eglise St. Jean Baptiste and note on the check
Send to: St. Jean Baptiste Att: Lennix Lewis 184 East 76th Street New York, NY
Rosemary, a gracious and generous-hearted lady, left us on July 2, 2020 at the age of 99. She was a gifted teacher, author, Dickens scholar and lover of the arts who attended Caldwell College and received her Masters degree from Fordham University.
She taught in the NYC school system and in 1983 she was honored as Manhattan’s Teacher of the Year. After her retirement in 1990, she taught the classics and creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College’s School of Continuing Education and was Adjunct Professor of Communications at NYU where she later taught literature in their continuing education program into her 90s. Rosemary was the recipient of several Fellowships in World Literature, published extensively in literary journals and wrote a book on classical literature, as well as co-authored eight English as a Second Language textbooks with her dear friend, Judith Kay, published by St. Martin’s Press and Cambridge University Press.
Rosemary was a world traveler, but NYC was her home. She volunteered her time in many innovative ways, conducting creative writing classes with homebound adults by conference call and teaching English skills to workers at a local supermarket chain.
She lived for her faith, her country and her love of people. Her brilliance, wit, generosity and kindness brought joy to all who knew her. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
A remarkable force of life and energy, Richard Lopez, who passed away on June 21, 2020 will be remembered for many talents. An award-winning titan of the ad world in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, he was a creative director admired for his vision and distinct design sense.
He began his association with St. Jean’s in 1971 using his musical talent as the director and guitarist in the weekly folk mass. His connection with our church would last for the rest of his life. St. Jean’s was the site of his wedding in 1973 to Barbara O’Dwyer, the baptism of his son and granddaughters as well as their first communions. A 2001 book on the church’s restoration and history, on which he collaborated with his wife and Pastor John Kamas, is a showcase of the art and beauty of our national landmark.
He devoted decades of his time and skills to design work for Eglise St. Jean Baptiste. The church logo––which is the first thing you see when you open this website––is his design. His touch is on so many things: stationery, posters, fliers, fundraising booklets, invitations, the weekly bulletin, website consultation, even coffee mugs, among other things.
Music was always the backdrop for his life. In his later years he turned to composing music for piano in the romantic style, publishing an album of his work in 2002 and continuing to write until the final year of his life.
He was a wonderful husband and father who will be deeply missed by his wife, Barbara; son, Damon; daughter-in-law, Kendra and granddaughters Evelyn and Nina.
His legacy will be felt and cherished forever.