Featuring the Religious Sisters of Charity
The Religious Sisters of Charity (RSC) is an international Congregation founded in Ireland in 1815 by Mary Aikenhead. She was a middleclass Irishwoman aware of the needs of the poor in Ireland at that time and wishing to dedicate her life to relieving their poverty and helping them improve their standard of living. It is in this spirit that we take a fourth vow of Service to the Poor and our congregational motto is ‘Caritas Christi Urget Nos’.
After her initial formation training in England with the IBVMs in York, Mary and her companion opened a house in Dublin to care for orphaned children. As the Congregation flourished their work soon expanded to home visitation, prison ministry, schools and healthcare when she opened the first hospital for the poor in Ireland, St. Vincent’s, Dublin. Mary spoke of giving to the poor out of love what the rich could receive with money. We were the first congregation of women to work with people in their homes in Ireland.
During her lifetime, Mary was requested to send sisters out to Australia to assist women who had been transported to a penal colony there. This she did and, as a result of difficulties in communicating at that time, the Sisters of Charity of Australia formed a separate congregation which is thriving to this day and to which we are closely affiliated. (Another story to be told!)
The Religious Sisters of Charity developed our internationality as houses were opened in England, Scotland, Zambia, California, Venezuela and Nigeria and most recently when three intrepid missionaries set foot in our latest foundation in Malawi. We have novitiates in Zambia and Nigeria and the youth and energy of our young sisters there are evident in their response to their many and varied ministries.
Our sisters continue to be involved in catechetical programmes at parish/diocese/national level. We continue to work in healthcare, education, and all areas of social care which in latter years has placed us with those suffering from the plight of HIV/Aids, Human Trafficking and Refugees and Migrants.