Category Archives: FAQs

FAQ: Policy on Relics

The Provincial Archives cannot provide relics of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton or any other saint.

Under Canon Law and Vatican Protocol N. 390/93, relics can be granted only for public veneration in a church, oratory, or chapel. In no case can a relic be given to individuals for private veneration. Parish churches wishing to procure a relic for public veneration must make their request in writing through their pastor to the Vatican. The request must have the NIHIL OBSTAT from the local bishop. We cannot assist in this.

Protocol N. 390/93 also states that relics such as those held in the Daughters of Charity Archives cannot be given out for any of the above approved uses. All requests for relics MUST be made to the Vatican through these dictated channels. We will continue to follow this protocol until we receive other direction from the Vatican in the form of a revision. The rules are clear and do not allow exceptions.

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FAQ: Academic Transcripts

The Daughters of Charity have run two liberal arts colleges (St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg and Marillac College in St. Louis) and a nursing college (Laboure College in Dorchester, MA). The Daughters have run many hospitals, and many of those hospitals had schools of nursing attached to them at one time. The Daughters have also taught in many high schools around the country. We are often asked to provide transcripts for students who attended Daughter of Charity educational institutions. For the most part, we do not maintain academic transcripts.

This FAQ contains:

  • Information on where to inquire further for transcripts we do not have
  • Information on obtaining transcripts we do have

St. Joseph College, Emmitsburg
St. Joseph College transcripts are held by the State of Maryland and serviced by the State of Maryland. Direct inquiries to:
Maryland Higher Education Commission
Division of Planning & Academic Affairs
6 North Liberty Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
phone: 800-974-0203
fax number, 410-332-0270

Laboure College, Dorchester, MA
Send transcript inquiries to the Registrar’s Office at Laboure College.

Marillac College, St. Louis
Marillac College transcripts are held by the Provincial Archives, and we service them. Use the form at the bottom of this page to contact us. We will send the paperwork to request a transcript. There is a $5.00 fee for official transcripts; $3.00 fee for unofficial transcripts. For security reasons, transcripts cannot be emailed.

Hospital-based schools of nursing
The Provincial Archives does not have transcripts from any school of nursing connected with a DC hospital.

There is no single answer to where nursing transcripts might reside. Laws concerning the retention of academic records differ from state to state. If the hospital was sold the records of the hospital, including the school of nursing, often passed to the successor hospital.

Possible places to inquire concerning school of nursing transcripts:

  • If the hospital which sponsored the nursing school still exists, contact the hospital’s medical records department.
  • State nursing boards
  • State departments of higher education
  • State archives. The Council of State Archivists maintains a list of links to state archives in every state.

We do know that nursing transcripts from Hotel Dieu Hospital in New Orleans were lost in Hurricane Katrina.

DC high schools
We do not have transcripts from any secondary school. If the school is still active, the school would have the transcripts. If the school is no longer active, the most likely sources are the diocese/archdiocese where the school was located, state education departments, or state archives.

Use the form below to contact us with questions concerning transcripts.

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FAQ: Sisters of Charity and Daughters of Charity

Our January 4, 2013 posting of Fr. Simon Bruté’s record of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s death prompted a question we often receive concerning the distinction between Sisters of Charity and Daughters of Charity.

In short, Mother Seton’s community was called the SISTERS of Charity of St. Joseph. Their spirit and charism was based on the charism of serving the poor established by Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, who founded the DAUGHTERS of Charity in France in 1633.

Spiritually, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s were in the tradition of the Daughters of Charity. Canonically, they were not. The actual union between Mother Seton’s community in Emmitsburg and the French Daughters of Charity didn’t happen until 1850. While the community in Emmitsburg did unite with the French Daughters, other Sisters of Charity communties did not. “Sisters of Charity” and “Daughters of Charity” are often used interchangeably but they are in fact different communities.

The model community on which John Carroll and the French Sulpicians had in mind for Mother Seton’s community was the Daughters of Charity. The common rules brought to America from France in 1810 refers to that group as the “Filles de la Charité” – Daughters of Charity.  In 1812 the rules of the Daughters of Charity were translated by Bishop Flaget – this translation is known as the American Rule. In the American Rule the name was changed to the “Society of Sisters of Charity.” St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac intentionally tried to disguise their group as the French government wanted women religious to stay in a cloister; so they did NOT call them Sisters. John Carroll and the Sulpicians, on the other hand, wished to identify this new group as women religious so they felt free to use that term. How did Mother Seton’s group refer to themselves, though? In “Numerous Choirs,” Ellin Kelly’s two-volume history of the Charities, Appendix A of Volume I has a transcription of the American Rule of 1812. Chapter II demonstrates how flexible the nomenclature was. Mother Seton’s group was called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph but on p. 244, we see that they are referred to “Sisters of St. Joseph” as well as “Sisters of Charity.” Those names are used interchangeably throughout. And while it would seem that the real distinction was made after some of the sisters merged with France in 1850, it’s interesting to note that up until the creation of today’s Province of St. Louise in 2011, official documents of the Emmitsburg Province still referred the these Daughters as the “Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph” — SCSJ.

 Vincent and Louise’s desire to have the Daughters of Charity serving in the community rather than remaining in the cloister shows up in many ways. The Daughters of Charity, then and now, do not make lifetime vows. They make annual vows. The Daughters of Charity have a seminary, other communities have a novitiate. Women who enter the seminary are considered full members of the Company of the Daughters of Charity – there are no “temporary” and  “final” professions in the Daughters of Charity. The date that a Daughter of Charity enters the seminary is called her vocation date. Roughly five years after her vocation date she pronounces vows for the first time and renews those vows every year after that. Daughters of Charity all over the world renew their vows every year on or about March 25. The desire to not be cloistered also influenced the design of the Daughters of Charity habit. In Vincent and Louise’s time the habit was a French peasant dress with a very simple sunbonnet – the habit didn’t take on the look we associate with the Daughters of Charity (including the “winged” cornette worn until 1964) until the 19th century. Vincent and Louise wanted the first Daughters to blend in with the people they were serving, and so they dressed like them.  The charism of serving the poor started by Vincent and Louise, along with many aspects of the DC community rules, were the basis for Mother Seton’s community. The DC habit was not, because Mother Seton’s community was not united with France during her lifetime. So Mother Seton’s community wore the “black cap” habit, not the cornette.

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