Sr. Frederica Horvath emigrated to the United States from Hungary and in 1926 founded the Sisters of Social Service in Los Angeles. The mission of the religious community was to share in the social mission of the Church by addressing the needs and challenges of those struggling individuals and families living in poverty. We have always had a special emphasis on women and children living on the margins.
In 1936, Bishop Robert Armstrong invited the Sisters of Social Service to Sacramento to develop “innovative programs” for children at the Leland Stanford Mansion. Formerly called the Stanford and Lathrop Memorial Home for Friendless Children, it had been an orphanage run by the Sisters of Mercy since 1900. After the Sisters of Social Service restored the physical space to welcome new youth, it was established as a residence for girls who were wards of the court and needed ongoing support. As the years went by, the Sisters developed and improved upon this residential program for girls, and later boys, who were unable to live in their own homes, even overseeing several group homes off-site. Sisters not only provided a home with educational, psychological and spiritual support, but also all of the necessary social services for at-risk youth and youth from troubled homes. Youth were encouraged to learn, grow, change, and become adults with a strong sense of identity, equipped for success in the world.
In 1942, the sisters branched off to form the Catholic Social Services Auxiliary Group, a precursor to the Catholic Charities that exists today. They were tireless in their efforts to support the poor through service…but also in their creative fundraising efforts that included fashion shows and champagne brunches. In the early days of their efforts, admissions to each was a whopping fifty cents!