43 Comments on “Personal Story – St. Vincent’s Orphanage in Chicago”

  1. I worked at St Vincent’s from 64 to 71. We loved the babies, children and frightened expectant mothers. Thank you for your video!


    Kathleen Finnegan.

  2. I was a baby at St. Vincent’s in 1970. I was born in March but wasn’t adopted until the end of August. If anyone remembers baby girl Mary Anne, please reach out.
    Kelly Justic (kellyjustic@gmail.com)

  3. I was a baby at St. Vincent’s in 1971. I arrived in January and stayed until May. I would love to speak to anyone who may remember a baby named Barbara.

  4. I was a baby there, born in October 1966. Baby Lucretia. I was adopted by my wonderful parents, Edward and Genevieve. They adopted all 6 of my bothers and sisters from St Vincent. Does anyone remember me?

  5. My mom was sent to this orphanage in 1955, all she knows is her birth mothers last name is Komen, she so badly would like to connect with anyone in this family and know something about where she came from, please help if anyone knows anything.

  6. I was born at St. Vincent Orphanage in 1945. My birth mother’s name was Valarie Jozwiak. I would love to find out something about her and her circumstances. I know it’s been a long, long time, but it is very important to me to have some background about her and her family. If you can help me, I would be deeply appreciative. Thank you in advance for any answers.

  7. My Mother was born in 1927 and was given up as an infant trying to find out iany kind of info. Her birth name is Josephine Lopez born Feb. 14 1927. Parents Jose or john Lopez and mother Refugio Vasquez or Valesquez.

  8. My birth mother was born July 2, 1920. Her birth name was Evangeline E. Kovarik. (This information was obtained from my actual birth certificate which I was able to receive after Illinois allowed adoption records to be opened and made available to adoptees.) According to Ancestry records she died December 13, 1989.

    I was born 9/28/44 at Little Co. of Mary Hospital and then immediately given up as an infant to St. Vincent’s for adoption. I would like to find out something about her and her circumstances. I know it’s been a long, long time but it is very important to me to have any information about her and her family. If you can give me any information I would be deeply appreciative. Thank you for any information you may have.

  9. My sister’s male child was brought to St. Vincent’s in late October 1965. My sister was 16 years old when she gave birth. Through the years she expressed a desire of wanting to connect with her birth son. Unfortunately, my sister passed away before she was able to do so. If you have any information that you can pass along to me I appreciate it very much.

  10. This notice for Barbara. I worked at St. Vincent’s in 1971 during those months. In fact I was the p.m. charge of the two to five month old floor. I could not say I remember you. But I can say that many people cared for you and rocked you and sang songs to you. Still, with all those different people taking care of you it must have been quite an experience for a little baby. I’m so glad to know you were adopted. I pray your life has been good. And there’s more to come!

  11. I was a baby at St. Vincent’s in 1964. I was born in June but my birth mom released me to St. Vincents when I was around 6 months old. I was told my birth mom was very young (possibly between 16 and 18) and her last name was Ferneau. I’m not quite sure of the spelling. I was given the birth name Steven Ferneau and was adopted at the age of 8 months. I would appreciate any information you may have in regards to my birth parents.
    Thank you so much for your help!!

  12. My name is Marianne Dudzik now but my birth name was birth name was Victoria Marie Meyers. I was born 08-10-1962. I was told my mom’s name was Helen Meyers.

    Looking for her

    thank you

  13. My birth name was Rosemary Derucki. I was born on 08-29-1952. My mother’s name is Josephine Derucki. I believe her married name to be Janik. If there are any relatives out there who can give me any info, I would really appreciate it.

  14. Kathleen, I was at the orphanage in June 1964 my birth mothers name was Josephine Marr , she was 16 I was told she didn’t want to give e me up . Her Dad worked for government, thought it would ruin his Career. I was delivered at Presbyterian st Luke’s Hospital. Then brought to st. Vincents . Anthony Marr June 17 1964 .

  15. Do you remember her by chance I know it’s been a long time God bless you and everyone for their help there.

  16. My grandmother, Rosemary Crain (then Bertucci) was a nurse at the orphanage for a couple of years in the early 60’s. It became too emotionally devastating for her to continue after a baby boy she had bonded with was adopted and she didn’t get to say goodbye. His name in the orphanage was Charlie Woodward, and he was adopted and then potentially named Dennis… she swears she saw him again some years later in a restaurant, D’Masti’s, but that when his mother noticed her looking at the boy she became nervous and left before my Grandma could say anything. She is not certain it was him. If anybody has information on Charlie Woodward, it would make my grandmother’s life to know what happened to him.

  17. I was a baby at St. Vincent in 1958 and ’59. They say my birthday is November 23rd 1958. my birth name is Ann Marie Tybor. I am now Janet Marie Swanson- Kanning. I was told I was adopted at 8 months to Mary Helene and Matthew Swanson. If anyone knows anything about my birth mother please contact me.

