Sisters of Charity of Immaculate Conception celebrate 160 years
The story of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) began 160 years ago in Saint John, New Brunswick. Honoria Conway and companions founded the religious community Oct. 21, 1854 in response to an urgent appeal from Bishop Thomas Louis Connolly, OFM (Cap).
SCIC are active participants in the North American Sisters of Charity Federation which belongs to the Vincentian Family. The first four Sisters received the Vincentian rule as adapted by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 19th century America.
Originally, SCIC ministries focused on education and social service among orphans and Irish immigrants suffering from sickness and poverty. Missions soon flourished within and beyond New Brunswick, expanding to western Canada, Quebec, Nova Scotia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as Peru and Ireland.
SCIC adapted to the needs of the times in education, health care and social service. Their response evolved to include parish and liturgical ministries; spiritual direction; addictions counselling; inner city and prison ministry; marriage tribunal service, as well as journalism, campus ministry, spiritual and religious care and presence among Aboriginal (indigenous) peoples.
The Sisters’ 2014 – 2018 Directional Statement expresses their deepening commitment to the Charity charism, or founding and evolving gift for life and mission. It includes commitment to reach out in ministry and advocate with:
- those who are marginalized
- those who are suffering
- those living in poverty.
It also expresses commitment to care for the earth and environment and continue a discerning, life-giving journey with SCIC Associates. In the Atlantic, Prairie and Pacific regions of Canada, these women and men share the Charity charism and express it in their daily lives. Associates have their own leadership regionally and nationally and earlier this year, developed a unique directional statement.
On the occasion of their 160th anniversary, SCIC join Associates and staff in giving thanks for all who participate in God’s reign of compassion, justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Their prayer of thanksgiving includes many who have partnered — and continue to collaborate — with them. For more about SCIC and Associates, see www.sistersofcharityic.com