Ladies of Charity was the first of the great foundations
established by St. Vincent de Paul.
At the time, St. Vincent was pastor at
Chatillion-les-Dombres in the Diocese of Lyons, France.
Before mass on a Sunday in August 1617,
a parishioner told him of a family living on a farm
close by that had become ill and were in dire need.
St. Vincent was so affected by the recounting
of their suffering, and he told the story
with such feeling to his congregation, that many went
to the family with food and other necessities.
St. Vincent went to the farm and there he saw the
abundance of provisions donated in response to his appeal.
He realized the efficacy of his words.
A few days later, he assembled several women of the parish
and suggested to them they band together
to carry out this good work.
The mustard seed planted by
St. Vincent de Paul three centuries ago
has become a great tree that
extends its fruitful branches far and wide,
and sheds its benefits over many countries of the world.