St. Giles' Home And The Good Work it Does 1893

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Brooklyn within the past two years has added one more institution to her many, it being that of St. Giles, the first home for little cripples, whereby they are given the best of treatment, under a most competent and efficient medical and surgical staff. Let us start from the beginning and learn how and by whom this great and worthy object originated.

This work of mercy was begun August 17, 1891, in a small hired house, 422 Degraw street, Sister Sarah, with three children, taking charge. The house was but poorly furnished, a sugar barrel doing duty as a dining table, while with a little help in the way of provisions from friends Sister Sarah and the three children subsisted on the small expenditure of 50 cents a week.

There was but a small cot for the four inmates, necessitating the use of the one on which the children slept, but kind friends soon became interested and it was not so very long before the home began to have a more cheerful aspect, with many bright hopes for its future. Brooklyn abounds in institutions of various kinds, but until the doors of this institution were thrown open somehow this class of sufferers had been overlooked. The house is in every respect a charity. The doors are open to all children of either sex, color, nationality and creeds. It has no entrance fees, the beds being free, and no child is turned away whenever a place is available. it has no connection with any parish and is supported by the church at large.

The home was named in honor of St. Giles of the early Gallican or French church, that church being established at the beginning of the Christian era by St. Iraqueus. St. Giles was a cripple, and has always been esteemed as the patron of cripples, and for this purpose was it named. After the scheme had been proposed the consent of the bishop of the diocese was solicited, he giving his approval to bringing into existence this religious and worthy institution. A meeting was then called to interest persons in the work, more than one parish being represented. Sister Sarah took the responsibility of this charge, appointing three women to assist her in soliciting furnishings, provisions, collect funds and receive pledges for the first year's rental. A body to act as corporators was then selected and a charter applied for which was secured December 19, the organization there under being effected February, 1892.

As soon as these doors were thrown open and it became known that a home was ready to receive these unfortunate little waifs, applications for admission were immediately made, until twelve crippled children were housed in the home of St. Giles under competent medical treatment, but the state board of charities objected to so many children in so small a building, consequently it was deemed necessary to move to larger quarters, and on May 1, 1892, the home took possession of the house, 192 State street, being much larger, though in a short time that too was filled to its utmost and found inadequate to its wants. Having again found it necessary to make another move the present house, 419 Clinton street, was purchased from St. Paul's P.E. church, at a very nominal sum, being the parish house of that church; $2,000 being paid down, leaving a debt of $10,000 still to be raised. This house consists of seventeen rooms, all being large and airy; the back parlor affords a pleasant schoolroom, and all the children who are able being in attendance every day; they have their regular school duties in English studies, including kindergarten.

Every child upon leaving the institution, providing they have remained long enough has been taught some one trade by which he or she is enabled to earn a livelihood. The girls are taught dressmaking and millinery by competent professionals, giving their services gratuitously. The boys are instructed in brush making, printing and the caning of chairs. A most interesting thing in the teaching of these boys is, that Sister Sarah instructs them in the chair caning and brush making, having first learned the trade herself, being unable to find anyone who would come in to teach them. There is one girl who seems to possess a talent for music, and the volunteer services of a young woman in this branch would be most gratefully accepted by Sister Sarah. Interested friends have come forward in all the different branches and given their services gratuitously to this great work, which has been most heartily appreciated by the sister in charge. Donations of table provisions and boys' outside apparel are urgently solicited from all who are willing to give a helping hand.

St. Giles has at present thirty-three children, some of them being hopelessly incurable and crippled for life. One boy of fifteen years lies patiently in his crib all the while suffering from four cancers, and having had three amputations on one leg. This is but one instance of the many little sufferers housed by St. Giles. Does not such misery touch the hearts of Christian people and make them see where they might do great good? The house is full of such pitiful cases and could each tell his story, would draw tears to the eyes of the coldest hearted.

Connected with this home is an auxiliary of women and men, called the Guild of St. Giles, representing many of the churches, which meets once a month to discuss and determine as to the best plan for promoting the good of the house. The work under discussion now is that of a proposed bazaar, to be held in the early winter in some commodious hall, for the purpose of liquidating the debt of $10,000 on the house. The interest of all in behalf of this enterprise is earnestly requested. A musical entertainment is also to be given for this sinking fund, the date of which has not as yet been determined. The guild is open to all who are willing to help in the work, no dues or fees, in fact no expense whatever is attached or required by membership, except such as each may voluntarily give.

The guild has also undertaken to raise funds for the erection of suitable buildings, adequate to the needs of the home, and each may select his or her work, singly or in groups, by any method or plan which they may devise. Donations are constantly coming in from all sides. It being strictly a non sectarian institution, connected with no church in particular, is blessed with the help from all denominations, but this help is needed constantly, as these little bodies have to be clothed and fed, and an earnest appeal is made at all times for food, clothing, etc. The children have all enjoyed a week at Bath Beach this summer, beside having an outing to the park once a week since the first of June. The home is an institution worthy of the help of all. it is to be hoped someday to have a building large enough to provide for all who may come to the doors of the House of St. Giles the Cripple.


Website: The History
Article Name: St. Giles' Home And The Good Work it Does 1893
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle September 3, 1893
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