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Saint Gabriel’s Hall


Saint Gabriel’s Hall (SGH) is a residential program located in Audubon, PA for male youth 14–18 years in the General Residential and Drug and Alcohol Units. Male youth ages 10–13 years are accepted in the Pre-Adolescent Unit. SGH has implemented a Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care as part of the therapeutic milieu for all residents and staff. SGH is recognized by Community Behavioral Health as a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) where psychological, psychiatric, individual, group, family therapy, one-on-one services are provided. A year-round academic program is offered as well as Career and Technical Education in the following areas: Culinary Arts, Microsoft Office, Building and Landscape Maintenance, and YouthBuild Construction.


The opening of the Philadelpha Protectory for Boys opened in 1898 however, the true beginnings of SGH started 3,000 miles away and many years before 1898 in the French City of Reims by John Baptist de La Salle. He took action in 1682 against the elitist stance on education as being only for the socially privileged, the affluent and created a Christian community with a handful of poor school masters. De La Salle’s school masters became the Brothers of the Christian Schools. “John Baptist de La Salle believed that education should be available for everyone; it was not meant to be merely an aristocratic privilege for the fortunate.” Fast forward to 1896 when Archbishop Ryan officiated the ground-breaking and cornerstone-laying of the Philadelphia Protectory for Boys. Records indicate that on June 21, 1896 anywhere from 25,000 to 65,000 Catholics assembled to witness this historical occasion. On Thursday, November 3, 1898 the Protectory received its first-ever resident, twelve –year-old John Todd, from the Manayunk section of Philadelphia at the request of the Most Rev. Archbishop. As is the case today, most of the boys were admitted to the Protectory by Court however, a close second was by Priests, usually the boy’s parish priest. The average length of stay at that time was 20 months and ten days. The list of offenses span from Incorrigible, Runaways to “Till tapping, For protection, For vacation. In 1962 a letter was sent to Monsignor Thomas J. Rilley from Brother David Peter Ryan about changing the name of the Protectory. The reason he gave to have the name changed was that a new name was needed to “’assist in creating an image of a modern institution involved in an enlightened program of treatment rather than punishment of simply confinement.’” So, an official announcement was made on July 6, 1962 to rename the Protectory to Saint Gabriel, after St. Gabriel Possenti, a young man who had been a student of the Christian Brothers in Italy and was characterized as “the dancer” as well as “the ladies’ man. Needless to say he was not the celestial messenger Gabriel from the Bible. Upon his death Pope John XXIII named St. Gabriel the “’Patron Saint for Rebellious Youth’”.

(Information gathered from A Century of Service: In the spirit of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, An Account of the Growth of The Saint Gabriel’s System, 1898-1998 by Brother Joseph L. Grabenstein, FSC, Archivist)

Program Requirements

• Male youth ages 10 – 18 (varies by unit)
• Youth must be adjudicated delinquent
• SGH clients require a full scale IQ of 70 or above, minimum of 2nd grade reading level (lower IQ and/or reading levels can be assessed on a case-by-case basis)
• Youth must be able to fully participate in treatment, without severe restrictions from physical activity (medical clearance may be required)
• Youth with an extensive mental health history including a history of assaultive behaviors, serious sex offenses, fire setting or severed emotional, psychological or psychiatric disorders will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis