Daughters of Charity and the American Civil War

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Daughters of Charity have been in existence since 1633 and have obviously seen their share of wars, from Sisters being martyred in the French Revolution, crossing barricades during later French rebellions to aid the wounded, living amid air raids during World War II, you name it. After watching so many wars break out in Europe, more than two centuries after their founding, the Daughters of Charity would encounter a new war in a new continent.

A Catholic Sister in the Civil War
The Daughters, among many other religious Sisters, were heavily influential in the Civil War, especially in terms of nursing. This article, Catholic Sisters and the American Civil War, which I recently read, gives a better picture. This website - The Daughters of Charity Civil War History - is another great site. A connected link lists Civil War sites in Emmitsburg (MD) and Gettysburg that have a direct connection with the Daughters of Charity.

One Daughter of Charity, a nurse during the war, wrote:

“On reaching the Battle grounds, awful! To see the men lying dead on the road some by the side of their horses. O, it was beyond description, hundreds of both armies lying dead almost on the track that the driver had to be careful not to pass over the bodies. O! This picture of human beings slaughtered down by their fellow men in a cruel civil war was perfectly awful.”
Despite the danger, despite the horror, Catholic Sisters, like the Daughters of Charity, served those soldiers (of both sides) in an obligation to serve Jesus Christ in their fellow man.

1 comment:

  1. Amanda, I was delighted to discover your blog and have posted notice of it to the Vincentian Family web site (DIrect link -
    I note your interest in Oscar Romero. I wonder if you are aware of the collection of homilies and other material available at the Romero Trust.


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