The long history of St. PJ’s Children’s Home centers on the faith and tenacity of Sisters, the compassion of a benefactor, and the kindness of a community.
In 1866, three Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word heeded the call of God to come to San Antonio and care for the sick and the homeless. By 1891, the Sisters were dutifully caring for the abused, abandoned, and orphaned children of St. Joseph’s Orphanage for Girls, and St. John’s Orphanage for Boys, both situated on the grounds of the Santa Rosa Infirmary.
Tragically, St. John’s Orphanage was destroyed by a fire in 1912. Five Sisters and three boys perished in the fire, a tragedy that shocked and moved the whole population of San Antonio. The citizens pledged to raise $25,000 in a week to help build a new home.
At this time, Peter Kuntz, a wealthy businessman, was in town visiting his son. News of the fire filled him with grief, and touched him so deeply that he went straight to the Archbishop of San Antonio to offer help. He committed $30,000 to support the construction of a new fireproof building. The new home was built and named St. Peter’s Orphanage after its benefactor. In 1929, the girl’s wing was added, and the home became known as St. Peter – St. Joseph’s Orphanage.
St. PJ’s continues the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, nurturing abused and neglected children to help put them on the path toward healing.