Our community’s history of service

A short history of St. Ignatius Parish’s social service commitment

In 1972, Fr. Robert Murphy, S. J. asked the parishioners to consider the social service needs of the parish and the Rogers Park community. That was the beginning of Ignatian Services, the seed from which the mission center’s social service arm will grow. In the beginning the “Golden Diners,” a program that hosted lunch and other events, was held three times a week in the Holy Name Room. An emergency food pantry was housed in the rectory. Ignatian Services provided transportation and shopping for the homebound. As the requests for emergency food increased, the food pantry was set up in the basement of the church. In 1985, Ignatian Services joined the Greater Chicago Food Depository to have access to more food. In 1994, the food pantry was awarded the Father Phillip Marquard Award for outstanding agency services. Over the years, Ignatian Services has held coat drives to help clothe our neighbors in need. It has sponsored a Thanksgiving Dinner and partnered with Catholic Charities to provide Christmas gifts for those in need. Our greatest supporters have been the parishioners of St. Ignatius. We have also partnered with Sacred Heart School, Northside Catholic Academy, Loyola University, St. Joseph College Seminary for volunteers and food drives. The S & C Foundation has been a community supporter of the pantry for many years.

In 2020, the St. Ignatius Food Pantry served 2,151 families that averages out to about 179 families a month; that added up to 5,966 individuals, an average of 497 people a month. The pantry distributed over 41 tons of food to the Rogers Park community (more than 82,000 pounds). While the bulk of the food distributed is obtained through Greater Chicago Food Depository we are also grateful to our community partners. When St. Ignatius Parish closed, the food pantry was put on pause with the Food Depository and restarted the food pantry February 7, 2023. By December, we had distributed more than 100 tons of food, about 200,000 pounds, to more than 4,000 families.

Another legacy of social service is in the history of the Glenola Club of Loyola Center. The Glenola Club served the Rogers Park neighborhood for 100 years, voting in the summer of 2021 to disband as St. Ignatius Parish closed. Among the organization’s final acts was to vote to donate its remaining charitable funds to help start the Ignatian Mission Center.

The club’s last president, Sue Berg, wrote this tribute and history for one of St. Ignatius’ last bulletins:

“The Glenola Club of Loyola Center is a non-profit organization that has served St. Ignatius Parish for 100 years. It was originally organized in May of 1921 at the request of the Pastor, Fr. D.M. Johnson, SJ. He was interested in having a women’s group to compliment the men’s Knights of Columbus Council #1687 formed a few years earlier. The founding women quickly became incorporated by the State of Illinois on Sept 23, 1921.

“The original club by-laws stated “The objective for which it is formed is the promotion of social, civic, educational and benevolent activities.” The club motto was set at “Charity, Loyalty, Progress”. The membership list for 1921-22 shows that nearly 500 women joined the Glenola Club and over 100 young women became members of the Glenola Auxiliary. From the beginning these women were very active in promoting cultural events, educational opportunities and fundraising activities.

“Over the years the Club has had multiple speakers and presentations, a Book Club, Bridge Tournaments, field trips to local points of interest and of course many spiritual and social gatherings. Most recently the Club has annually sponsored a Lenten Day of Reflection, a spring Woman of the Year Award Luncheon, a themed Summer Party, a Holiday Benefit Party and provided many socials and special Mass intentions. Funds raised throughout the year have been contributed to a variety of Catholic and Civic charities.”


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