St. Mary’s Home, founded in 1838, serves as the first and oldest residential program for children in Alabama. Today, we are the only Catholic residential program in the state. Originally founded as an orphanage, the home has undergone many changes in its long history of service to children and families in need.
After the yellow fever epidemic of 1837, the first Bishop of Mobile, Bishop Portier, called together a group of women to form a society to alleviate the extreme poverty and suffering of the many destitute and orphaned children of Mobile. On June 6, 1838, the ladies met for the first time, and by December 26, 1838, they had raised money and provisions, built a facility and took in their first 3 orphans.
In order to meet changing needs of the community, St. Mary’s Home has evolved into a residential treatment facility for boys and girls facing serious conflict, abuse, neglect and abandonment. The children who live at St. Mary’s Home suffer emotional, behavioral and educational problems because of family circumstances.
Since 1838, the mission of St. Mary’s Home has remained the same – to provide support and education to destitute orphans and to children abandoned, neglected or abused by their parents or whose parents are unable or unwilling to support or to educate them.
St. Mary’s Home believes in the inherent dignity of all people. We strive to assist those we come in contact with to become the best they can become. We will utilize and account for all resources provided to us in a manner that will maintain the public trust. In delivering our services, we believe that success can only be achieved by addressing the needs of the whole person, which includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components that complete us as human beings.
St. Mary’s Home’s vision is that all children will live free from violence, neglect, and fear. By being given the opportunity to serve others, we at St. Mary’s Home know that we can positively change the lives of the children we serve, those who assist us in this endeavor, and existing child welfare practices, and through this process, provide a new vision of child welfare for our community. Service provision enables us to understand the consequences of abuse for both our children and our community. This experience empowers us to be a competent advocate to end child maltreatment. In fulfilling our mission in the most Christ like manner possible, we provide a vision to those we serve and to our entire community of what human compassion can achieve.