A Brief History
St. Francis Community Services was established in July 2011 by uniting the social service programs once operated directly by Catholic Charities of St. Louis. Although we are a relatively young organization, the individual sites can trace their roots back three decades or longer. Southside Center began in 1984, at first serving a cluster of south city neighborhoods, and later focusing its attention on Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking people across the region. The Catholic Legal Assistance Ministry has represented impoverished people in the justice system for 30 years.
What’s in a Name?
Originally called “Catholic Charities Community Services,” the agency adopted the name of St. Francis in 2014. St. Francis of Assisi was chosen as a model because he embodies a selfless devotion to others; a simple way of life; and an unbounded love for the poor.
The name, too, reminds us of Pope Francis, who speaks boldly about the scourge of poverty and challenges us to accept, love, serve and advocate for marginalized people. “Poverty,” as Pope Francis wrote, “calls us to sow hope.” That, in essence, is our mission.
Today, St. Francis Community Services has a $2 million budget, 30 employees and four locations offering an array of services to people, from the unborn to the elderly. We reach out to the City of St. Louis and 10 surrounding counties. Although a Catholic agency, we assist people regardless of faith.