What is the charism of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill?
We the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill follow Jesus Christ, the source and model of all charity. We consecrate our lives to God for the needs of the church and of the world, especially in service of the poor. Ever mindful of our motto that “the Charity of Christ urges us,” and remembering that God is ever present we rely on God’s providence as we strive to do God’s will.
As a Congregation we are ready to respond and willing to serve wherever the church and the world most need us. Indeed, the three virtues which constitute our traditional ideal encourage openness and flexibility. Humility accepts new directions with grace, simplicity acts promptly upon them, and charity leavens the whole. Humility can risk new ventures because it does not fear failure; simplicity keeps the effort straightforward and self-forgetting; charity urges us to embrace the whole world.
What are the fields of action of your mission? And what parts of the world are you in?
Our mission is to bring the love and compassion of God to all those we meet. The ministries of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill include the education of children and programs for adults and the aged, providing services and education for children who are disabled and underprivileged, providing health services, directing programs and giving support to refugees, visiting the aged and prisoners, assisting at parishes and praying for those in need.
Our community has two provinces, one in the US and the other in South Korea and we have two missions, one in China and the other in Ecuador. We have a common vision: to concretize the charism of charity wherever we are in different parts of the world where our Sisters are living and serving.
Can you explain the link between your congregation and the Vincentian family?
We draw our spirit and charism from our founder, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who by embracing the Vincentian Rule rooted herself and her community in the spiritual tradition of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac. These three saints are the patrons and spiritual foundation of our religious community.
Charity in our day has been upset by the arrival of COVID-19: how did you respond as a religious congregation to the pandemic?
Our entire world worked to discover new ways to communicate while following the local government regulations during the coronavirus pandemic and therefore virtual gatherings became the new normal.
During the lock-down and isolation times of the pandemic we encouraged our Sisters to take part in live-streaming and on-line Masses, religious services and presentations. Our Sisters were also very active in making masks, packing meals for the first responders and those in need and making donations to help with food insecurity. I made personal phone calls to the Sisters to see how they were doing and to give them the opportunity to talk about their concerns. The Generalate Leadership team also started a virtual program by Zoom called “Sharing Our Life” where we focused on different aspects and works of the Sisters. This informal setting, followed by questions and answers, has been well received. Also, we were able to post these presentations on our webpage for those who were not able to participate in the live program.
In January 2020 you participated in the meeting held in Rome: after almost a year what are your considerations on that meeting? What are the challenges of charity?
The Vincentian Family Superiors General and International Presidents Gathering in Rome was a wonderful and exciting experience. With a sense of profound gratitude, we celebrated the closing Eucharist and Father Tomaž, spoke about our dreams and hopes for a future of greater collaboration among the members of the Vincentian Family. This conference was truly an historic event and a blessing for everyone who attended. Our relationships were deepened and we grew in our understanding of the breadth and depth of the global Vincentian Charism and Family. In the days that followed this meeting I have come to a greater appreciation and love for the worldwide Vincentian Family. The opportunity to share in groups with individuals from all over the world was exceptional.
Our Generalate Leadership team formed a new Vincentian Family group in the Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Pennsylvania area a few years ago and the large meeting in Rome brought to light the reality that we are another important group in this wonderful family. Because of COVID-19 we were not able to meet face to face this year but organized Zoom planning meetings and Zoom presentations for the Vincentian Family members in the area.
Could you share with us a significant moment for your Congregation…
Last year, 2020, we celebrated our 150th Congregational Jubilee and the 60th Jubilee in our South Korean Province. We planned many events to celebrate these occasions but because of the Coronavirus we were not able to have many of these live celebrations. We were able to create a virtual choir with members from both provinces titled, “Women of Charity for the World.” Also, on the occasion of our anniversaries, the Korean Province translated into English the publication Living the Charism of Charity: History of the First Fifty Years of the Korean Province and presented each member in the US Province with a copy and a handmade rosary and pouch. These gifts were another symbol of our unity in the charism of Elizabeth, Vincent and Louise.