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About Don Guanella Village

The Developmental Programs division provides residential services for men for men over the age of 21, with a primary diagnosis of Intellecutal Disabilities, on the campus of Don Guanella Village.


Don Guanella Village is committed to the belief that each individual has the right to strive to fulfill his potential in the physical, mental, emotional, social, psychological, and spiritual areas of his life. Each individual is unique and therefore entitled to strive for such fulfillment in an environment that will most fully contribute to his growth and development.


In 1881, Blessed Luigi Guanella founded a religious congregation, the Servants of Charity, whose primary mission is to minister to persons with developmental disabilities. In 1959, this congregation accepted the invitation of two late American Cardinals — Cardinal O'Hara of Philadelphia and Cardinal Mooney of Detroit — to come to this country. The Servants of Charity began their work with boys who had developmental disabilities at Don Guanella School in Delaware County, PA, and at St. Louis School, now in Chelsea, MI.

Don Guanella School accepted its first students in 1960. With the passage of U.S. Public Law 94-142 – Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 – the School saw a gradual reduction in admissions. Families now had access to the public education system and options of keeping their sons at home with services and supports provided to the family or placement in smaller community-based settings. The school has sinced closed as most of the boys have articulated back to their local school districts. In 1976, the Cardinal Krol Center at Don Guanella Village opened its doors as a state-licensed Intermediate Care Facility for persons with Mental Retardation in response to the needs and prayers of families of men over 21 years of age with developmental disabilities. The Cardinal Krol Center at Don Guanella Village is operated under the direction of the Developmental Programs division of Catholic Social Services and is owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In 2004, lay staff assumed administrative duties for the two residential facilities of Don Guanella Village. The Servants of Charity continue to coordinate and offer the spiritual programming at Don Guanella Village. A Servant of Charity also serves a Director of Mission Integration and Catholic Identity for the Developmental Programs division.

Today the Cardinal Krol Center at Don Guanella Village is home to 123 men with developmental disabilities. Most are long-term residents, ranging in age from twenty-one to seventy-two years old. The men, although impaired, have varied levels of ability. Practically all of the men attend day programs on the grounds of Don Guanella Village.

Recent trends in admissions have been to admit men who are more severely impaired, and who often have a variety of physical impediments, delayed motor development, and behavioral abnormalities.

Don Guanella Village complies with the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and does not discriminate in admission, hiring, or any other services or programs on the basis of race, color, religious beliefs or national or ethnic origin, disability, or age.