The New York Times
By SAM ROBERTS
Published: November 4, 2011
In “Raised by the Church: Growing Up in New York City’s Catholic Orphanages” (Fordham University Press), Edward Rohs, a state mental health worker, recalls an odyssey that began when he was 6 months old and his unwed parents left him at the Angel Guardian Home in Brooklyn to be raised by the Sisters of Mercy. He couples a moving first-person account of coping with a system that separated orphans by age and gender with a historical perspective on child care in the 19th and 20th centuries.
“I remember being lonely,” he writes, “but I was never alone — not ever.” Being an orphan was Mr. Rohs’s secret until he shared his experience at an alumni awards ceremony at Fordham University, where he was honored for his social work. He “saw jaws drop and tears shed” and decided to make his unpublished memoir public with the help of a writer friend, Judith Estrine.