Spiritual Moderator: Mission and Virtues of the Ladies of Charity

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Mission And Virtues of the Ladies of Charity

Opening Reflection

I encourage you, therefore, to listen with confidence today and everyday. Listen to the words of the prophet Hosea. This is God’s word spoken to us: “I will allure you, I will lead you into the desert and speak to your heart. I will espouse you in fidelity and you shall know the Lord.” That is what the Lord promises us. Allow him to speak to your heart and to fan the missionary zeal that lies there into a flame, so that together we can make the worldwide Vincentian Family a powerful instrument for the service of the poor.


Adapted from the words of Rev. Robert P. Maloney, Superior General of the Vincentians July, 2002 at Vincentian Session in Paris.

“The confraternity of the Ladies of Charity sprang from God in order to honor our Lord Jesus Christ as the source and model of all charity.” -St. Vincent

The Virtues of the Lady of Charity

  • Humility – Modest Sense of One’s Own Significance

Humility is the base of our charitable action. In seeing the poverty and misery of the poor, in confronting injustices, physical and moral downfalls, a Lady of Charity remembers that the spiritual and temporal goods… are gifts of God.

  • Simplicity – Absence of Pretentiousness

A Lady of Charity inspired by the virtue of simplicity acts with her eyes fixed only on God. She does not seek recognition; she goes straight to the goal by the means faith, religion and experience suggest. She works faithfully for the poor.

  • Charity – The Greatest of These is Love

It is in the love for our neighbor that we find the proof of our love of God. Excerpts from the Manual of LCUSA, p. 7

Characteristics of Affective and Effective Charity

(terms used by St. Vincent in the formation of his early Vincentian groups.
  • Ability to enter the world of the poor; not needing to have all the answers.
  • Ability to listen to the poor; not looking above or below but in the eyes of the poor; to listen to their perspective.
  • Accompaniment, not imposition.
  • Patience
  • Collaboration
  • Solidarity

According to St. Vincent, charity is the love of those whose service is “not only tender, it is effective”

Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, February 9, 1653

There is no plan or set of structures that will always work. The Gospels provide no blueprint for charity. Corporal and spiritual service of the poor is a challenge that we assume, recognizing the present situation, the demands of the Gospel and some of the temptations. Vincentian Session in Paris, July, 2002, Rev. John Prager, CM, p 314

Reflection Questions

From this reflection sheet, what do I most want to remember?

For myself?
For the Ladies of Charity group that I serve?

What is the underlying current that seems to stir me to action?

As I complete these reflection sheets, what vision can direct my actions even if it requires risking, reforming, revitalizing my actions?

Further Prayer Texts from the Writings of St. Vincent de Paul

To make God known to the poor, to tell them that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and that it is for the poor – O how great that is, so sublime is it to preach the gospel to the poor. Documents, vol. 12, p. 80

The Confraternity of Charity of the servants of the poor… O Mon Dieu! What a lovely title and what a beautiful description… Servants of the poor, that is just the same as to say Servants of Jesus Christ, for He regards as done to Himself what is done to them, and they are His members. Coste, Life and Works, vol. 1

Scripture Texts

  • Luke 4:18 –19 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.
  • Romans 5:5-8 The love of God has been poured into our hearts.