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Archives Msgr. Aubin helped open and headed the Plattsburgh regional office in 1957
Former director looks back on rewarding work

June 21, 2017

By Shawn Ryan
Staff writer

Plattsburgh -  Very few people will ever have the experience of meeting a fellow parishioner, a friend, and knowing that as a tiny infant they helped place that person with a loving adoptive family. Msgr. Joseph G. Aubin has that experience nearly every week.

AubinIn 1957 Msgr. Aubin helped open and headed the Plattsburgh office of Catholic Charities. With a modest staff of two lay persons and two nuns from the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Msgr. Aubin placed 170 children with adoptive children on the Plattsburgh side of the diocese, and another 200 on the Ogdensburg side during his time as director.

Some are now parishioners at St. Peter’s, with their own families and children.

“I enjoyed the work very much,” Msgr. Aubin said, while reclining in his modest apartment at the St. Peter’s Rectory. “To place a baby in a loving home, then to follow up down the road; most don’t even know that I adopted them, but I do.”  

It was a different time, Msgr. Aubin explained, when society held much different views on adoption and teen mothers and out-of-wedlock births. In today’s society women and extended families are much more apt to keep a baby in those instances.

That means that, over the years the workload of Catholic Charities changed from primarily adoption and counseling services, to other services like referrals to other agencies, grass roots advocacy, and financial assistance to struggling people. It is a change that he definitely laments, but understands.

With no formal training in social work when he was chosen for the role, Msgr. Aubin credits the early tutelage of Monsignors Joseph F. Luker and Robert L. Lawler, who helped him to define the role, and get Catholic Charities up and running in Plattsburgh.

Msgr. Aubin points out too, that along with his work at Catholic Charities he and his staff were also doing parish work throughout the week and on weekends.

“It was very hands-on work, but we loved doing it,” he said. “It takes a special approach to life to do counseling and help people through their problems. The nuns who worked with me over the years were so helpful.”

He considers himself grateful to have been blessed with a great staff who were well trained in social work, calling them a life-saver.

He was also appreciative to be able to hand the office over to the very capable hands of Father Patrick Mundy in 1972, who ran the office for many years after that.

Father Mundy, he said, came to the position with an educational background in social work, and was instrumental in helping the agency transition through the changing times that followed.

But even though we live in different times, nothing can take away the feeling or happiness that comes from running such an important and powerful ministry from Msgr. Aubin. 

“You feel such a reward matching a child to a well-matched family,” he said. “They were all so happy.”

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