The Sisters of Charity from yesterday till today

TOWARDS UNITY

The political and the historical circumstances during the time of Jeanne-Antide brought about a separation within the Congregation with a Superior General in Rome and another one in Besançon. However nobody truly relinquished this separation. Since the death of Jeanne-Antide, the contacts between Rome and Besançon were never lacking as well as suggestions to unite afresh the two branches. A long journey however was necessary down the years in order to arrive to an official unity.

THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

It was at the beginning of the 20thcentury that the Sisters of Charity left Europe towards other continents in order to answer the calls of the Church (especially during the Vatican Council II) or when challenged by the political and social events, in France, when the laws prohibited the religious to teach … the immigrants’ calls … in Latin America … the situations of the christian minorities … in Pakistan … in Indonesia … in Sudan … in India … in Vietnam …

THE REORGANISATIONS

With the passing of time, according to the calls of the mission and territorial establishments, according to the numerical development within the Congregation, the initial formation needs and to intensify the missionary dynamism and the unity of the body congregation in the cultural diversity, the structures and the territorial restructuring developed : the pooling of communities, Provinces and progressive responsibilities left to new realities … at the service of life.

THE FACES OF HOLINESS

After the canonisation of Jeanne-Antide, in 1934, other sisters of the Congregation have been officially acknowledged by the Church as witnesses of God’s charity.

The quality of their life and their service become examples for all the christians and lead us on the path of holiness.

Sister Agostina who was a nurse in Rome, Sister Nemesia an educator in Tortona and Borgaro in Turin, and Sister Enrichetta at the service of the prisoners in Milan.  

These three visages and figures complement and represent the traditional services of charity to which the sisters of Charity are called since the beginning of the Congregation.

St. Agostina patron saint of nurses in Italy

Blessed Nemesia Valle, guide and spiritual director

Blessed Enrichetta Alfieri, the mother of “Saint Victor”

