LOU BALDWIN writes in Catholic Philly
Daughters of Charity sisters sing a hymn together at the anniversay Mass celebrated Oct. 4 by Archbishop Charles Chaput at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown, Philadelphia. (Sarah Webb)
The Book of Job is not especially cheerful reading, at least not until near the very end, verse 15 of chapter 42: “In all the land no other women were as beautiful as the daughters of Job.”
That was part of the first reading on Oct. 4, the date the Daughters of Charity chose to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their arrival in Philadelphia as the very first congregation of women religious to minister in the city.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, the celebrant and homilist of the anniversary Mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown, said, “In all of the land no women are as beautiful as the daughters of St. Louise and St. Vincent,” referring to St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, the co-founders of the Daughters of Charity in 17th-century France.
Their beauty, the archbishop said, stems from their fidelity to their faithfulness to their founding charism: service to the poor. By chance, Oct. 4 also happens to be the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the founding father of the Franciscans of which Archbishop Chaput, as a Capuchin Franciscan, is a member. He noted the similarities between St. Vincent and St. Francis, who not only practiced charity but embraced poverty himself.
…Read full account of their 200 years Daughters of Charity mark 200 years in city
Over the two centuries more than 1,000 Daughters of Charity have served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia but as in virtually all religious congregations recently in greatly reduced in numbers with 10 sisters missioned to Philadelphia at this time. They are part of the almost 500-member St. Louis-based Province of St. Louise and worldwide, Daughters of Charity number about 17,000.
Sister Louise Galahue, the Visitrix for the Province of St. Louis, was among the Daughters of Charity and Vincentians who came to the Miraculous Medal Shrine for the celebration.
“We are proud of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Vincent really armed her to be a servant of the poor,” she said, adding, “We take four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience and service to the poor.”
Because Philadelphia was the first place St. Elizabeth sent her sisters, “we grew up with the Church in Philadelphia,” Sister Louise said.