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Orphans get new home


On this day in 1874, Claude Marie Dubuis, second Catholic bishop of Texas, purchased the Green Bayou Place and additional acreage west of Galveston for St. Mary’s Orphanage. Operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, an order that Dubuis had founded in the United States, the institution, associated with St. Mary's Infirmary, soon sheltered twenty-eight orphans. The Green Bayou residence housed the boys, and a new two-story structure was soon completed for girls. The orphanage suffered through several catastrophes. Fire ravaged one of the institution’s buildings in 1875, and later that year a storm destroyed the Green Bayou house. Citizens of Galveston quickly answered the call for aid. Concerts and other benefits and a donation from St. Mary’s Infirmary helped repair and replace damaged buildings within a few years. In November 1896 St. Mary’s Orphan’s Asylum became a corporation and decided to build a new facility closer to the center of Galveston, but no action was taken before the great hurricane of 1900. At Green Bayou, all the buildings were swept away in a deluge. Of the ninety-four orphans, only three survived, and all ten nuns drowned.

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