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July 31: Foundation of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph’s

by | Jul 30, 2017 | Formation


In an article for the Vincentian Heritage Journal, “Memoir of Sister Cecilia O’Conway: Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s,” Sister Betty Ann McNeil, D.C. writes:

“…Cecilia Maria O’Conway (1788-1865) is to the Sisters of Charity of North America what Marguerite Naseau (1594-1633) is to the Daughters of Charity of Europe – the first candidate to present herself and the sister who showed others the way.

This article presents one of the oldest extant chronologies of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s and was written by Sister Cecilia O’Conway at Emmitsburg, Maryland. In order to elucidate the entries of this primitive record, extant writings of Sister Cecilia’s companions are utilized to hear their voices and learn from their accounts. The most pristine description of the earliest Sisters of Charity comes directly from the founding generation.”

Sr. Betty Ann continues:

All records document that the community [The Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s] was founded in The Stone House at Emmitsburg, 31 July 1809…

The article is full of interesting details about the nine young women who became the first Sisters of Charity in North America. One Sister was as young as 16 years old; others were in their early 20s.

I think you will enjoy reading the full story– including brief backgrounds on each of the nine Sisters, and a timeline of events around the time a group of Sisters set off from Baltimore in a wagon, bound for the Valley of Emmitsburg, Maryland. See full article in Vincentian Heritage Journal

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