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Four Becomes One – New Province of the Daughters of Charity in the USA

On Sunday, July 31, 2011 the Baltimore Basilica of National Shrine of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, America’s First Cathedral hosted the very special event in the modern history of the Company of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian Family the USA. During the Eucharist presided by Most Rev. Gregory Gay CM, Superior General,  a new Province of the Daughters of Charity in the United States and Canada was inaugurated by Sr. Evelyne Franc DC, Superioress General, uniting four existing Provinces  east of the Rockies and installing new Provincial administration. Some 385 Daughters of Charity have arrived to Baltimore to witness the inauguration of new Province.  Also present were Rev. Javier Alvarez CM, Vicar General, Rev. Patrick Griffin CM, Director General of the Daughters of Charity, and each of four outgoing Directors were present: Rev. Gerard Luttenberger CM, Rev. Jack Timlin CM, Rev. John Francis Clark CM and Fr. William Hartenbach CM. Also present was Fr. Joseph Daly CM past Director of the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg.

Baltimore is a very significant place for the Vincentian Family in the United States especially Federation of Sisters of Charity and Congregation of the Mission.  In June 1808 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton arrived to Baltimore invited by Archbishop William Luis Dubourg  SS. In Baltimore she opens her first school (St. Mary’s College) and in 1809 for the first time takes vows of chastity and obedience.  In 1816 by the invitation of the the same Archbishop, Fr. Felix DeAndreis CM and Fr. Joseph Rosati CM arrive to Baltimore from Europe initiating the Vincentian community in the United States. Two of 23 successors of St. Vincent de Paul are Baltimoreans.

During the Mass, Superioress General, Sr. Evelyne Franc DC installed administration of the new province. First she installed new Visitatrix (Provincial Superior) who is designated for a six-year term by the Superioress General with her Council (Constitutions, C73). She is Sr. Louise Gallahue DC, previously Visitatrice of Northeast Province (Albany, NY) since 2009, when she replaced Sister Kathleen Appler DC, now a member of the General Council. Sister Louise is recognized both as highly qualified psychiatric nurse and healthcare system manager. Before she was appointed head of  the former Northeast Province  (it was her second time as Province leader; her first term was 1992-2002) she was a Chairperson in the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent’s Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Health Services in Bridgeport, CT. She served in boards of trustees in many other hospitals across State of New York and New England which she is native. As she says herself, moving to St. Louis  is a challenge, because she never lived in the Midwest before and she will miss New England and closeness to  Ocean coast, she enjoyed in Albany. She joined Daughters of Charity in 1966, three years before the Northeast Province was erected. She earned BSN from Boston College School of Nursing and MSN in Psychiatric/Community Mental Health Nursing from Columbia University.

Next Sr. Evelyne installed new Provincial Council members, which are chosen in the same way the Visitatrix is designated. According to the Constitution Provincial leadership can be elected however Province members decided to use “consultation” instead of “election”.  The new 8-members Provincial Council consists of  Sr. Rose Ann Aguilar DC (previously Councilor in West Central Province), Sr. Nora Gatto DC (prev. Councilor in Northeast Prov.), Sr Janet Keim DC (from East Central Prov.), Sr. Mary Beth Kubera DC (from East Central Prov.), Sr. Jean Rhoads DC (prev. Councilor in Southeast Prov.), Sr. Joanne Vasa DC (prev. Councilor in West Central Prov.) , Sr. Mary Walz DC (prev. Visitatrix of West Central Prov.), and Sr. Mary Catherine Warehime DC (from Southeast Prov.). Afterwards, Sr. Gallahue installed new Provincial Treasurer who is Sr. Jane Graves DC (prev. Treasurer in Northeast Prov) and new Provincial Secretary, Sr. Maureen Schmalzreid DC.

Watch picture gallery from the inauguration gathering in Baltimore

The new leadership team has quite varied experiences in ministry. There are three sisters with education and formation experience, one sister in healthcare administration and one in clinical healthcare with a focus on geriatric health, one in youth work/Vincentian Family and two social workers, both with experience in Hispanic ministry and one with seniors.

Finally, according to Constitutions of Daughters of Charity Superior General, Rev. Gregory Gay CM, native of Baltimore, installed new Provincial Director, Rev. Thomas McKenna CM (US Eastern Province). Born June 11, 1943 in Brooklyn. NY,  he entered the Congregation of the Mission June 12, 1962, was incorporated in the Congregation June 13, 1967 and ordained May 30, 1970. He’s got M.A. in Philosophy from St. John’s University, NY (1973) and doctorate in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America (1980). For 10 years, Father McKenna taught spirituality as a member of the department of theology at St. John’s University. He has also taught at Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya. Visitor (Provincial Superior) of the US Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, 1999-2009. Currently member of Campus Ministry in Niagara University.
“He is noted as a good speaker and writer in the areas of scripture and Vincentian spirituality. Many of the Sisters know him through retreats and conferences that he has given. To this new role he brings his gifts of intelligence, clear thinking, attentive listening and common sense.”,  wrote Superior General in the message on his appointment in December 2010. (Read more)
The Provincial Director is a priest of the Congregation of the Mission, who provides for a Province of the Daughters of Charity a service of Vincentian animation and accompaniment, in collaboration with the Visitatrix and her Council. He is appointed by the Superior General and represents him in the exercise of the functions that the proper law of the Company recognizes (Constitutions, C75)


This is low quality amateur video recording from the Eucharist in Baltimore Basilica presenting highlights of the event.

