August 22 marks the 194th anniversary of the first foundation of the Confraternity of Charity in 1617. This marks the first institutional expression of the Vincentian charism, They were later to be called The Ladies of Charity.In August 1617, as he was preparing for Sunday Mass, a parishioner brought news of the illness and destitution of an entire family in the parish. He preached on their need, and that afternoon the people responded in overwhelming numbers by carrying them food and supplies. Vincent then called a meeting of interested women, and urged them to put order into their generosity by taking turns. With rules drawn up by Vincent, they established a group which became the first Confraternity of Charity.
For a history of the Ladies of Charity in the USA visit http://www.famvin.org/LCUSA/history.html
For an article situating the Confraternities and the Ladies of Charity in the history of the Church’s care for the poor visit Catholic Encylopedia