Our History & Heritage

“Love the poor and honor them as you would honor Christ Himself,” – St. Louise de Marillac

History & Heritage

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services has been building well-being people of all ages in Chicago for over 100 years. We provide vital programs and services in the areas of early childhood education, youth services, and community outreach services.

Vincent & Louise and The Daughters of Charity

After operating independently for nearly 100 years, Marillac Social Center and St. Vincent de Paul Center joined together as one organization with a joint mission to empower those in need in Chicago to reach their greatest potential. The two centers began working together in 2002, imitating the real-life partnership of St. Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul.

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, is continuing the legacy of service to the poor which began with Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac in 17th century France. Vincent, known as the “Great Apostle of Charity”, invited Louise to join his ongoing ministry to help care for women and children. After years of working together they brought the Daughters of Charity into existence.

Now, the Daughters have extended their reach into a vast, global network of ministries and sponsored works, impacting tens of thousands of individuals in impoverished and neglected communities around the world each day.

Read our complete history

In the lead up to our 2014 centennial celebration, a 2-year period honoring the 100-year legacy of the Daughters of Charity and long history of service in Chicago communities, Sister Patricia Dunne embarked on an exhaustive research project, culminating in a number of well-cited historical articles. Click on the link to explore this exciting treasure trove of information, and get the full story of what 100 years of impact looks like:

Marillac Social Center

Marillac Social Center History

The Catholic Social Center was established in 1914 on the corner of Sangamon and Jackson on Chicago’s west side. 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 center relocated to California and Jackson Blvd. In 1947 the work continued under a new name, Marillac Social Center, called Marillac House in honor of St. Louise de Marillac. The Sisters and staff continued to provide child care for young children of working parents.

Throughout the decades, Marillac Social Center has responded to the needs of the community it serves by expanding its services and facility. In 1995, a new state-of-the-arts facility for children and other social services was constructed at Francisco and Jackson, and in 2013, the doors opened to The Vince and Pat Foglia Family and Youth Center, complete with a beautiful new gym, classrooms, computer lab, and food pantry.

St. Vincent de Paul Center

St. Vincent de Paul Center History

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 who joined the workforce while their husbands served in World War I.

Years later, a larger settlement house was built and 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 Thrift 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.