The doorbell rang...
The boys at Holy Family School, Hicksville, New York, knew to ring the convent bell only once and wait. It was almost a city block from the kitchen to the front door and one of the Sisters would open the door so the boys could get into the gym. But this evening, the doorbell rang not once, not twice, but three times!
It was December 5, 1972, the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas. Sister Sheila Marie O'Regan (RIP 2021) intended to remind the boys about the bell. But when she opened the door, she saw nothing in sight except a tiny bundle at her feet. Sister discovered that the bundle had a tiny arm sticking out which belonged to a newborn baby boy.
Sister Sheila's cry brought the other Sisters to the front door. There was much excitement. A neighbor who had a young baby was called, as well as the parish priests, Father Sullivan, and Father Costa. Finally, the police and emergency services were called. In a few minutes, the large parking lot of Holy Family was filled with ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, and of course, concerned, and curious neighbors.
The baby boy, thought to be about six hours old, was brought to Nassau County Medical Center. The Sisters went to visit him the next day, but the baby was gone. The Sisters wrote letters to the Long Island Press asking the mother to come forth and Birthright of Long Island offered to assist the mother, but no one answered the letters.
Months passed. The baby, called "Nicholas" by the Sisters, was very much in their thoughts and prayers.
And then again, the doorbell rang...
A pleasant, smiling lady was at the door and she was holding a baby boy! This was Nicholas' foster mother who had been notified that Nicholas was going to his adoptive home very soon. He was chubby, with brown eyes and dark hair. He was affectionate and happy.
The "baby" is fifty years old and will be fifty-one on December 5. I wish I could tell him that he has been thought of and prayed for by those Sisters at Holy Family his entire life. Perhaps he knows.
Whether a doorbell or the dream of an angel, we are all invited in Advent to open the doors of our hearts and welcome those in need.
– Sister Kathleen Gorman, OP
Sister Kathleen serves as the Archivist for the Sparkill Dominicans.