In 1633 Vincent de Paul, a humble French priest, and Louise de Marillac, a widow, established the Company of the Daughters of Charity as a group of women dedicated to serving the “poorest of the poor.” Prayer and community life were essential elements of their vocation of service.
Almost two centuries later, Elizabeth Seton, the American foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, adapted the rule of the French Daughters of Charity for her Emmitsburg, Maryland community. In 1850, the Emmitsburg community united with the international community based in Paris.
In 1852, and again in 1856, the Daughters of Charity answered a calling that brought them to the western edge of our continent, settling in northern and southern California to provide a voice for the voiceless. Their challenges were plentiful, but divine grace sustained them as they endured hardships and prospered in the name of those whom they served. Many of the hospitals, schools and communities they created still exist and continue to thrive today. The Daughters of Charity, Province of the West, live their mission each and every day in communion with the timeless legacy of their founders, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Today, the Daughters of Charity are an international community of over 19,000 Catholic women ministering all over the world and they continue to serve the “poorest of the poor.”