  18. I was born Linda Gomez on June 26th, 1957 by midwife.
    My parents adopted me about a year or so later from St. Vincent’s. All I know is that my birth mother was still in school. ANY information would be greatly appreciated!
    Linda N.

  19. I am looking for my birth mom- dad. My name is Nina..I know The last name is Elizondo. I was born Jan. 15 1964 I left St.Vincents at 18mos. Old And was a foster child till I was adopted at 10 yrs. Old. My last name is Paveza. Any info Would be Greatly Appreciated. Im so Greatful.

  20. I was born at St. Joseph hospital in early June of 1970. I believe my birth mother was well cared for. Her name was Barbara. She turned 18 four days before I was born. She was from Gary, Indiana. My name at birth was Stewart. Grateful for my healthy birth and blessed for my adoption.

  21. I was born January 3, 1964.. My name when placed at St Vincent’s would have been Virginia Grace. I was adopted and placed with wonderful parents. I have met my birth mom, who has become my best friend. I would love to know if there is anyone out there who worked there at the time who could contact me. I would love to know what it was like then. I have history type questions about how it all was. But I suppose, mostly I would love to contact someone who may have looked into my little baby eyes back then.

  22. I went to St Vincents for their 1 year training summer of 1964 to summer of 1965. To all those who were babies and toddlers there during that time I’d like to tell you how much you were loved by myself and the other students . You were changed with love, fed with love, rocked with love. We cried when you were adopted because we loved you and we cried because we were so happy for you.

  23. I was at St Vincent’s some time between the spring of 1965 to August of 1965. I was known as Kenneth Robert Falcon then. To any who may have cared for me, thank you!

  24. My late grandmother was adopted from St Vincent’s in Nov of 1916. We have since thankfully located her biological family thanks to the wonders of autosomal DNA testing. We are also thankful that St Vincent’s took care of our grandmother until she was able to be adopted into a loving family.

  25. I was 4 my sister 4 and my 3 brothers who were 2 1/2 and infant, I have some memories of how scary this place was, they wouldn’t let my siblings and I see each other. My mom was having hard times financially and did try to have us adopted out however my father stopped it and my mother who had another child who it took over 50 years to find was adopted out and mom was able to get us back. I remember dance classes, the little kids pool and the recitals. I have struggled through the years with some things that happened there but am reçonciled since finding my sister

  26. I was training at St. Vincents’ One year training. program in. 1961-‘62 then continued working there into 1963. I was the only Jewish girl ever trained there and let me tell you, we loved those babies , we took good care of them and were sooo very happy and sad when they were adopted.

  27. Joseph Wood
    After Illinois changed their laws granting original birth certificates a several years ago, I learned I was a ‘foundling!’ I requested my original certificate with hopes of identifying who my birth parents were but instead received a Foundling Certificate?! I was abandoned in the streets and found! I would later be brought to St. Vincent’s by Chicago Police.

    The birthday I celebrated my whole life is really the day I was found.
    I did find Mr. Ceaser Johnson, a Korean Veteran, who found me one wintry day in Chicago. We had a great relation before he passed a few years ago. His family took me in and continues to send love and well wishes to me and my family.
    We have had our homecoming (returnIng to St. Vincent’s) several times. It is such an emotional yet powerful and rewarding time to spend with those who I call my brothers and sisters! Great team and staff who are still loving on us as they did through the decades!

    His continued blessings and Hand be on all of you!
    Judge Joseph Wood
    (My book: Saving Joey is a children’s book of my story found in Amazon or Kharis Publishing)

  28. I was in training at St. Vincent’s from June of 1967 to June 1968. Contrary to negative things said about other orphanages, we took such good care of our kids. Woe be to us if the nuns would have found us not taking proper care of the children!!

    They called us “Mommy” and we always had plenty of favorites to take out for walks to a park on Michigan Avenue.

    Picking up newborns at St. Joe’s was fun. The biggest privilege was being godmothers at the babies’ baptisms. What a wonderful, nuturing place to start life. I still wonder where my favorites ended up.

  29. This message is for Laurel (Ryan) Makula. I am wondering about your comment regarding: “it was a privilege to being a godmother at the babies baptisms.”
    This has always bothered me regarding my baptism at St Vincent orphanage. When the priest baptized the baby, did he say their name or just say “this baby?”
    And when you and the other nurses were taking care of the babies, did you know their names or how did you refer to each baby?
    Thank you

  30. Three children left at St. Vincent’s Orphanage for mysterious reasons sometime between 1902 – 1905. They were Rosalie (adopted at 7 years old by Kusz family and raised in Toledo, OH and Havanna, Cuba), John (sent to St. Mary’s Training School in DesPlaines, IL around 1905) and Catherine (adopted as a baby by Dymek family in Chicago, IL. I would be so grateful to anyone still alive who knows anything about this. The birth parent names given were Frank Harrett and Mary Burns – Chicago, IL as recorded by a witness to their late birth certificates, an Aunt named Mrs. Carol Oates (or Oatis). I can’t find her to get the story.

