They were founded 1842 by Bishop John Ham (1781-1804) in Satu-Mare (Szatmar, then Austria-Hungary, now Romania) for diverse apostolic and charitable services because of his concern for the poor, the sick, the neglected, and the education of youth. He sent some candidates to Vienna (then in Austria-Hungary) for religious formation by the sisters at Gumpendorf, who observed the rule of Saint Vincent whom Ham named as patron of his institute.
He also developed a rule based on the Common Rules of Saint Vincent. After World War I, the province of Hungary of this diocesan institute divided into three provinces: Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. A mission to the United States of America in 1902 later resulted in the establishment (1951) of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Pittsburgh and subsequently Bedford.