What is a day like for a Daughter
of Charity?

How many Daughters of Charity
are there?

What kind of work do the
Daughters do?

Where do the Daughters live?

Do the Daughters of Charity
wear a habit?

How do the Daughters spend
their “free time”?

What does the prayer life of a
Daughter of Charity look like?

About the Daughters of Charity

What is a day like for a Daughter of Charity?

Each day, a Daughter of Charity meets Christ in her Sisters, collaborators and in the poor. She begins her day with private and community prayer and participates in the celebration of the Eucharist at her parish church. Her call to serve others varies according to her gifts and the needs of the province.

She may be a teacher in a school, a social worker in a daycare center, a pastoral administrator or someone who does outreach to the sick or elderly. Her ministry requires regular hours of service, but she responds to the cries of the poor as she hears them in the present moment. She might be called to the bedside of a dying patient to be with his family and friends, or she might serve as an advocate for a hungry and jobless individual seeking assistance. She might cheer one of her students on to victory at a basketball game, or be called to drive an elderly client to the grocery store for shopping.

A Daughter of Charity is open to where Christ calls her and responds with love. At the end of the day, she returns to her home to share an evening meal with her Sisters, to pray and relax.

How many Daughters of Charity are there?

The Daughters of Charity are an international community of almost 17,000 Catholic women who live and minister in 95 countries all over the world. In the U.S., the Daughters have two provinces with established headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., and Los Altos Hills, Calif. See more places we serve on our map.

What kind of work do the Daughters do?

The basic “work” of the Daughters of Charity revolves around service to the poor. Our ministry is to respond to the changing needs of the poor throughout the world, including ministries in elementary, high schools and universities; religious education; parish ministry; skilled nursing facilities; multi-hospital systems; clinics; daycare and neighborhood services; services and residences for the aged; social services and Catholic Charities offices; prison ministry; advocacy; homeless shelters; children’s residences; homes for retired Sisters; rural ministry; and outreach services.

Where do the Daughters live?

Daughters of Charity live in simple homes near our ministries. Usually, our community is composed of four to seven Daughters serving in the same geographical area. We have houses in more than 2,000 communities in 95 countries in the world. In the U.S., we currently have houses in 21 states plus the District of Columbia and Canada. View our map to see where we live and serve.

Do the Daughters of Charity wear a habit?

The Daughters wear a habit that, in the spirit of our founders, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, is the simple dress of the common and poor. Our habit is a simple navy blue dress or navy blue skirt and white blouse, worn with a small Vincentian cross that is a symbol of our community. A navy blue coiffe (or veil) is optional and each Sister chooses to wear a coiffe or not, depending on what will help her live out her commitment to serve those who are poor more fully.

How do the Daughters spend their “free time”?

We have leisure time each week. How we spend our leisure time is as varied as we are. Some Sisters like to read, others enjoy outdoor activities. We might share a simple meal with a friend or watch a movie together, or grab an ice cream cone. You might find us playing music or taking a long walk, or participating in athletic activities. A lot of us spend time on artwork, needlework and other crafts, as well as writing poetry and corresponding with friends.

What does the prayer life of a Daughter of Charity look like?

Prayer is an important and integral part of the life of a Daughter of Charity. Each day, a Sister takes time for an hour of silent prayer as well as time for the rosary, spiritual reading and private prayer to communicate with God, who is the center of her life. There are also times for common prayer in the morning and evening and for the daily celebration of the Eucharist. A Daughter shares her spiritual journey with her companions as they support and encourage one another to grow in faith, and the Community sets aside time for spiritual sharing each week.