“On the End [Purpose] of the Company,” October 18, 1655

Document 1: Excerpts from “On the End [Purpose] of the Company,” October 18, 1655, from The Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul to the Daughters of Charity, translated from the French by Joseph Leonard, C.M. (Collins Liturgical Publications, 1979), pp. 738-751.

The Daughters of Charity were founded in Paris in November 1633 by a French priest, Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), and Louise de Marillac (1591-1660), a French noblewoman.  Originally comprised of poor country women, the Daughters of Charity were to assist noble women who were members of the Confraternities of Charity, also founded by Vincent de Paul, in supplying relief to the poor.  Soon the Daughters were embarking on their own missions of charity. The early rules governing their lives and activities were in constant flux, and it was not until 1655 that their rule was approved. Between 1634 and 1660 Vincent de Paul gave them a series of 120 conferences elaborating on the living of the rule. This excerpt is from the conference titled: "On the End [Purpose] of the Company."

Document Text

But you, my dear Sisters, you have given yourselves especially to God to live like good

Christian women, to assist the sick poor, assisting them with the greatest solicitude. Another

work is the care of poor abandoned children, the foundlings, who have no one to look after them. Another of God’s works is the care of poor criminals and convicts. Ah! Sisters, what happiness

to serve poor convicts abandoned into the hands of those who have no pity on them! Another field of work is the care of the sick poor, the poor old people, and those poor folk who have lost

their minds.

 

The end therefore, towards which you should tend is to honour Our Lord Jesus Christ, serving him in the poor, in children, in the necessitous poor, and also those poor people whom you assisted when they had to seek refuge in Paris on account of the wars.

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