In September 2014, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services welcomed elected officials, religious leaders, and members of the community, to the Marillac Social Center Centennial Reunion Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The event was held at our brand new, state – of – the - art, Vince and Pat Foglia Family and Youth Center, named for our generous benefactors and long-time partners.
Marillac staff, decked out in bright yellow t-shirts printed with “1914”, ushered guests in by the hundreds to gather in the new gymnasium. Precious archival photographs and memorabilia were displayed. The display boards added to the atmosphere of joy and celebration as many attendees became emotional reuniting with old friends, teachers, and administrators.
The event was kicked off by a former Detroit Piston and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas who gave a touching tribute detailing his experience as an adolescent at Marillac House. His speech was followed by a performance by “The Triad;” a trio comprised of former Marillac staff members Bessie Houston, Viola Floyd and Barbara Bonner, who sang their soulful original song, Blessings, a capella. Afterward, there was a series of speakers including US Senator Dick Durbin, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan, 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, and Bishop Alberto Rojas – who blessed the new building and served as ribbon cutter.
The stretch of road in front of the main Marillac building and the Foglia Center was renamed “Marillac Way,” with an exciting announcement from Alderman Burnett, who revealed the new street sign during the ceremony.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Director of Hope Junior, Deanna Hallagan, led the children in singing an original song she wrote with several of the children , It’s Gonna Take Love, just as they had sung 14 months earlier at the groundbreaking for the new building -- a fitting end to this moving inaugural event, after which lunch was served. The Marillac staff helped to prepare and serve over 500 meals for the attendees.
The organization’s centennial festivities have only just begun as St. Vincent de Paul Center will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in the fall. Make plans to attend our final event, a reunion ceremony set for September 19, 2015. Through the continued support of our Board of Trustees, Associate Board, Administration and strong donor base, we look forward to serving Chicago families for another 100 years.