The process of unification called Visioning for the Mission began in 2007 with a gathering of the Daughters of Charity from all of the uniting provinces in Buffalo, New York, and a plan was developed to make their vision a reality. Today, Northeast (Albany,NY), Southeast (Emmitsburg, MD), East Central (Evansville, IN) and West Central (St. Louis, MO) Provinces became one, the Province of Saint Louise, taking the name after St. Louise de Marillac, Foundress of the Company of Daughters of Charity (along with St. Vincent de Paul).

Marillac Provincial House in St. Louis, MO (4330 Olive Street), previously the headquarters of West Central Province will continue its role in the new erected Province. St. Louis was chosen because of its central location, easy access to all types of transportation and reasonable costs of living. Various branches of the Vincentian Family in the USA (Vincentians Western Province, SSVP, Ladies of Charity, VMY) are headquartered in St. Louis, too. Also, Saint Louis allows for mobility required to meet needs of those who are poor with adequate access to public transportation. Daughters of Charity (actually Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph from Emmitsburg) came to St. Louis in 1828 to open the first hospital west of the Mississippi River.

Merger of the provinces brought some valuable benefits. New, full-time lay employee positions were created. Number of Daughters of Charity involved in the leadership was reduced significantly. More Sisters can be assigned to hands-on ministries. Reconfiguration of four provinces allows reorganizing current ministries and start new ones in new locations. Four former Provincial Houses will most of their activities. Senior-aged Sister Residences will be maintained. . The retreat center and co-op farm will continue in Evansville, IN.

In the new Province of Saint Louise 562 Sisters are working in over 70 communities in 22 of 34 US States, Washington, D.C. and  Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When the four currently merging Provinces were initiated in 1969, there were some 2,000 Sisters in all of them.  Decline in vocation was one of the reasons of reconfiguration to make the ministry more effective. They minister in 190 different works in those locations including as far south west as El Paso, Texas, and as far north east as Boston, Mass. The Sisters serve in inner cities in schools such as St. Mark’s Grade School in Harlem, N.Y., as well as in rural areas including Dumas, Ark., where they serve in a small, health center.  Province of St. Louise Sisters serve in foreign missions on every continent except Antarctica. Soon the number of ministries will increase.  The first new location will be in Greensboro, NC, where two Daughters of Charity soon will serve at St. Mary’s Parish, ministered by the Vincentians (Eastern Province). In recent years, the parish has grown with new members from the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Vietnam, and immigrants from other nations. The Daughters of Charity are not strangers to Greensboro; they served there at St. Leo’s Hospital from 1906 to 1954; St. Pius X School from 1926 to 1998; St Mary’s Mission School/Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal School from 1928 to 1972; and at St. Mary’s Center from 1973 to 1992.  According to Archdiocese of St. Louis new Province’s plans also include renovation of the former convent at St. James the Greater Parish in South St. Louis for postulant sisters (details not yet known). The Daughters believe that combining sister-personnel and their “best practices” would be the most effective way to continue to stand in solidarity with the increasing numbers who find themselves in circumstances of poverty.

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In collaboration with  Sr. Mary Frances Barnes DC
Picture credits: Filles-de-la-charite.org;Daughters-of-charity.org; Sr. Denise LaRock’s blog

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8 comments to Four Becomes One – New Province of the Daughters of Charity in the USA

  • [...] CM Province of New England has compiled the most complete coverage and collection of photos about the recent inauguration of [...]

  • [...] Siostry są przekonane, że połączenie składu osobowego prowincji oraz „najlepszych praktyk” stosowanych przez Siostry będzie najskuteczniejszą metodą solidaryzowania się z rosnącą liczbą  osób, które znajdują się w ubóstwie. To read this article in English go to:  Four Becomes One – New Province of the Daughters of Charity in the USA [...]

  • [...] have heard the excitement of the celebration of the merger of four Daughters of Charity provinces into one. The following is about some of the  dying and rising that was involved “back [...]

  • Vincent Quinn

    This is all WONDERFUL! We who are not DCs or CMs love you and appreciate this coverage of the installation. Wish we could have been there but glad to have pictures and live coverage. Much success in your reunification.
    Love from Vincent Quinn

  • Christine Clifford Hurley

    Congratulations! Although I am not a DC, I have many fond memories of the DC’s I have known through the years. I always enjoy any news of the Daughters. Thanks for the information and coverage.

  • Phil O'Neil

    Where is the new website for the new St. Louise Province?

    You are missing out on the ability to attract young women without it.

  • Toma

    To the best of our knowledge, website of the new St. Louise Province is under construction. It will appear soon.
    The new webpage could be reached at:

    http://www.daughtersofcharity.org/

    At the moment, you will find links to important activities of the Community including vocation and discernment.

  • Dale Brooks

    The daughters of charity have left a wonderful legacy of service and love. The legacy created by Sister Rosalie Rendu and others is a wonderful example of Pope Francis’s commitment to a church of the poor. God bless them.

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