Vincent wanted adaptability in the rule oflife that he created for his Daughters
of Ch arity in France in the 17th century. He had sought to make the rule as simple and unmonastic as p o s s i b l e, so that his Daughters of Charity might
respond in uncomplicated fashion to the needs of the people as they saw them. He succeeded. North America as well as Fran ce has bene itted rom Sisters of
Chari t y res p o nse to needs both glamourous and gritty. The rule of Saint Vincent de Paul was brought to America by the Sulpicians, riends of Mother
Seton in Emmitsburg. They had seen the work she and her Sisters were doing
and concluded that Saint Vincent’s rule was suitable. Elizabeth hersel , re lecting on the French Sisters’ rule, admi ring its
s i mp l i city, wrote: “ The rule of our community amounts to that regularity n eces sary for order and no more.” Saint Vincent had written his rule wit h a
view to keeping his Daughters ofCharity at the work for which they had come together: the care of the poor. He did not even want themcalled religious, lest
they fall under the rigorous rule ofcloister.
Elizabeth herself translated the rule for her community. She reely adapted t h e rule to the North American situation and to her personal circumstan ces .
To be practical, s h e h ad to keep her children with her at Emmitsburg. Some of the Sulpicians dreamed of a union of the Emmitsbu rg Si s t ers with the
Sisters in France, but that was impossible at the time. Over the years the rule
In an attempt to improve her husband’s health, they undertook the usual cure for
tuberculosis ofthe nineteenth century, namely a trip to Italy. There Elizabeth’s husband died.
In Italy Elizabeth Bailey’'s spiritual life grew and deepened in the midst of much adversity. The example ofthe faith ofher riends,theFilichi family,led her to
the Catholic Church. When she returned to Prot estant New York she was ostracized, even by her own family. Providence guided her, and eventually she
was led to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where, in thecourseofproviding forherselfand
her children, shefounded theSisters ofCharity.MotherSeton began the parochial school system in the United States, and set an example of reliance on God, and
loyalty to the Church that has been rewarded with the honors ofcanonization. There are many biographies ofMother Seton. Mrs. Selon, Foundress of the
American Sisters of Ch arity, by Joseph I. DIRVIN, C.M., is an authoritative biography romoriginal sources. The Emmitsburg Sisters number 7-8000 in the