The service of caring for the destitute and orphaned children of Mariannhill was started by the Trappist monks in 1899, under the guidance of their Abbot Francis Pfanner.
In those days poor and orphaned children of all nationalities and races were cared for together at the then Mariannhill Monastery. The chronicle suggests that people from the neighbourhood brought these children. Very soon the number had increased to such degree that more room needed to be created. At the same time, the monks handed the care of these children over to the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, who had been founded in 1885 at Mariannhill.
In 1952 the Children’s Home was transferred to the present site on the Mariannhill Convent property. By then it had been designated to admit and care for black children only. Financially, the facility remained completely dependent on donations fundraised in Europe.
By 1970, together with other similar institutes, St Vincent’s Home had to be registered as a Welfare Institution in terms of National Welfare Act 79 of 1970. The registration brought the stipulation that only 110 children (40 boys and 70 girls) could be catered for. Yet it also secured minimal financial support, that is, 20 cents a day per child, payable by the Government. Despite that help, overseas fundraising efforts had to continue. Only from 2002 onwards the State subsidy has improved to cover 75% of the annual budget of the home.
Today St Vincent Children’s Home is a Non-Governmental Organisation, administered in partnership with the State. Out of 35 employees, three are Sisters who represent the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood who are responsible for overseeing the service and for ensuring that relevant policies, such as South-African Minimum Standards for Child Care & Youth Development or the Child Care Act 74 of 1983, are implemented.
Committed staff members under the leadership of a CPS sister cater for the children’s varied needs and offer them an holistic opportunity to grow into the person who God has made them to be. Discipline goes hand in hand with loving care while educational and physical development is being monitored and fostered consistently. Thus, The Children’s Home continues to grow in its vision and aspirations, for ever endeavouring to accommodate the challenges that the children of our country face within the society of today. We hope and trust that God will continue to accompany the service with His manifold blessings as all key players try to embrace the future.
The management of St Vincent Children’s Home can be reached under +27 31 700 2054.