St. Vincent's Hospital and Infant Asylum, popularly know to Chicagoans as St. Vincent's Orphanage, played a prominent and unique role in the life-affirming, charitable history of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1881 until its closing in 1972.
Founded by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul and energized by their commitment and devotion throughout its history, St. Vincent's, under a variety of names and in several locations, offered 91 years of service to unwed or poor mothers and their children, to abandoned children and to thousands of adoptive families. This remarkable history will never be forgotten in the annals of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Since its completion in 1931 at 721 North LaSalle Street on Chicago's near North Side, the building itself, now known as the Catholic Charities St. Vincent Center, has stood as a monument to charity - to the selfless love and service offered there to mothers, infants and children in need. Since 1972, St. Vincent's has served as a Catholic Charities emergency assistance and administrative center, a place of hope to all who are poor, troubled or in crisis.
The pregnant women who came to St. Vincent's needed privacy, confidentiality, medical care and compassionate understanding as they awaited the birth of their babies. Some, only in their teens or twenties, bore the stigma of the unwed mother. Others were married women who could not afford medical care or hospitalization - the stigma of poverty.
Regardless of their circumstances, St. Vincent's Hospital and Infant Asylum opened its doors and its hearts to embrace these women and their children. The doors of St. Vincent's opened new life for all who passed through them.
The following website pages have excerpts from our book along with some original photo's from St. Vincent's.