In 1912, the groundwork for Catholic Charities was laid with the founding of St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Since then, Catholic Charities has helped sustain Oklahomans during difficult and challenging times – World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the Oklahoma City Bombing and many other major disasters.
In the 1930s, Catholic Charities expanded its services to include adoption, foster care and pregnancy counseling. During the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, Catholic Charities responded to the climate of unemployment and homelessness by creating a facility for orphan boys and an expanded home for unwed mothers.
In the 1940s, Catholic Charities was poised for growth following the World Wars and expanded its services to include a permanent facility to serve the elderly.
In 1975, the fall of Saigon in South Vietnam caused an influx of thousands of refugees into the United States. Operating as an affiliate of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities led major resettlement efforts into oklahoma.
In the 1980s, services broadened to include foster family care, parish social ministry development, and drug and alcohol services through our counseling program. In 1987 Catholic Charities began our immigration program.
In the 1990s, services expanded to include transitional housing at Villa Isenbart and Trinity Gardens. Catholic Charities also moved to a new location, 6 months before the Oklahoma City bombing.
In the 2000s, Catholic Charities identified areas of outreach in rural areas. Regional office locations were opened in Clinton, Elk City and Weatherford. Today, we operate in Ardmore, Enid, Lawton and Woodward.
In 2023 and beyond, Catholic Charities the needs of our society have changed dramatically since the early 1900s. Catholic Charities has adapted to changing times and trends in delivery of social services and works to eliminate the underline causes of poverty and injustice.
Food is a fundamental and basic human need. Food is what nourishes us in order to be able to simply live. Feeding the hungry means providing nourishment through charity and hospitality. Feeding the hungry also helps the giver. Giving of what we have shows our gratitude for what God has given us, bringing us great joy.
To give drink to the thirsty is to offer them life itself. Like food, the body needs water to survive. Providing drink to the thirsty is nourishing Jesus Himself.
Having a roof over our heads is a basic human need. Sheltering the homeless can take many forms. Some include: giving time or money to a homeless ministry, hosting someone like a religious pilgrim, speaker or clergy member, supporting ministries that work with the displaced or refugees, or volunteering to help.
Those who are sick are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Christ had a special love and mercy for the sick during His ministry. We an bring great relief to the sick with our loving presence, especially to those who feel abandoned.
Everyone is made in the image and likeness of God, no matter what they may have done. They often need to know of God’s love and mercy for them. Often there are restrictions to visiting prisons, but there are still some ways we can help.
Giving alms to the poor is a crucial part of the Christian life. Almsgiving shows our own detachment to or material belongings. We recognize that everything we have is a gift from God.