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Memories of Maryfarm, Newburgh by John Stanley* - Catholic Worker odds & ends
February 14th, 2012
11:25 am


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Memories of Maryfarm, Newburgh by John Stanley*
"There was an authentic, commercial farm across from Maryfarm, owned and worked by a real farmer...Charlie...an Italian name...possibly Petrillo. John Filiger would work for him betimes and get money and get drunk and Dorothy(Day) would go over to Charlie and try to persuade him not to hire John. She may have eventually sold or leased him Maryfarm...can't remember. It would not surprise me to learn that it's been laid-over with square miles of ticky-tacky housing development as was the farm and house, Peter Maurn Farm, on Staten Island.

It is astonishing to contemplate that there were no radios or TV sets at Maryfarm, Newburgh! I think I might have left the grounds once or twice in two years. Once was when a priest (a Josephite?) took me to see their place on the river. Oh yes, two Josephite priests came to Maryfarm each Saturday in the late afternoon, heard our confessions and stayed to dinner. They never missed, it's my recollection, a Saturday. They were really gents. They and Father Faley (a resident priest) had no contact. He never came to dinner when they did! He said Mass at Maryfarm but lacked "faculties" to hear confessions, I think. There was briefly another priest at the farm but I forget his name, Fr Kiley perhaps? Then there was a man -Boris?- a Russian aristocrat whose mistress persuaded Dorothy to let him stay at the farm, but he was a hopeless drunk. (His mistress was a successful designer of fabrics.) This guy had to visit a U.S. official from time about his immigration status and I had to accompany him into Manhattan because if he was given the money for the trip he probably would spend it on drink. I was given the carfare and money for lunch for the both of us. He loved the British aristocracy. Perhaps he came to us through Helen Iswolsky (A friend of Dorothy's whose father had been Foreign Minister under Tsar Nicholas II) and also a friend of Kerensky and Countess Tolstoy.) Boris was for a few months part of the Maryfarm scene. He claimed to have excaped the Bolsheviks on Royal Navy man o'war during the October Revolution."

*John Stanley was at the Catholic Worker from 1952 until 1954, He is 90 years old.

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