St Anne’s Home opened in May 1964 with a vision that came from a Birmingham interdenominational women’s prayer group. During a meeting at Canterbury Methodist Church in Birmingham, the women were moved when a guest speaker, invited by Ida Cantlt, informed them that, although there were programs for men battling alcoholism, there was no place to send women, except to jail. Following that lecture by the guest speaker, B.F. Simms, district supervisor and counselor with the Alabama Vocational Rehabilitation Service, a subgroup of Church Women United at Canterbury took up the cause of opening a shelter for recovering women alcoholics.
When St. Anne’s Home began accepting clients, it was believed to be the first program for women overcoming addiction in the southeast, and the first women’s home in the United States to receive accreditation from a national organization upholding standards for hospitals with the initial focus on alcoholism. Today St. Anne’s Home also assists women who are overcoming other forms of substance and chemical addictions.
St. Anne’s Home opened as an independent entity and took an inclusive approach to offering aid to women who had alcohol dependency. St. Anne’s Home operates as using the concept of spirituality, but does not force a religious perspective or outlook on the clients.