Daughters of Charity

The Daughters of Charity first came to Jacksonville in 1898. They served in a Field Hospital treating soldiers during the Spanish American War.

Daughters of Charity

In 1916, they were called to serve again--- taking over the DeSoto Sanitorium in Jacksonville’s historic Springfield neighborhood. A letter from a local priest to the Rev. Mother Superior in Emmitsburg, Maryland encouraged them to come and serve Jacksonville—a community with “upwards of 70,000 inhabitants” according to the priest. That letter was sent in 1910 and six years later, four Daughters of Charity began serving the sick and poor here on the First Coast.

Within their first year of service, the Daughters treated 622 patients at St. Vincent’s. The Bishop said they had “worked like Trojans” and asked for reinforcements in a letter dated December 21, 1917.

How The Daughters of Charity Began

While their commitment to Jacksonville began in 1898--- the work of the Daughters of Charity started centuries before in France. A French peasant priest, Vincent de Paul, and an aristocratic woman, Louise de Marillac, created the Daughters of Charity on November 29, 1633 in response to the needs of the poor in 17th century France. The “white wings” the Daughters wore eventually became a universal symbol of charity as they carried out their mission throughout the world.

What They Do

The Daughters of Charity have ministries that include:

  • Education
  • Spirituality
  • Healthcare
  • Creative arts
  • Pastoral ministry
  • Advocacy for children

As the needs of the poor change, so do the Daughters’ services. Their mission calls for innovation and invention, collaboration and inclusion. In anything they do, the Daughters are called to perform their service in imitation of Jesus Christ.

In that spirit, The Daughters of Charity were called to serve other ministries within Ascension and left St. Vincent’s HealthCare in the summer of 2014. They have passed the torch to our associates, asking that we continue to live the Mission and Values they brought here so long ago. We stand on their shoulders as we prepare to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2016. It is with reverence and respect that we look toward our future to ensure the Ministry the Daughters started continues to thrive--- serving our neighbors for the next 100 years.