Catholic Charities History

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque was founded in 1931 as a non-profit, social service organization in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.  Since then, the organization has been continuously evolving to respond to the ever-changing needs of people in our communities.

Most Reverend Francis J.L. Beckman, 6th Bishop and 4th Archbishop of Dubuque, IA with children from St. Mary

The human pain and national confusion of the Great Depression was the motivation to begin Catholic Charities.  The organization was founded to respond to the critical child displacement crisis through the establishment of:

  • St. Mary’s Orphan Home
  • Adoption placement
  • Foster care services

1940s ~ 1950s
World War II and the Korean Conflict dominate social and economic systems. Catholic Charities responds through:

  • Refugee Resettlement

Poverty levels drastically increase across the country.  Catholic Charities responds by establishing:

  • Safe, affordable, low-income housing in Dubuque and Waterloo
  • Catholic Day nurseries

Increasing inflation, unemployment and economic needs dominate society.
Catholic Charities provides support to respond to these stressors through:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Youth homes
  • Ministry for separated and divorced

Babies from St. Theresa Babyfold maternity home.

1980s ~ 1990s
Supporting and strengthening families is central to Catholic Charities’ mission.  This is accomplished through a variety of services including:

  • Family counseling
  • Support to farming families during the Farm Crisis
  • Emergency financial assistance

Outreach programs are created to serve at-risk populations, including:

  • Jail & Prison Ministry
  • Immigration Legal Services
  • School-based counseling services

Our Future
Catholic Charities will continue to provide holistic care and mentoring to at-risk populations to continue our mission of reducing poverty, strengthening families and empowering communities.

For information about the programs and services that are offered at Catholic Charities today please visit ­the Catholic Charities Services page.