THE PATH OF THE CONGREGATION’S DEVELOPMENTS

1799
11th April : foundation of the Congregation by Sr. Jeanne-Antide Thouret in Besançon, France
1810
Foundation in Switzerland
Foundation in Savoia, a Thonon
Foundation in Italy, Naples
1825
Foundation in Vercelli
Sr Victoire Batholemot is appointed to represent Jeanne-Antide in Savoie. It’s the beginning of the Province of Savoie
1826
26th August : Jeanne-Antide, Superior general of the Sisters of Charity dies in Naples
Sr. Genevieve Boucon is appointed Superior General (end of 1856)
In Besançon, Sr. Catherine Barrois (1822-1827) is the Superior general
1830
Constitution of the Province of Vercelli
1826-1919
Superiors general in Rome:
Sr. Geneviève Boucon (1826-1856)
Sr Catherine Chambrot (1856-1880)
Sr. M. Thérèse Vignet (1880-1885)
Sr. M. Joseph Boquin (1885-1893)
Sr. Irène Buzio (1893-1895)
Sr. Leontine Vandel (1895-1899)
Sr. Hildegarde Zmiglio (1900-1915)
1868
Foundation in Malta
1900
15th January: Introduction of the cause of beatification of Jeanne-Antide
1901
Foundation in England
1902
Warm welcome of Mother Ildegarde Zmiglio in Besançon
1903
Foundation in Belgium (end of 1980)
Constitution of the Province of Turin
1904
Foundation in Lebanon
Constitution of the Province of Malta
1909
Foundation in Egypt
1918
In Besançon, diocesan process for the beatification of Jeanne-Antide
1919
First steps towards the re-unification of the Congregation
In July, visit to Besançon of Mother Anne Lapierre, then Superior general in Rome (1916-1936)
On the 11December, Mother M. Anna Groffe, then Superior general in Besançon (1902-1930) asks officially for the union with Italy.
1920
The union is postponed for prudence sake, on the advice of the Church.
1921
Decree on the heroism of the virtues of Jeanne-Antide
1925
Foundation in Syria
1926
23 May : Beatification of Jeanne-Antide Thouret
1928
Constitution of the Province of Rome
1932
Foundation in the United States
1934
14 January:
  • Canonisation of Saint Jeanne-Antide
  • Foundation in Laos
Sr. Aldegonde Gizzi is Superior general in Rome (1936-1953) and Sr Charles Loigeret, in Besançon (1936-1951)
2 November, opposition of French government to the Decree of Pius XI concerning the union.
1935-1936
The disappointment causes strong reactions among the Sisters. About fifty Sisters, especially Egyptians are authorised to shift from Besançon to Rome.
1940
Foundation in Algeria
Constitution of the Province of Brescia
1951
Opening of the diocesan process of Sr. Nemesia Valle
Sr Charles Loigeret relaunches the Union
1952
Sr Antoine de Padoue Duffet is elected Superior General in Besançon
1953
Sr Giovanna Francesca Voltolini is elected Superior general in Rome (1953-1965).
In August, in Besançon and in Sancey, she meets the Superior of Besançon to prepare the Union.
1954
Mother Giovanna Francesca Voltolini summons in Rome all the Superiors of the Institute ; that of Besançon participates for the first time.
1957
Pilgrimage of the Mother General and the Provincial Superiors to Sancey and Besançon to celebrate the Union.
1960
Foundation in Central African Republic
1962
Foundation in Chad
1962-1965
Vatican Council II invites the Congregations to a big task of research and return to the sources in view of defining the charism better. At this point a new Rule of Life will emerge.
1965
Foundation in Libya (until 1996)
Sr. Maria Candida Torchio becomes Superior general (1965-1969)
1967
Foundation in Paraguay
1968
Foundation in Argentina
1968-1969
Celebration of the special General Chapter for the revision of the Constitutions.
1969
Mother Antoine de Padoue Duffet, general councillor in Rome (1965-1969) is elected Mother General of the Congregation (1969-1980), after the premature death of Sr. Maria Candida Torchio.
1972
11 November: Beatification of Sr. Agostina Pietrantoni
1976
Constitution of the Province of the United States
1980
Foundatino in Indonesia
Celebration of the General chapter : Sr. Maria Carla Aletti is elected Superior General (1980-1990)
1981
11 April: the Church approves the new text of the Rule of Life.
1982
Foundation in Pakistan
1984
Foundation in Sudan
1986
Constitution of the Regions of Central Africa and Latin America.
1990
Foundation in Cameroon
Celebration of the General chapter : Sr. Marie Antoine Henriot is elected Superior general (1990-2000)
1991
Foundation in Romania
1992
Foundation in Albania
1993
Fusion of the Sisters of Our Lady of Digne with our Congregation.
1995
Beginning of the Diocesan process of beatification and canonisation of Sr. Enrichetta Alfieri
Foundation in Bolivia
1996
Foundation in Brazil
1998
Vatican official decree which recognises the union between the two branches of the Institute.
1999
Celebration of the Bi-centenary of the Foundation
Foundation in India
18 april: Canonisation of Sr. Agostina Pietrantoni
2000
23 January : Celebration of the Fusion of the Sisters Hospitallers of Besançon with our Congregation.
Celebration du General chapter : Sr. Maria Luisa Colombo is elected Superior general (2000 - 2010)
Constitution of the Middle East Province
2002
5 July: Sr. Nemesia Valle is proclaimed Venerable by Pope John Paul II
Foundation in Thailand
Constitution of the North Italy Province (ex. Provinces Turin - Brescia - Vercelli)
2003
Foundation in Ethiopia
2004
Foundation in Vietnam
25 April : Sr. Nemesia Valle is proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II
2005
Foundation in Moldavia
Celebration of the 17th General Chapter
2006
Constitution of Central Italy Province (ex. Provinces : Roma - Ferrara)
The Province of Naples becomes South Italy Province
Constitution of the Central African Province
Constitution of Eastern-Europe Region (Romania - Albania - Moldavia)
Constitution of the Pakistan region
Constitution of the Latin American Province ( Argentine - Paraguay - Bolivia - Brazil)
2007
Constitution of the Province Besançon-Savoie (France - Switzerland - England)
Constitution of the South East Asian Province (Laos - Vietnam - Thailand)
2009
19 December: Sr. Enrichetta is declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI
2010
Celebration of the General chapter : Sr. Nunzia di Gori is elected Superior general.
2011
26 June in Milan: Sr. Enrichetta Alfieri is declared Blessed
2014
Celebration of the Fusion of the Congregation of Saint Mathe with our Congregation.
2015
1-26th of July: Celebration of the 20th General chapter : sr Nunzia de Gori is reelected Superior general
2017
Constitution of Province Italy-Malta (ex. Province Italy Sud, Italy centre, Italy Nord and Malta)