Established 1887, the House of the Guardian Angel, as it was first called, was opened one door south of Saint Patrick’s Church, in a building later to be known as the Brunswick Hotel. Thus it happened that for a few years both institutions, the Orphanage and the Home of the Guardian Angel were located on Brunswick Street, about a block apart.
In 1894, the Archbishop had a large new Orphanage built on Quinpool Road and the Home of the Guardian Angel was moved up the street to the vacated Orphanage at 395 Brunswick Street. This large house was to be identified as the Catholic Infants’ Home for many years to come.
The first superior of the Home was Mother Benedicta Harrington, a zealous woman who ran the home with few resources, surviving on a small subsidy from the City of Halifax, and what could be raised through a variety of community projects. In the early years there were many actual “foundlings”, little bundles left on the doorstep of the Home. The usual practice, however, was to admit the single mother to the Home of the Guardian Angel after the birth of her baby. By 1941 it had become the practice to admit the woman before the child’s birth so that in the final months of her pregnancy she might experience comfortable shelter and have adequate nourishment as well as proper medical care.
At this time, the children at St. Joseph’s Orphanage were attending the neighborhood schools instead of being taught in the Orphanage. These circumstances created extra space in the Orphanage building, and in 1955, with the collaboration of Archbishop Berry, the Home of the Guardian Angel was moved to the east wing of the Orphanage.
Here, Sisters Mary Clare and Joan Elizabeth set up a shelter for single mothers and an adoption agency. They inaugurated a program to meet the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs of the mothers-in-residence. The women were encouraged to plan constructively for themselves and their babies, to take responsibility in deciding whether or not to place their child for adoption, and to continue, if possible, their own academic or vocational training.
In 1970 the Home of the Guardian Angel became a community-based agency. With the closing of St. Joseph’s Orphanage complex in 1973, the Home of the Guardian Angel moved to a renovated house at 6345 Coburg Road. The Home opened the Single Parent Centre in Spryfield, Nova Scotia, in 1980. In December 2001, the Home moved their pregnancy counselling, adoption services, post-placement services to 2893 Agricola Street in Halifax.
Home of the Guardian Angel is now located at 3 Sylvia Avenue and offers services as Chebucto Family Center at that address. The building is situated just off the Herring Cove Road in the community of Spryfield.
Through the generosity and very kind donation to the “Building for Families” campaign a renovation began. Check out our Photo Gallery to see the changes!