Origins of the Daughters of Charity:
Seventeenth century France was known as the ‘great century’ but also the ‘century of the poor’. The poor as defined then, were those who found themselves living continually in need, misery, suffering, disgrace, and deprivation and lacking the basic elements for survival. This is the society that Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac were born into, which led to a total conversion in their lives and ultimately to the foundation of the Daughters of Charity.
The Daughters of Charity are an international group of women founded by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac in Paris, France in 1633 to meet the social and spiritual needs of people.Vincent and Louise worked together for thirty two years to help improve the lives of all who suffered from poverty and rejection.
Once the company was established it grew at an amazing rate. It spread very quickly not only in Paris but also through out France, establishing the following works, care of the sick, schools hospitals , orphanages , working with galley slaves and wounded soldiers. Vincent and Louise had the joy in their lives of seeing the Company move beyond France, to Warsaw in Poland. By the time of their death in 1660 there were sixy five houses opened. The Daughters continued to spread
throughout the world and to day are in every country in the world except Norway and Sweden.
Their arrival in Ireland was only a matter of time. At the invitation of the then Bishop of Armagh Dr. Dixon, on the 8 November 1855 four Daughters arrived in Drogheda to a tremendous welcome. This welcome is captured in the local news paper Drogheda Argus
Sr. Louise Sullivan standing outside first house in Drogheda.
Two years later in 1857 they arrived in Dublin and opened two houses one in North William Street and the other in Fairview. To day the Irish Province of the Daughters comprises of 25 houses across the country and five in Kenya.
The Irish province also fosters the now thriving Province of Nigeria.
Worldwide there are approximately 19,000 daughters in some ninety three countries in all five continents.
There is a special relationship between the Daughters and other Vincentian organisations, whose members live their commitment in the tradition of St. Vincent and St. Louise.
For further information on the International Vincentian Family see www.famvin.org
"The mission of the Daughters of Charity is to organise and preserve documents related to the history, activities and members of the Daughters so that their charism is preserved for future generations"
Daughters of Charity, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
Contact: Sr. Áine Macnamara
Open By appointment.