Memories from Joan Miller

Memories –

My brother & I arrived at Sacred Heart Home in November 1950.  If I remember correctly the main house was used as the convent and to board the girls; while a smaller building served as the rectory and to house the boys.  There was a barn, which we were forbidden to go into.


Boys were always separated from the girls.  This was especially distressing for my brother and I at 4 yrs old.  Even in later years when the pool was built, a special time was allotted for each group to go swimming.


Days were planned according to a strict schedule and I recall that a loud bell designated every change of event; such as waking in the morning, church, breakfast, school, etc.


Punishment was doled out frequently to any disobedience.  On numerous occasions, we were told the world was coming to an end.  This tactic worked wonders in getting children to obey.


Outsiders attended school there, but would then leave and go home.  How we envied them!  I remember every night going back to our classrooms to do homework.  When report cards were handed out, Mother Alfreda would call us up to the desk.  I thought for every “A”, we were given a nickel.  My brother thinks it was just one nickel if you had an “A” on your report card.   Does anyone else remember this?


There wasn’t much of a social life at the home since we were not allowed off the premises.  The playground had a long cemented run for roller-skating, which was fun along with ice-skating on the pond when it froze over.  Although the playground offered enjoyment, we could not go to the movies, walk to the corner store, go bowling or to dances, anything that most children take for granted.   Occasionally, a movie was brought in.  I especially liked the operettas with Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy.  Seeing these started my love of opera.  However, if a movie had any kissing, the nuns would hold their hands over the projector so the kissing scenes couldn’t be seen.  Funny!


Sure the home was spotless and we helped keep it that way by scrubbing, dusting, and polishing.  After ending up in the hospital a number of times with bad cases of poison oak/sumac, I finally was given a reprieve for having to pick up rocks and pull weeds.


I think the discipline we received during our stay is something most children will never experience and created a very different, hard, childhood.  The isolation made me very shy after leaving, but it did create a good work ethic in me. I visited the home often after we left and especially enjoyed visiting on Donation Day.  A few times, I would visit the nuns who went to stay in Reading after the home closed.  It was interesting to see the changes in the home itself and the rules, which appear to have relaxed over the years – which was good news!

Pancho from The Cisco Kid visits the Sacred Heart Home and School, sometime before 1961!

Pancho from The Cisco Kid visits the Sacred Heart Home and School, sometime before 1961!

Pancho (Leo Carrillo) from The Cisco Kid

Pancho from TV series- Cisco Kid Leo Carrillo

Pancho from TV series- Cisco Kid
Leo Carrillo

Screenshot 2014-04-08 07.56.06

TV Series (1950–1956) The Cisco Kid and his English-mangling sidekick Pancho travel the old west in the grand tradition of the Lone Ranger, righting wrongs and fighting injustice wherever they find it.

Another star who took time out of his busy schedule to visit the lonely kids at the Sacred Heart Home and School.

Leo Carrillo (Pancho) was born on August 6, 1881 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He was an actor, known for The Cisco Kid (1950), Viva Villa! (1934) and Phantom of the Opera(1943). He was married to Edith Haeselbarth. He died on September 10, 1961 in Santa Monica, California. He married Edith Haeselbarth (1940-1953) and had one daughter Antoinette

Leo Carrillo State Park and Leo Carrillo beach, both in California, were named after the actor, who also served on the State Park and Recreation Commission. He was related by blood and marriage to a long line of distinguished original Californians.

For all the stereotypical Latinos he portrayed on screen, Leo Carrillo was actually an intelligent, literate man, the scion of an old, respected Los Angeles family who could trace his heritage back to the conquistadores.
Interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California.
He also had a distinguished career on the Broadway stage, appearing in “Lombardi Ltd.”, “Twin Beds” and “Mister Antonio” prior to 1929.
Several of his political cartoons appear in Blue Vaudeville: Sex, Morals and the Mass Marketing of Amusement, 1895-1915 by Andrew L. Erdman.
Many books dealing with Chrysler automobiles feature several photos of Carrillo’s mildly customized 1947 Chrysler Town and Country convertible. The wood sided rag top sported special longhorn seating, and a hood mounted steer head.
Because he was of the old Spanish families, he bought one of the vast land grant ranchos that California was famous for, called Rancho Los Kiotes.
Distant relative of the Actor Ronald E. Giles, whose Grandfather on his Mother’s side (Guillermo Blaise Arguello), was a first Cousin of Carrillo’s.
Having studied at Loyola University in Los Angeles, he obtained an engineering job with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He drew cartoons in his spare time, and, after taking an art course, was signed on as a cartoonist by the San Francisco Examiner. His skills as a mimic then prompted colleagues to suggest that he try his hand at show business. His first appeared on the Keith-Orpheum circuit in vaudeville as a stand-in for an act which failed to show up. His subsequent success led to theatrical engagements, beginning with “Fads and Fancies”, and, subsequently, to work in films.
His great-grandfather, Carlos Antonio Carillo, was the first provisional governor of California. His father was the first mayor of Santa Monica.
His salary while working on Cisco Kid was $500/ episode

Sacred Heart Home & School Event Today!

