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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE. On June 5, 1931 the Archdiocesan charitable agencies were reorganized into one corporation during the crisis of the GREAT DEPRESSION. (1) Based on a self-study inaugurated in 1958 by Archbishop Leo Binz, Catholic Charities reorganization included the establishment of area offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo to make the agency more accessible. (2) Catholic Charities became a private, non-profit corporation of the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE. (3) Serving 30 counties in northeast Iowa, the programs of Catholic Charities included Mental Health Counseling, Post Adoption Search, Affordable Housing, Jail and Prison Ministry, Refugee Resettlement, Immigration Outreach, Pathway Partners, and Disaster Services. Catholic Charities' services were personal and confidential, and were provided to anyone in need who lived in the geographic area of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. (4)

Through ST. MARY'S ORPHAN HOME and St. Theresa's Babyfold, Catholic Charities originally provided care for infants and children without homes. An adoption program for children without families was an important aspect of care for children. The agency's first adoption was arranged in 1909, but adoptions were rare until the agency officially opened the adoption program in 1931. (5)

Emphasis on the family unit began in the 1950s. Foster homes were recruited and trained to assist children and families dealing with temporary separation because of illness or death. As more children needed temporary care, the board constructed ST. MARY'S ORPHAN HOME. Catholic Charities provided casework services and counseling for children and the family. The goal was to reunite the family as quickly as possible. In the late 1960s, the orphanage was closed and the property sold to AREA RESIDENTIAL CARE, INC. as the State of Iowa began to care for children. (6)

ST. MARY'S HOME was incorporated in 1919 as a sister organization to Catholic Charities. The mission of St. Mary's was to provide shelter and care while Catholic Charities was to provide service, advocacy, and community development. (7)

Beginning in the 1950s and continuing through today, Catholic Charities responded to the difficulties of refugees from around the world. Many families sponsored and supported the newly arrived refugees and helped them adjust. (8) Through the Refuge Resettlement Program, Catholic Charities aided in the resettlement of more than 500 displaced families following the VIETNAM WAR. (9)

In 1960 Catholic Charities joined Dubuque's United Fund. Archbishop Leo BINZ stated the decision was based on the idea that the greatest potential could be reached working with other agencies. (10)

After the closing of St. Mary's Orphanage, St. Mary's Home became the manager of four low income housing projects. Catholic Charities owns Alabar Plaza in Waterloo and Carter Plaza in Dubuque. Ecumenical Housing, Inc. owns Kennedy Manor, a 72-unit family housing project in Dubuque and Ecumenical Tower, an 89-unit senior and disabled housing project in the downtown Dubuque area. (11)

In the 1980s, Catholic Charities established a ministry to divorced, separated and bereaved persons in the Archdiocese. This ministry included the formation of support groups. (12)

Economic challenges and social challenges led Catholic Charities to join with the Archdiocesan Rural Life Office to respond to the needs of over 2,000 farm families faced with foreclosure. A rural response team was established to provide outreach services, support, counseling, and spiritual guidance. Volunteer training was also provided for farmers and peer crisis intervention teams were formed in several locations in northeast Iowa. Catholic Charities partnered with the Iowa State Extension Service, VISTA outreach workers, and mental health staff to provide individual help. (13) Post abortion (“Project Rachel”) and crisis pregnancy counseling services were free. All Catholic Charities’ counselors were masters-level, licensed professionals, and services were available to anyone regardless of religious, social or economic background. (14)

The board and staff of Catholic Charities in 1982 recognized the need to provide leadership and advocacy for the mentally disabled. A transitional site, The Emmaus Home, was constructed for twelve disabled individuals for daily skill training to live more independently. In the early 1990s, the state of Iowa reduced bloc grant funds for community mental health to the degree that the Emmaus Group Home had to be closed. Residents were forced to return to their apartments or were forced to move to the JULIEN CARE FACILITY. (15)

With immigration a major news item in 2018, it was announced that within the thirty counties making up the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE, Catholic Charities was the only nonprofit law entity specializing in immigration issues in eastern Iowa. The organization's legal staff of two attorneys helped people obtain green cards, apply for citizenship or help family members enter the United States. In early April, 2018 the team's caseload of nearly 300 files was halted due to size. Efforts, however, led to new funding and two additional attorney positions were created. (16)

The 1966 Dubuque City Directory listed 2909 Kaufmann.

The 1980 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 1229 Mt. Loretta.



1. Gallagher, Mary Kevin (ed.) Seed/Harvest: A History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Dubuque: Archdiocese of Dubuque Press, 1987, p. 84

2. Ibid., p. 125

3. "Catholic Charities of Dubuque: History," Online: http://catholiccharitiesdubuque.org/catholic-charities-services/counseling-services/

4. "Catholic Charities of Dubuque," Online: http://catholiccharitiesdubuque.org/

5. Yeast, James L. "Catholic Charities Celebrates Diamond Anniversary," Julien's Journal, July 2006, p. 28-29

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Gallagher, p. 147

10. "Catholic Charities Join Dubuque's United Fund," Telegraph Herald, August 2, 1960, p. 1

11. Yeast.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. "Catholic Charities of Dubuque: Counseling Services," Online: http://catholiccharitiesdubuque.org/catholic-charities-services/counseling-services/

15. Yeast

16. Jacobson, Ben. "Catholic Charities Expands Legal Team," Telegraph Herald, March 25, 2018, p. 21A The 1987 through 1989 Dubuque City Directory listed 1229 Mt. Loretta Ave.