Laboure Center celebrates 100 years of service South Boston

SOUTH BOSTON -- For 100 years, the Laboure Center has been responding to the needs of the South Boston community.

The Laboure Center first opened in 1907 at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and West Fourth Street as the Columbus Day Nursery under the direction of the Knights of Columbus. Its programs included a child day care, job placement services, and a thrift shop.

In 1947, South Boston native and Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Richard Cushing, assumed financing and oversight of the Columbus Day Nursery and changed its name to the Laboure Center in honor of St. Catherine Laboure, a Daughter of Charity who was canonized that same year. Visiting Nurse Services was added to its program offerings.

The following year, the Laboure Center became part of the Archdiocese of Boston, and the child care moved across the street to 371 West Broadway to allow for expansion of social services.

“The Laboure Center continued to grow, offering more programs and services for youth, families, and elders in response to the needs of the community,” said Sister Maryadele Robinson, director of the Laboure Center for 19 years.

In 1990, the Laboure Center became part of Catholic Charities of Boston. Its Adult Day Health program was added that same year.

Today it provides services to more that 5,000 children, teens, adults, and elders in South Boston and surrounding communities each year. Youth mentoring and tutoring programs, family support services, Basic Needs Emergency Services, and elder social services are also provided.

Yet while much has changed at the Laboure Center, one thing remains the same.

“We have added many programs and services over the years, but we continue to provide the vital service for which Laboure was founded, our child care center,” Robinson said.

To better serve the needs of the community and to continue expanding its programs and services, the Laboure Center moved into a brand new state-of-the-art facility in September 2002.

“Our building, on the corner of Broadway and D Street in South Boston, allows the Laboure Center to continue to respond to local needs and provide important services,” said Tiziana Dearing, president of Catholic Charities. “We are pleased to be part of the 100-year tradition of the Laboure Center, and we are blessed to have it as part of the social services network of Catholic Charities.”

The yearlong celebration of the Laboure Center’s 100th anniversary concludes this weekend, Dec. 1 and 2, with another tradition -- the 17th Annual Christmas House Tour. Beautifully decorated homes of South Boston, which have become a staple of the tour, and lofts overlooking the ever-changing city skyline and Fort Point Channel, will be featured.

“The house tour provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together while also providing needed funds to support our services. For many, our House Tour has become a tradition to begin their holiday season,” Robinson said.

Transportation will be available to take tour-goers from house to house for Saturday’s twilight tour, which begins at 4 p.m. and concludes with a cocktail reception at the Winter Garden located in the World Trade Center East. Tickets for Saturday’s tour are $75.

Old Town Trolley and the Department of Recreation and Conservation will provide transportation for Sunday’s daylight tour, which runs from noon-4 p.m. and begins at the Laboure Center at 275 West Broadway and Castle Island. Tickets for Sunday’s tour are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the Christmas House Tour, call the Catholic Charities Laboure Center at 617-268-9670 or visit Proceeds will benefit the programs and services of Laboure Center.