When I was a senior in high school, John F. Kennedy took the oath of office as President of the United States. His famous line changed my thinking, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This has stayed with me as my own mantra. God spoke to me through these words and I heard, “Focus on what God can do, working through me.”
By graduation, I had made the decision to enter the Daughters of Charity. The application process did not take long. Within six months, I was accepted and left my loving family to begin living Community life with the Daughters of Charity. Our beginning years of formation were a time to study what our call would mean for me, strengthen the discipline needed, and deepen my prayer life. I entered fully into my call and found that by living, not focused on me, but on those living with poverty, was fulfilling for me. After five years of formation, I felt ready to commit and make my vows.
Our vows are annual, made each year on March. This is an opportunity to renew my commitment to serve the poor and to enter more deeply into total trust and dependence upon God.
Once I entered, my life was focused on serving the poor--our Community charism and our fourth vow. Our founders, St. Vincent DePaul and St. Louise de Marillac, founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633 in Paris, France. The first Sisters lived, not in convents, but in rented rooms. They walked the streets to bring food, medicine, and whatever else was needed by the poor. This is still where you will find our sisters, ministering in parishes, schools, medical facilities, social service agencies, wherever the poor are found. We live in Community, pray together, and enjoy meals together. We have missions across the United States and in many countries around the globe.
- Sister Mary Catherine Dunn, D.C.