In response to the immense poverty in 17th century France, St. Vincent organized women from affluent families who shared his concern for the sick and the poor. These groups were called the Confraternities of Charity. The noble ladies found it hard to give personal care to the poor and would sometimes send their servants to minister to those in need; for example they might send their maids to take food into the homes of poor families. A small group of these maids or peasant village girls would become the first Daughters of Charity, under the leadership of St. Louise de Marillac. The Daughters were unlike other Sisters at the time in terms of both social and economic status and their desire to live and work among those in need.
Marguerite Naseau is considered to be the first Daughter of Charity. She lived and died in the service of people who were sick and/or poor. St. Vincent often acknowledged her in his writings as a model for the Daughters of Charity. (CCD IX, p. 66)
Read her inspiring story in the presentation below. From an article written by Sister Anne Neylon, D.C., Province of Ireland.
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