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Irish Sisters of Charity

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Title: Irish Sisters of Charity  
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Subject: Hospice care in the United States
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Irish Sisters of Charity

The Religious Sisters of Charity or Irish Sisters of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious institute founded by Mary Aikenhead in Ireland in 1815.

Its motto is "Caritas Christi urget nos" (The love Christ urges us on) (2 Corinthians 5:14).

The institute has its headquarters at Harold's Cross in Dublin and operates in the Ireland, England, Scotland, Nigeria, Zambia, USA and Venezuela. The website states that 'The whole congregation is governed by a congregational leader, assisted by a group of sisters known as the general leadership team or the general council.'[1] The Religious Sisters of Charity of Australia is constituted as a distinct Congregation.

In England and Scotland, it operates as a registered charity[2] and in 2007–8 had a gross income of £15.5 million and 251 employees.


The religious institute was founded by Mary Frances Aikenhead (1787–1858) who opened its first convent in Dublin in 1815.

In 1834 St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin was set up by Mary Aikenhead[3] (the first hospital staffed by nuns in the English-speaking world).

In 1838 five sisters arrived in Australia — the first religious women to set foot on Australian soil — and later opened a convent in Parramatta. Since 1842 the Australian congregation has operated independently. St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, was founded by the Sisters in 1857.[4] In 1925, the Sisters of Charity ventured to Queensland, Australia to open a school, Mt St Michael's College - originally known as Grantuly until 1941 - in Ashgrove.[5]

In 1879 the Sisters opened a hospice in Harold's Cross, Dublin, pioneering the modern hospice movement. The Sisters operate a heritage centre within the grounds of Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, Dublin.[6] In December 2003, Our Lady's Hospice opened a satellite unit for specialist palliative care in Blackrock, Co. Dublin called The Venerable Louis and Zelie Martin Hospice. It was provided through the generosity of the Louis and Zelie Martin Foundation.[7]

See also

Another school that the sisters of charity founded is st Vincent's college an all girl catholic school where some of the members of the sisters of charity are buried


Further reading

  • Donovan, Margaret. M. (1979bc). Apostolate of Love: Mary Aikenhead, 1787–1858, Foundress of the Irish Sisters of Charity. Melbourne: Polding Press.
  • Meenan, F. O. C. (1995). St Vincent's Hospital 1834-1994. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. ISBN 978-0-7171-2151-9.
  • Whitaker, Anne-Maree (2007). St Vincent's Hospital 1857-2007: 150 Years of Charity, Care and Compassion. Kingsclear Books. ISBN 978-0-908272-88-4

External links

  • Religious Sisters of Charity website
  • Religious Sisters of Charity Ireland website
  • Religious Sisters of Charity of England and Scotland website
  • Sisters of Charity of Australia website
  • Our Lady's Hospice
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