On January 6, 1856, five Daughters of Charity from the Mother House in Emmitsburg, Maryland, stepped from a Banning stagecoach at their destination—El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles. They had come to fulfill a dedicated service to the needy of Los Angeles, then a pueblo of only a few thousand people.
The first orphanage in our city was established that year—at Alameda and Macy Streets—and from that time to the present, the Sisters have continually cared for children of all races and creeds in need of shelter, security and devoted concern.
When the orphanage’s subsequent facilities, constructed in Boyle Heights in 1890-1891, were condemned by the city in 1950 due to encroaching deterioration of the structure, friends of the orphanage rallied to the cause. Mrs. Edward L. Doheny made possible the land for a new children’s home in the city of Rosemead in South San Gabriel Valley and was a generous contributor to the building program. A committee of women called “The Friends of the Los Angeles Orphanage” was founded to raise funds for this vital project—thus fulfilling the heartfelt hope of Sister Euphemia Walsh, then administrator of the orphanage.
On June 25, 1951, the name of the committee of women was changed to the Los Angeles Orphanage Guild. The Guild was incorporated as such on April 22, 1952.
The new child-care center was completed in 1953 and named Maryvale. It continued the focus of the orphanage’s original charter—to help young people attain dignity, productivity and self-esteem in an environment of stability and love.
Today, the Los Angeles Orphanage Guild, now more than 200 members strong, continues to be dedicated to fulfilling these important goals in a variety of ways. Working together, we provide the financial help to Maryvale through several special fundraising events each year, such as our “Be a Friend, Bring a Friend Luncheon,” our Spring Gala and our Special Edition Tribute Book, all of which ensure continued support for Maryvale’s vital programs. In addition to our fundraising events, each year the organization’s Juniors Guild organizes hands-on, meaningful interactions with the girls of Maryvale, including an annual Christmas Party, monthly field trips, birthday celebrations and a mentoring program.