Established as a United Church outreach ministry in 1926, Saint Columba House supported people struggling through the Great Depression in the 1930s. It worked alongside local residents throughout a painful period of deindustrialization in the 1950s when the closing of the Lachine Canal caused widespread factory closures and great job losses to the community. Saint Columba House continued to work with and empower local residents through a period of great innovation in the sixties and seventies when better economic times led to inspiring developments in the field of health and social service delivery. The proliferation of community and women’s empowerment groups in Point St. Charles was frequently spearheaded by the active involvement of Saint Columba House.
Guided by a theology of liberation in the 1980s, Saint Columba House looked to its international partners in Guatemala, El Salvador, Bolivia and Mexico both for inspiration and to learn about new models of social and political action to promote human rights and support community economic development.
Over the years, Saint Columba House has frequently spoken out on issues of public policy, mobilized communities to defend their rights and has always taken a strong stand to defend and work alongside those who are excluded: the intellectually challenged, the unemployed, children from low-income families, the elderly, those whose lives are affected by physical or mental illness.