Article Title

From Life to the Rules


The development of the Daughters of Charity’s Rules and their main themes are discussed. The Rules originate from those Vincent de Paul laid out for the first Confraternity of Charity in 1617. These early rules made care for poor persons the confraternity’s main focus and specified methods for the members’ spiritual development. Louise de Marillac and Vincent agreed on some rules for the Daughters, but these were not codified. In 1643, he gave a conference explaining the order of the day and how to cultivate the virtues necessary in a Daughter of Charity. In 1645, Vincent wrote a draft of the Primitive Statutes with his request for the Daughters’ episcopal approbation. This gave the Rules “as the Daughters had been living them,” but with “theological and canonical precision.” The Rules were only definitively established with the 1668 papal approval. Vincent’s successor, Rene Almeras, completed further organization and authentication of them in 1672. The article’s last section is devoted to theological statements and biblical citations in the Rules and motives and means for observing them. Two appendixes give comparisons of Rules. A third outlines references to particular rules (those for sisters working in specific fields or positions).