History

In 1963, Fr. Phillip Marquard, a Franciscan friar from the Sacred Heart Province, started an outreach program on the West Side of Chicago. This half-way house hosted 16 ex-offenders who, although already paroled, were unable to leave prison because they had no place to go. These men received transitional housing, job counseling, job placement, and access to AA/NA support. The program continued until 1992.

fr phil w guest

Since our founding, we have operated a wide variety of ministries to serve the poor and homeless in Chicago. Since our incorporation in 1976 as a not-for-profit corporation, we have operated the following programs:

Late 70's
1976
1986
1992
1983
1990
2006
2012
2013
Late 70's
St Francis Center: late 70’s to 1986

Located on Kinzie between Clark and LaSalle, we served daily lunch and dinner for 200, while also offering clothing and free medical attention with the help of volunteer doctors.

1976
Pilgrim Shelter Soup Kitchen: 1986 to 1992

Located in Harvey, IL, Pilgrim Shelter served an average of 100 meals every weekday to adults and children, while also providing shelter to 30 men each night.

1986
Pilgrim Shelter Soup Kitchen: 1986 to 1992

Located in Harvey, IL, Pilgrim Shelter served an average of 100 meals every weekday to adults and children, while also providing shelter to 30 men each night.

1992
St. Anthony Pilgrim House: 1992 to 1997

St. Anthony’s was a replacement for the Pilgrim Shelter and the original St. Anthony’s Inn. Transitional shelter, counseling, and training were provided to 20 men at a time, contingent on their completion of a substance abuse program or recent release from prison. The location was sold in 1997, where the space is now used to provide transitional shelter for women.

1983
Franciscan House: 1983 to present

This is our overnight shelter, located on Harrison near California. We’re able to accommodate over 200 men and 37 women every night of the year. You can read more about the Franciscan House here.

1990
Marquard Center: 1990 to present

In the late 1980s, we began looking for a site that could house our soup kitchen, administrative offices, and living space for our full-time volunteers. In October of 1990, we found our current home on LeMoyne. We added our Case Management Program in 1995, giving our guests the practical assistance they needed to build a better life.

2006
St. Peter’s Church: 2006-Present
2012
Franciscan Annex & Walls Church: 2012 – Present
2013
City of Chicago Department of Family and Social Services at 10 South Kedzie: 2013-Present

Throughout our history, our primary focus has been on serving the poor by providing them with basic services that preserve their lives and their dignity, while engaging in efforts to help them improve their own lives.