It was a hot day, almost reaching 100 degrees, when 17-year-old Theresa Benoit Ciaccio walked herself into St. Vincent’s Hospital for Unwed Mothers in the summer of 1945.
Now 88, the Bourbonnais resident still recalls that being pregnant and unmarried from a large Catholic family meant keeping her baby was not an option.
Ciaccio and the father of her unborn child tried to marry; they even made it to the church before her brother and father stopped the ceremony.
“We were kids, I was a kid,” Ciaccio recalled. “No job and too young, they said. I did the best I could. I didn’t have a husband so I didn’t think I could raise him.”
At seven months pregnant, she was sent to St. Vincent’s, an orphanage and hospital where girls often put their babies up for adoption in those days.
Her dad drove with her, but wouldn’t go in.
“I walked into the hospital myself with my suitcase,” Ciaccio said. “Just walked in. Kind of crazy. Kind of scary.”
Read the full story.