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The Catholic Pastoral Center at St. Mary's Home

St. Mary’s Home for Children closed in June 2010, having cared for children for 135 years. The building was re-purposed and became the Catholic Pastoral Center in 2015.

A Brief History

The Civil War brought many problems to Savannah families, including orphaned and abandoned children. The Sisters of Mercy, in an effort to alleviate some of the misery, cared for orphaned girls at St. Vincent’s Academy, then a boarding school. In 1875, three Sisters of Mercy took up residence with some of these parentless girls in a country home on White Bluff. This was the first St. Mary’s Home.

In 1883, St. Mary’s moved to Habersham Street, and in 1936 the entire Savannah community – Catholic, Protestant and Jewish – made plans for a modern facility to be built on the edge of town. In 1938, the Sisters and the girls in their charge moved into the new building on Victory Drive.

At the time, St. Mary’s Home cared exclusively for girls, while St. Joseph’s Home in Washington, Georgia cared exclusively for boys. St. Mary’s began accepting boys in 1967 so that brothers and sisters did not have to be separated.

By 2000, St. Mary’s was home to 30 children, accepted from both public and private agencies, and from individuals seeking help for their own children.

Over the next ten years, federal mandates increasingly called for homeless and at-risk children to be placed in foster care rather than in residential care homes – a trend which rendered the residential services model largely unsustainable. St. Mary’s Home closed in June 2010, having cared for children for 135 years.

The building was re-purposed and became the Catholic Pastoral Center in 2015. Many original features of the building were retained and restored, including the front doors, chapel and auditorium. Touring the grounds you will see the original stone grotto, a gazebo, and a pet cemetery: daily reminders of the children who were loved and cared for by the Sisters of Mercy.

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