Screenshot 2014-04-05 07.31.19 REMEMBERING SACRED HEART Event at borough hall will recall orphanage known as Sacred Heart Home and School.

Dr. John (Jack) Felch talks about the home with video

Read more:,0,2344097.story#ixzz2y0gQ4BA8

WHERE? At the Coopersburg Historical Society Borough Hall located at 5 N. Main St. Coopersburg, PA 18036
WHEN? Saturday afternoon, 1 to 3 PM, April 5, 2014.
Questions to or 610-554-7908.
Our facebook page is Coopersburg Historical Society.
In our planning, we have heard from former students and residents from as far away as Florida, and from friends as near as Mike “the Barber” Fenimore. Vince Kline donated a slew of newspaper articles about the home that he’s collected over the years. It is the generosity of people like these that has enabled us to record this time in our history with a book on DVD and an installation for our Museum. Guest Speakers: Monsignor John Grabish, Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Allentown. Dr. John (Jack) Felch, Coopersburg Borough Council President and Society board member.
Grabish and Felch will both speak at Saturday’s event. Felch said he plans to address the future of the schoolMsgr. Grabish has authored a book on the Sacred Heart religious community, including the churches, nuns, hospitals and schools. In fact, there is one full chapter dedicated to the Coopersburg Home. Msgr. John Grabish of Sacred Heart Parish is planning to share some of his insight. His recent book about the Sacred Heart activity includes a full chapter dedicated to the Home and School. Dr. Jack Felch and his wife are the homeowners of the Cooper mansion, which served as the main building for the Sacred Heart Home and School. Please join us on this Saturday afternoon for a first look at our new collection. We’ll have on display some photographs, written histories and other memorabilia. Bring your own material to show. We will gratefully accept any remembrances or articles you might like to donate to this project.On Saturday, the Coopersburg Historical Society will hold a two-hour exhibit at borough hall recalling the history of the home, which closed in 1974 after 36 years of sheltering children of all races and faiths. “We’ll have insiders there and outsiders,” Kent said, using the common terms for the orphans — insiders — and the youngsters who attended Sacred Heart’s parochial school and went home at the end of the day. We’ll gather together, residents and neighbors, show some photos, share stories and renew friendships. Everything we learn and collect will be stored in our museum. We will also produce a DVD. Please let us know if you would be interested in attending and if you can contribute stories and photos. We’d like to make copies of all.


Hello Dolly Tap dancers

The  Happy “Tappers from Sacred Heart Home & School with Mary, Linda & Kathy Jeffery, oh and don’t forget Kathy (Roman) O’Connell we’re all ready to tap our hearts away for the Donation Day show stopper, Hello Dolly in the ’60s…..don’t you just love the Flower Power skirts!!! ” submitted by Linda Jeffery

Bottom Row: to the left is Noreen Schneck, Joanne Russell in the middle, Kathy Jeffery on the right

Middle Row: to the left is Barbara Trush, Linda Jeffery, Olga Ramos, Mary Jeffery, and Jackie Ressler

Top Row: to the left is Josie Pukiewicz, Kathy Roman, Joanne Ressler, Eileen Rhoades, Theresa Pukiewicz, Eileen Maroni, Virginia Erney and Patti Matoliyak

Sister Annette

Sister Annette
Helen Juna (Dzuna)

Sister Annette
Helen Juna (Dzuna)

Sister Annette came to know the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart as her teachers in St. Michael School in Lansford, Pennsylvania. With her parents’ blessing, she entered the newly begun aspirancy in Reading in 1932. Helen Juna was an excellent student – a seeker of truth and knowledge her entire life. She likewise pursued the Lord’s call to religious life and professed her vows 71 years ago.

Her first ministry as a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart was to serve as house parent and counselor at Sacred Heart Home and School in Coopersburg. Fourteen years later, Sister Annette began the first of another fourteen years as a teacher of high school mathematics in Central Catholic, Allentown as well as Nativity BVM, Pottsville and the aspirancy. After earning advanced degrees, she taught psychology at Sacred Heart Hospital School of Practical Nursing in Norristown for 8 years.

As Sister Annette approached the celebration of her golden jubilee, she was blessed with a year’s enrichment program in the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley, California. From 1988 until her retirement in 2003, Sister Annette was a compassionate presence to the sick and elderly in pastoral ministry. This new venture took her to Sacred Heart Hospital, Norris

town, Rocky Creek Village in Tampa, Florida, and lastly to St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, Georgia. Wherever and in whatever ministry she served, Sister Annette gave herself totally.

Sister Annette suffered with physical ailments her entire life. It was not surprising then that, after her retirement to Reading, her health declined even further. In the last year, she grew visibly weaker. Remarkably, however, when death drew near, Sister’s final passage was quick and peaceful.

We can draw inspiration from the life and ministry of Sister Annette and from the epitaph she selected from the Psalms for her tombstone: “At dawn, I will revel in your kindness, O God.” ✞