Commonly used word
and phrases




Involved in some form of service or ministry to others


Sacrament of Initiation in which a person becomes a member of the Catholic community


A gift of the Holy Spirit, granted to a person or persons for the common good of the Church; it is proper to speak of the charism of the Founders and the spirit of the Company


A group of Daughters of Charity who live together for the sake of the mission


Groups of women who joined together as Ladies of Charity to serve the poor in an organized manner


The process of prayerful reflection to discover where God is leading


Sacrament in which bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ


The Daughters of Charity give great importance to both initial and ongoing formation, in order to strengthen and energize the Sister in her vocation, to offer quality service to those who are poor, and to know and discern the signs of the time. Formation allows the Sister to live her vocation as a progressive modeling of herself in Christ, with renewed fidelity to the Spirit and to the aim of the Company.

Formation at all levels has as its goal, above all, the growth of each Sister in faith so that, animated by the Holy Spirit and the charism of the Founders, she becomes capable of:

• Acquiring convictions that strengthen and unify her total gift of self to God

• Being a servant of Christ in the poor and the poor in Christ, in a spirit of humility, simplicity and charity

• Living a life in common for mission (Constitutions and Statutes of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, C. 49)

Liturgy of the Hours

The preferred term in the Latin rite for the official liturgical prayers sanctifying the parts of each day; the Daughters of charity pray the morning and evening prayers as part of their prayer ritual (Catholic News Service Stylebook on Religion, 1990)

Local Community

The primary place of belonging for Daughters of Charity; community living fosters among them a sharing that extends not only to material conditions but also to spiritual and apostolic commitments: in dialogue, experiences are shared, differences are minimized, decisions are sought together (Constitutions and Statutes of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, C. 34)


The stage during which the candidate experiences living a spiritual, community and apostolic life in common; she continues to discern her vocation and deepen her human and Christian formation

In the light of the Gospel, she seeks to discover the Vincentian charism and learn the requirements of her vocation as expressed in the Constitutions and Statutes. During this stage, the Postulant is assisted particularly by the Sister Servant and local community in coordination with the Sisters responsible for Postulancy. She is admitted to the Seminary when both she and the Company are morally certain she is called by God and is ready to take upon herself the life of a Daughter of Charity (Constitutions and Statutes of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, C. 54)


A time specifically reserved for vocational discernment; the purpose is to help a woman ask if God is calling her to religious life and it is characterized by a deepening of her Christian life and approach to the life of the Daughters of Charity


1. Characterized by adherence to religion or a religion; devout, pious, godly 2. Of, concerned with, appropriate to, or teaching religion 3. Belonging to a Community of monks, nuns, etc. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)


Religious rites; Catholics recognize seven: the Eucharist (called the Lord’s Supper by Protestants), baptism, confirmation, penance (now often called the sacrament of reconciliation), matrimony, holy orders and the sacrament of anointing the sick (Catholic News Service Stylebook on Religion, 1990)


Enables a Daughter of Charity to intensify her theological life, to integrate the values if service, total gift of self to God, community living, and to familiarize herself with the practice of the evangelical counsels in a “state of charity”; similar to what other communities call a novitiate.

During this stage, the Sister strives to cultivate evangelical discernment and to acquire sufficient knowledge of the Constitutions and Statutes. In a spirit of recollection, prayer and Christian asceticism, as well as through apostolic activities and periods of apostolic experience in a local community, she becomes imbued with the spirituality of the Founders. She is supported by an intensive liturgical life and an atmosphere of simplicity and friendship.

The Seminary Directress, assisted by other formators, has the primary responsibility for formation during this period.

At the end of Seminary, the duration of which is a minimum of 12 months, excluding the periods of apostolic experience, the young Sister submits to the Visitatrix in writing her request for her “sending on mission” (Constitutions and Statutes of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, C. 56).

Society of Apostolic Life

Defined in Canon Law as “an Institute whose members, without religious vows, pursue their proper apostolic purpose and, leading a life in common, strive for the perfection of charity through the observation of their Constitutions. Among these are societies in which members assume the evangelical counsels by some bond defined by their Constitutions.”


A sacred promise or commitment made publicly with the approval of the Church. Through her vows, a Sister responds with her whole life to God’s invitation to love Him completely and without reserve. This free response is a fuller expression of her baptismal call and is, for one who is genuinely called to the consecrated life, a means to greater holiness. <http://usccb.org> Ratifying the gift of self to God; Daughters of Charity make four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience and service of the poor; the vows are annual and nonreligious


St. Louise de Marillac

(1591-1660) Co-founder of the Daughters of Charity; proclaimed “Patroness of all those who devote themselves to Christian social works”

St. Vincent de Paul

(1581-1660) Co-founder of the Daughters of Charity; proclaimed “Universal Patron of works of charity”

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

(1774-1821) The first native-born American saint; founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph in Emmitsburg, Maryland; in 1850, this American Community was united with the Company of the Daughters of Charity

St. Catherine Labouré

(1806-1876) A Daughter of Charity favored with the apparition of the Blessed Mother who asked her to create the Miraculous Medal

Daughters of Charity Martyrs of Angers

Daughters of Charity Martyrs of Arras

Daughters of Charity Martyrs of Madrid

Marguerite Naseau

(1594-1633) The first Daughter of Charity

Blessed Giuseppina Nicoli


Blessed Lindalva Justo De Oliveira


Blessed Rosalie Rendu


St. Joan Antida Thouret


Blessed Marta Anna Wiekca


Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph

The name first given to the Community founded by Elizabeth Ann Seton


The Daughters of Charity Motherhouse is located at 140 Rue du Bac in Paris, France, at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.