Sisters of Charity Rule of 1812

Document 3: Sisters of Charity Rule of 1812, in Numerous Choirs: A Chronicle of Elizabeth Bayley Seton and Her Spiritual Daughters, compiled by Ellin Kelly, Vol. 1 (Evansville, Indiana, 1981), p. 243.



In 1809, Elizabeth Seton and nine other women, assisted by Bishop John Carroll and several French émigré priests, formed the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's, the first indigenous community of Catholic women religious founded in the United States. From their founding the Sisters desired to live a life of service to the poor.  Initially they adopted a "Provisional Rule," but within a few years they obtained a copy of the rule of the French Daughters of Charity.  After adapting this document to suit their needs and the American culture, they adopted the "Regulations for the Society of the Sisters of Charity in the United States of America" in 1812. 


The principal end for which God has called and assembled the Sisters of Charity is to honor Jesus Christ Our Lord as the source and model of all Charity by rendering to him every temporal and spiritual service in their power in the persons of the poor either sick, invalid, children, prisoners, even the insane or others who through shame would conceal their necessities in some instance.