The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were founded in 1812. Mother Catherine Spalding, along with Bishop John Baptist David, are honored together and remembered as co-founders of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
In 1812, in the newly formed diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky, Bishop Benedict Flaget was overwhelmed by the responsibility of providing religious education for the children of Catholic families who had migrated to Kentucky from Maryland after the Revolutionary War. In response to this need, Father John Baptist David called for young women willing to devote their lives to the service of the Church. From among a group of six women that responded to the call, nineteen year old Catherine Spalding, originally from Maryland, was elected first superior of the Congregation. Mother Catherine guided the young Congregation for forty-five years.
The new community followed the rule of St. Vincent de Paul and their dwelling was named Nazareth. The symbol of the congregation is the pelican feeding its young from its own body. The Sisters’ spiritual formation and service to their neighbors steadily expanded on the Kentucky frontier and beyond. They are now an international congregation, both in ministry and membership, with approximately 630 sisters. They serve in 20 states in the U.S.A., in India, Nepal, Botswana, and Belize.
In November of 2008, the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania formally merged into the SCN Congregation. Now, as one Congregation, ministries expanded as the number of Sisters and Associates and the diversity of outreach programs increased. As the SCNs begin their third century of ministry, the Motherhouse and central offices of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are still located on the same property the Congregation moved to in 1822. The SCN family has grown to include Associates, SCN volunteers, employees, friends, donors, and people around the world working in ministry.
They are committed to six priorities in ministry: promoting peace, promoting humanization of values, opposing racism, alleviating poverty, supporting women’s issues and supporting environmental issues. Through their daily lives and ministries, in collaboration with their Associates and others, they are living out these priorities to meet the changing needs of today’s world in their spirit of pioneering.