History & Heritage
Marillac Social Center
At the invitation of Father William J. McNamee, pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church, the Catholic Social Center was established in 1914 on the corner of Sangamon and Jackson Blvd. The first two Daughters of Charity to staff the new service were Sister DeSales Douglas and Sister Paula Courleaux. The services consisted of a Day Nursery, a Kindergarten, a lunch room for those who lived and worked in the neighborhood, and programs for women.
After 32 years of service, the Catholic Social Center relocated to California and Jackson Blvd. In June 1947 the work continued under a new name, Marillac Social Center, called Marillac House in honor of St. Louise de Marillac, who with St. Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity. At the new site, the Sisters and staff continued to provide child care for young children of working parents and single parent families.
Recreation programs were established for children, teenagers and young adults, as well as services for seniors. Block Clubs were formed and the Family Service department provided a food pantry and a thrift shop to meet the growing needs of the community.
Throughout the decades, Marillac Social Center has responded to the needs of the community it serves by expanding its services and facility. Project Hope was started by Kay Hallagan in 1982 for pregnant teens to help them bond with their babies and carry them to full term. Hope Jr. was also started by Kay in 1985 for the young girls in the neighborhood to help them reach their full potential through mentoring and tutoring, and other activities such as drama, sports, art, and field trips.
In 1995, a new state-of-the-arts facility for children and other social services was constructed at Francisco and Jackson Blvd. In 2002, the Nifty Thrifty was built to offer expanded services for those in need.
St. Vincent de Paul Center
In 1915, members of the order of the Daughters of Charity opened the DePaul Day Nursery and Settlement House to care for the children of neighborhood women forced to work while their husbands served in World War I.
During 1923, a settlement house was built. By 1924, the rooftop playground was constructed so that the children could play outdoors. By 1938, two major brick sections of the center were built. In 1958, the gym was built and the Nearly New Shop opened.
In 1971, a playground on Halsted and Webster was added, and in 1972, the Senior Services Program began. Also in 1972, the settlement house merged with St. Vincent Infant Asylum, a 100-year-old residential facility for orphaned children. The merged facility was renamed St. Vincent de Paul Center. In 1975, the first Infant/Toddler Daycare Program in the city of Chicago was established.
In 1980, the renovation of the chapel created five new preschool classrooms and the Outreach Program was established. In 1986, the Young Expressions began providing art therapy for the children.
Throughout the decades, St. Vincent de Paul Center has responded to the needs of the community it serves by expanding its services and facility. In 2002, a new facility, located at Webster and Halsted, was constructed.