The Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul of Strassburg (Soeurs de la Toussaint) were established 1734 at Saverne, France, by Cardinal Armand Gaston de Rohan Soubise, prince bishop of Strasbourg (1704-1749) to address the pressing needs of the poor, especially those with war injuries needing care in hospitals. The Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres (founded 1696 by Reverend Louis Chauvet, 1664-1710) formed the new community’s first postulants and loaned a sister to be novice mistress of this new institute.
After Reverend Antoine Jeanjean became their superior in 1758, he developed a different rule based on that of Saint Vincent whom he designated their patron. (Vincent de Paul had been canonized in 1737.) Following the French Revolution, the institute formally adopted the name “Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul” but the original Daughters of Charity objected. The French government intervened in 1860 and prohibited the newer institute from using the same title. However, it had already been exported to other countries by sisters fleeing via the Rhine River to Germany, Austria, and Hungary during the French Revolution.
The congregation in France was renamed the Sisters of Charity of Strasbourg. United by the common bond of Saint Vincent de Paul as patron, nine other institutes stemming from this foundation formed the Vincentian Federation” based in Germany in 1971.
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