Founding of the Daughters of Charity, November 29, 1633

Names of earliest Daughters of Charity

Names of the first Daughters of Charity.

November 29, 1633 is the founding date for the Company of the Daughters of Charity. The image seen here includes the names of the first Sisters. The first Sister on the list, Marguerite Naseau, had died in 1633, but Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, the founders of the Community, considered Marguerite Naseau to be the first Daughter of Charity. Vincent speaks of Marguerite Naseau in his Conference of February 13, 1646:

“The first of these Sisters was a poor young woman from the country; I have to tell you this, Sisters, to let you see the Providence of God, who willed that your Company be composed of poor women, either by birth or by the choice they would make of poverty; yes, Sisters, I say poor women because you must be so in reality. This poor young woman had given herself to God to instruct, to the best of her knowledge, the children of her village and, while tending cattle, had learned to read almost on her own, for no one had taught her. She would stop a passerby and ask, ‘Monsieur, please tell me what these letters are, what this word means,’ and in this way she taught herself in order to teach others.

“Whenever she learned something, she taught her companions. We went to that place to give a mission, and God soon showed that this didn’t displease Him. When this dear young woman heard that people were looking after the sick in Paris, she wanted to serve them.We had her come here, and she was placed under the direction of Mlle Le Gras [Louise de Marillac] and at the service of the sick poor in Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet parish. A short time later she caught the plague and died at Saint-Louis Hospital. The Sister who was serving the sick at Saint-Sauveur took her place.

“And that, Sisters, was the beginning of your Company. As it wasn’t then what it is now, there’s reason to believe that it’s still not what it will be when God has perfected it as He wants it.”

(Translation by Sister Marie Poole, D.C., in Vincent de Paul, Correspondence, Conferences, and Documents, Volume 9).

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Filed under Louise de Marillac, Vincent de Paul

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