  31. Laurel Makula, maybe I was one of your favorites. Birth name Annette. I was born Jan 7 1968 and adopted out in June 1968. Drk hair drk eyes was sick At birth hard to hold formula down. Tks for taking cAre of us!!!

  32. I was a student in the child care program at St. Vincent’s in ‘67 – 68. I remember loving all the babies. It was a privilege to be able to care for them. We boarded at the home and I remember my room was under the toddler slide. I have many fond memories of my time there. I ended up adopting my son from Catholic Charities in Manchester, NH in 1976. Little did I know at the time I worked there that I would be the proud mother of my son. It was the best day of my life.

  33. I was in the Infant Nursing Program at St. Vincent’s from September of 1966 through the fall of 1967. It was a wonderful experience and I was sorry to hear about the person who has terrible memories of being an infant there! We all loved the children and spent the very little bit of free time we had taking a child for an outing. I went on to work at the New Born Nursery of La Grange Hospital, La Grange, IL and loved my job there as well!

    Tp Margaret who asked what we called each child while we cared for them, each one was called by their real name if their parent had given them up. Foundlings were given a real name to be called but often adoptive parents changed the name the nuns had chosen. I held a favorite baby while he was being baptized and he was named Allen while at St. Vincent’s, his adoptive parents chose a new name for him when he went to them. We never treated children as objects, we loved them, doted on them and gave them loads of love and affection.

  34. I was born at Mercy Hospital, but transported to St. Vincent’s on the day of my birth, August 16, 1948, under the name Francis Michael Lewis. Through research decades later, I learned that about 250 children were at St. Vincent’s on any given day in that period. The number startled me when I learned it, and it still does. How could so many infants be cared for, adequately, at once? I was adopted six weeks later, and raised in suburban Chicago.

    I “replaced” another infant from St. Vincent’s my family called “Bob.” My parents had to return him to St. Vincent’s some weeks after my birth, but before my adoption. His birthfather, married to someone other than the birthmother, initiated this. I was told that this story made Chicago papers. Years later, I searched and found short articles on the case in both the Tribune and Daily News. One identifies Henry Heitz, age 26, as petitioning Cook County Superior Court to claim his “illegitimate” son after he heard the birthmother intended to permit his adoption. (I also obtained a copy of that petition.) Another story reported that the birthmother, Eileen Anderson, age 21, was willing to permit the birthfather and his wife to adopt the child. The Sisters of Charity told my parents this had never happened before and that they worried about “Bob’s” future.

    I had loving parents and a happy childhood–and life! Yet: persistent curiosity and fundamental questions of identity only ebbed and flowed. They never vanished. I eventually found my birthmother in 1995. We developed a close relationship–sometimes fraught–until she passed away in 2006. I learned that my birthfather had died the year before I sought and found my birthmother.

    I’m sharing these basic facts decades after all the events, but would welcome hearing from anyone who knows about St. Vincent’s in the late 1940s–or the story of “Bob” who likely later assumed the surname Heitz. I sincerely hope he and his birthparents recovered well from this startling beginning.

  35. Jan Kanning, I was in St Vincent’s from Sept 58 probably till about March of 59. My Birth mother had placed me there to avoid the scandal of unwed motherhood. I have pics of me at around 6 months old in an obviously institutional crib there. My mother then retrieved me and I lived as her brother and my my grandmother’s son for about 5 years till the truth was told to me. My Birth father had died in 1962. In 2021 after doing the 23 and me DNA , I located my half sister, two other sisters, and a brother. Give it a try.

  36. I was born in 1948 at Saint Vincent’s. I found my birth family through Ancestry.com

  37. I was at St. Vincent’s from the summer of 1965 until the next summer of 1966.
    We were called Child Care Technician; young girls right out of high school.
    We all loved the babies. They did call us “Mommy.” Most of us had a favorite baby which we tried to give extra attention.
    We loved, hugged and kissed all the babies no matter what race they were; it was a beautiful experience.
    We worked 8 hour shifts and much of our time was spent feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner; it could be rather chaotic trying to feed 10 or more toddlers.
    I loved the newborns and was asked to work on that floor after I graduated, but I did not take the job, which I regret.

  38. I was born Sept 1962 and lived at St. Vincents until Oct. 16 1962. My birth mother named me KENNA CHRISTINE. Any info would be appreciated! I went to the reunion a few years ago, what a wonderful experience. How lucky we were to be cared for and loved by all the young nurses and nuns. Grateful grateful to St. Vincents!

  39. I was born and placed for adoption in August of 1966. Lisa with Catholic Charities helped me find my birth parents about 16 years ago.
    To anyone who may have cared for me as an infant, I thank you.
    My birth name was Anne or Anna Akin.

  40. I was born [in February, 1954] in St Vincent’s. Birth moms name was Dale Ann Lessard. She was approximately 15/16 yrs. of age. I think I was there for awhile. I didn’t get to my forever foster/adoptive family till November 57. Does anyone remember anything about me would be great.

  41. Kim I was in the unwed mothers the year you where born I may have been with you birth mother

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