Saint Leonard’s History
Serving Chicago for over 65 years.
Saint Leonard’s Ministries was established in 1954 by Father James Jones, Chaplain at what is now Chicago’s Cook County Jail. Father Jones recognized that individuals returning to our community following incarceration faced a multitude of serious challenges that impeded the path towards a stable, productive life. It was these challenges, he hypothesized, rather than a lack of character that caused individuals to return to violence, substance use and crime.
Saint Leonard’s began as a sanctuary for homeless ex-offenders, a place to lay their heads at night so that they need not recidivate to survive. Over its 67 year history, Saint Leonard’s has evolved into a fully integrated health and social service agency that provides comprehensive evidence-based services improving quality of life, stimulating economic opportunity, decreasing recidivism while reuniting families.
“Grace House changed my life. This place is magic.“
– Jessica, Grace House Alum