From Primal Fear (1996) Edward Norton's character is explaining how he ended up an altar boy:

I was begging on the street, up on the Wacker Drive. Bishop Rushman came by in his Cadillac. He saw me and he stopped. He took me into Savior House. I work as an altar boy. And I sing in his choir.

What exactly does "Savior House" mean? Is it just a figurative name of a church, "God's House" or there is such a term in USA. I was thinking it's something like a alms-house, but it's not correct for sure

  • I would take it as the name of a particular building (even though I have never heard of it). Searching on the web for "Savior House" produces a number of different places.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 19:09
  • Looks like the proper name of a place (institution) to me, most probably a shelter for teenagers. An oft-quoted review refers to it as a bishop's haven.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 19:11
  • It doesn't mean much to me, but I note that according to the subtitle file, two of the five references to Saviour House are the Saviour House. Which strongly suggests it's a proper noun, and there's only one of it (presumably run by Bishop Rushman, who's in the business of saving the souls of confused or disadvantaged young people). Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


The capitalization of Savior House is a hint that it is the name of a particular institution or institutions, and not a generic term for a type of establishment.

In this specific case, Savior House appears to be the name of an orphanage or youth shelter, presumably sponsored by or affiliated with the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, given the reference to a bishop.

While Savior House is fictional, many real-life counterparts (Catholic and otherwise) have similar names, usually referring to a current or former physical lodge, as with Chicago's Franciscan House, Mercy Home, or Clara's House.

The usual Christian formulation for describing a church building is house of God or God's house; the House of God is also a metaphor for the body of the Christian faithful.

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