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110 Years of History!



Catherine Murphy, Worcester Police Matron, pleaded to the community to open a suitable shelter for destitute women detained by the courts and their children. The Reverend Daniel Tully believed creating such a place was in like with the charitable works of the Catholic diocese.


January: The Ladies Catholic Benevolent Association (LCBA) holds its' first meeting, formulating plans to establish a home for such women and their children.

February: Rose Boyle is elected first president of LCBA and the membership votes to name the shelter the Guild of St. Agnes.

March: Membership grows to more than 400 women. $1,500 is raised which would be $191,000 today.

June: The Guild of St. Agnes opens its doors at 20 Vernon Street, Worcester, MA, the former Hopkins Estate.

December: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts awards the Guild of St. Agnes its state charter to operate as a charitable organization.


May: The Ladies Catholic Benevolent Association invites the Sisters of Providence to manage the Guild and the Sisters accept.

Fall: Services of the Guild expand to include a "Day Nursery." In the first two months 751 children enroll. The charge was 5 cents a day for those who were able to pay.


World War I breaks out and women, working in the war effort place their children at the Day Nursery.


Spanish Influenza Pandemic severely strikes the area. During the next 650 days, the Guild cares for 151 inflicted children as well as those whose parents had been victims.


First bus is purchased to transport children from other areas of the city to Vernon Street.


World War II: United States enters WWII and women are asked to assist in the war effort. Their children were placed at the Guild.


Catholic Charities and the Guild progressively work together to separate services. The Guild continues with child care and Catholic Charities takes over the social service component.


The Bureau of Catholic Charities at the St. Agnes Guild opens a temporary clinic to care for children ages 2 and under.


A formal training program began in Boston at the Women's Educational and Industrial Union for licensed family day care programs.


The Sisters of Providence leave the Guild.


Francis Naughton is named first lay Executive Director of the Guild.


Mr. Naughton starts family child care programs at the Guild.


Family Care expands to 87 children in Worcester and 17 area towns.


The Guild of St. Agnes secures a new location at 133 Granite Street once known as St. Ann's Orphanage.


Madeleine Haling becomes the second lay Executive Director adding professionals to the Board and expands the Guild presence in the community and state organizations.


Edward P. Madaus is hired as the Executive Director for the Guild of St. Agnes.


July: The Guild opens a center in Gardner

August: The Guild opens a facility at the Father Connor's Center at Immaculate Conception Parish on Grove Street in Worcester 

December: The Guild opens a center in Bellingham


The Guild partners with the Worcester Public Schools providing after school care at 4 elementary schools.


Mass Development invites the Guild to design, build and operate a child care center for high tech companies located at Devens. 

May: The Guild of St. Agnes was the proud employer of 5 graduates of the Associates program in Early Childhood Education at Becker College. They were among the first to take advantage of the Guild's tuition benefit, which covered 100% of the cost of college classes.


Charlton Masonic Health Care Community contracts with the Guild to design, construct and operate its' child care center.


November: The Guild purchases a former nursing home at 155 Green Street in Gardner and retro fits the building into a child care center.

December: The Guild builds its third state-of-the-art child care center located at 129 Granite Street; allowing for centralized food services and transportation operations.


Webster Center is acquired from MAPFRE-Commerce Insurance and begins operations of this the state-of-the-art, 20,000sq ft child care center


The Guild celebrates 100 years of service to families throughout Worcester County,


The Guild provides locations on Hamilton St. and Burncoat Street in Worcester for our bulging after school programs.


July: The Guild purchases the Webster location with the help of a $750,000 grant from the State of Massachusetts.

November: The Guild is asked to assume the ownership of the Elm Park Child Care Center at 284 Highland Street in Worcester. 


August: The Guild of St. Agnes purchases the Fitchburg location for school age programs 


September: The Guild enters into an agreement with the Mercy Centre of Catholic Charities and opens a much needed after school program on the west side of the City of Worcester.

November: The Guild  enters an agreement with the pastor at Salem Covenant Church in Worcester to open a toddler/preschool program for 44 children.


February: The Guild purchases an administrative office at 19 Harvard St. in Worcester and moves from our rented 405 Grove St. location.

March: The Covid-19 pandemic strikes, and by order of Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, the Guild closes all programs. Within 2 weeks, the Guild opens one emergency child care location in Worcester for essential workers during the pandemic.

June: As child care during the Covid-19 pandemic is deemed essential, early child care programs are allowed to open with strict capacities, regulations, and guidelines. The Guild reopens its programs at limited capacity with continuous Covid-19 testing and safety protocols for sanitation. 

September: As public schools remain in remote learning, the Guild school age programs shift their school year structure to accommodate full-time school agers. School Age staff help the children with their remote learning schedules through to the end of the 2020-2021 School Year.


The Guild continues to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with constant new virus variants, changing regulations, and personal protective equipment shortages.

December: The Guild purchases the former Colonial Bowling Alley on Mill Street in Worcester and plans are in place to convert it into a child care center.  Worcester State University agrees to partner with the Guild offering a teaching lab for their students.

September: After realizing the former Elm Park child care center was not conducive for child care, Ed Madaus initiated the repurposing renovation of the historic Booth House. The house is transformed from a child care center into a 3-family condominium placing this location back on the City of Worcester tax roll. An open house is held.


Demolition and construction begin at the Mill Street Center which will be named "University Collaborative" in spirit of the collaboration with Worcester State. The new center will have 152 child care slots in 4 infant/toddler classrooms and 6 preschool classrooms.

February: The newly repurposed historic Booth House is completed and sold. 

May: Ed Madaus and the Guild of St. Agnes receive the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce "Silver Hammer Award" for the restoration of the historic Booth House. 

June: Ed Madaus retires and the Guild of St. Agnes hosts a retirement/employee appreciation party at Worcester's Polar Park.

July: Sharon F. MacDonald, current Deputy Director, assumes the position of Executive Director. Sharon restructures the agency and promotes 10 individuals to a Leadership Team to help with the daily operations of the agency. 

December: The Guild of St. Agnes Board of Directors vote to change Sharon MacDonald’s title from “Executive Director” to “President and CEO” due to the size of the agency and function of the position.


April: The Guild of St. Agnes opens the University Collaborative Early Childhood Education & Care Center at 248 Mill Street with the capacity to serve 152 children. 

June: Katie Sullivan is the first Guild of St. Agnes graduate of the Leadership Worcester program.

June: The Guild of St. Agnes closes its Mercy Centre location and expands the school age program at Grove Street.

August: The Guild of St. Agnes University Collaborative Center hosts the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC)'s Board of Directors Retreat,

September: The Guild of St. Agnes University Collaborative Center hosts its first Worcester State University students participating in: college courses, classroom observations, developing curriculum, practicums, and occupational therapy. 

November: The Guild of St. Agnes makes its return to its annual in-person Veterans Day Professional Development Day! This is the first agency-wide, in-person training since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This also marked the debut of the Guild of St. Agnes promotional video, the first of its kind for the agency!


You're all caught up! Please hold while we continue to write our history...

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