Feast of Annunciation; Vow Day for Daughters of Charity

On March 25, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation. For Daughters of Charity, March 25 is the traditional day that Sisters around the world renew their vows (the actual vow date can vary slightly depending on the timing of Easter; this year the renewal of vows will take place in early April). Daughters of Charity are unique in that they make annual vows, not perpetual vows. In addition to making the traditional vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience, Daughters of Charity make a fourth vow of service to persons who are poor.

Here is a YouTube video from the Daughters of Charity in Ireland about the history of vows in the Daughters of Charity.

Below are passages from the writings of Vincent and Louise. In the first, Louise asks Vincent for the privilege of making vows, for herself and for the early Sisters. In the second, Vincent de Paul addresses the early Sisters about the vocation of a Daughter of Charity.

Louise de Marillac.
L.615 – TO MONSIEUR VINCENT
March 25 [1659]
(From: Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac: Correspondence and
Thoughts. Edited and translated by Sister Louise Sullivan, D.C.
New York, New City Press, 1991)
I had promised myself the honor and the blessing of receiving Holy Communion at your Mass, my Most Honored Father, but I do not deserve this. It is already a great deal that Divine Providence reminded your Charity to be so kind as to grant me about a quarter hour of your time afterwards, otherwise I would have been severely hindered. All our sisters, from far and near, who have had the happiness of pronouncing their vows, and I, unworthy though I be, beg you, my Most Honored Father, to offer us to God in this sovereign mystery so that we may properly renew our vows, particularly the 12 sisters who will have the privilege of assisting at your Mass. We hope to share in it because of the need which your Charity knows we have of this. In all humi1ity, we ask for your paternal blessing. Allow me also to recommend my children to you and to call myself, my Most Honored Father, your very humble servant.

Vincent de Paul, Conference of July 19, 1640
THE VOCATION OF A DAUGHTER OF CHARITY
(From: Vincent de Paul. Correspondence, Conferences, Documents. Vol. 9. Brooklyn, NY: New City, 2004. Translated by Sister Marie Poole, D.C.)

“… Providence has permitted that the very first words of your Rule read as follows: ‘The Company of the Daughters of Charity is established to love and serve God, and to honor Our Lord their Patron and the Blessed Virgin.’ And how will you honor Him? Your Rule tells you, for it goes on to make known to you God’s plan in establishing your Company: ‘To serve the sick poor corporally by supplying them with all they need; and spiritually by seeing that they live and die in a good state.’ So you see, Sisters, you may do all the good you like, but if you don’t do it well, it will profit you nothing. Saint Paul taught us this: give all your goods to the poor, but if you don’t have charity, you’re doing nothing; no, not even should you give your lives. We must imitate the Son of God, dear Sisters, who did nothing except from the motive of the love He had for God His Father. So, your intention in coming to the Charity should be to come here purely for the love and pleasure of God; and, as long as you remain in it, all your actions should tend to that same love … Don’t be content with doing good, but do it in the way God wants, that is, as perfectly as you can, thereby becoming worthy servants of the poor … ”

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Filed under Feast Days, Louise de Marillac, Vincent de Paul, Vows

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