Our Legacy & Timeline
St. Vincent de Paul & St. Louise de Marillac
The Daughters of Charity were founded in Paris, France, by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. Deeply concerned about the poverty and suffering surrounding them, they brought together a group of young women who shared their dedication of helping the poor and the sick. These first 12 peasant girls were unlike other Sisters at the time, in terms of both social and economic status, and their desire to live and work among those in need. This challenged conventions, because Sisters in the 17th century predominantly lived cloistered lives, with less interaction with individuals suffering on the streets.
On the eve of St. Andrew’s Feast, 29th November 1633, they bound themselves to Christ with simple vows that were to be reaffirmed annually. St. Vincent de Paul wrote:
“The Daughters of Charity have… for a convent, the houses of the sick; for cell, a rented room; for chapel, the parish church; for cloister, the streets of the city; for enclosure, obedience; for grille, the fear of God; and for veil, holy modesty.”
Establishment in Great Britain
The Daughters of Charity sent its first group of six Sisters from Paris to Salford and Manchester in June 1847. They experienced such sustained verbal and physical harassment that they were withdrawn in less than two years.
In 1857 Sisters were once again sent to England, this time to the steel town of Sheffield in Yorkshire. Here they flourished, becoming established, well respected and loved by the local people. By 1900, the Daughters of Charity had 37 canonically erected houses in England and 6 in Scotland. The Sisters could be found working, in some the worst social settings of the day, – nursing, teaching, childcare, social work and parish visiting.
Overseas Mission & Development
Between 1870 and 2003, seventy-four Sisters from the province were missionaries through the Company’s Mission Ad Gentes programme. They served in Algeria, Australia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Nigeria, Spain and Turkey.
Establishment in Australia
In 1926 the Australian foundation came about as a mission from the Daughters in Britain and Ireland, at the request of Bishop Michael O’Farrell CM, Bishop of Bathurst. This foundation became a province in 1963.
Integration and the creation of the Rosalie Rendu Province
On 11th March 2020, the Provinces of Great Britain and Australia united to form the Rosalie Rendu Province.
It is not enough to give bread; love must be our calling.
[St Vincent de Paul]