The Story of St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Winter 2006

everyone has heard of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis,
TN. However, many may not know the stewardship story of faith,
gratitude and generosity that led to the creation of this landmark
children’s medical research center.

More than 50 years ago
a man named Danny Thomas longed to be in show business. However, he was
not having much success in making his dream a reality. One day, in a
church in Detroit, he knelt in front of a statue of St. Jude and prayed
for guidance. St. Jude, one of the Twelve Apostles, has often been seen
as the patron saint of lost or hopeless causes. Danny Thomas wondered
if his dreams were hopeless. He asked St. Jude to give him a sign as to
whether or not he was on the right path with his career.

In the book I Like Being Catholic, Marlo
Thomas, daughter of Danny Thomas, says that her father then put $7 in
the church basket. As he gave the money away, he said, “I have to have 10 times this.” The
next day Danny Thomas was offered a job as a singing toothbrush in a
commercial for $75. He took this as a sign that he was indeed on the
right path with his career.

Danny Thomas went on to become one of the most successful early television stars. His show Make Room for Daddy was one of the most popular early TV comedies and ran for 11 years from 1953-1964.

gratitude for the guidance that Danny believed St. Jude had given him,
the entertainer pledged to build a shrine to the saint. Once the idea
of a children’s research hospital began to take shape, Danny Thomas
combined his growing show business career with continuous efforts to
raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Once he drove to 28
cities in just 32 days to raise money for the new children’s hospital.

of Danny Thomas’s great faith, his trust in God and his willingness to
show his gratitude with his generosity, today St. Jude Children’s
Hospital has treated children from all 50 states and from over 70
foreign countries. Families are never asked to pay more than insurance
covers and families without insurance are never asked to pay.

Discussion Questions

  • Fifty
    years ago, $7 was a lot of money. Would you ever trust God with a lot
    of money? In what ways can you trust God with your money?
  • What
    is the significance of Danny Thomas asking for 10 times more than he
    gave away? Do you know how much God asked the Israelites to give to Him?
  • Danny
    Thomas pledged to create a hospital for children because he was
    grateful for the guidance that St. Jude gave to him. Has God ever given
    you anything? What? How do you show your gratitude to God for all that
    He has given to you?
  • Danny Thomas worked hard to raise
    money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital because he believed in it. What
    things do you believe in? Would you work hard to raise money for
    something you believed in?

For More Information

More information about St. Jude Children’s Hospital can be found at
The hospital has a “Math-A-Thon” program that allows students to
support the work of the hospital while also learning more about the
struggles of children who suffer from serious illness.