In recognition of National Women’s Day, I would like to talk about Blessed Rosalie Rendu who was an empowering woman in her time and has continued on even today.
Blessed Rosalie Rendu was a Daughters of Charity who served the most impoverished areas of Paris. While in boarding school she came across a hospital where the Daughters of Charity cared for the sick. After discovering the Daughters of Charity and learning of their work, she believed this is what she was called to do. She gained experience caring for the sick working side-by-side with the Sisters. She was 17 years old when she joined the Daughters of Charity. At the age of 22 she made her vows to serve God and the poor. She remained there for 54 years.
She was involved in the training of the young sisters at the Daughters of Charity. She worked with those that were somewhat difficult or fragile. One day she shared advice to a Sister in crisis. Her advice was: “If you want someone to love you, you must be the first to love; and if you have nothing to give, give yourself.” The congregation of Sisters grew and they became a house of charity that had a clinic and school.
Over time, Sr. Rendu opened a free clinic, pharmacy, school, a child and maternal care center, young club for young workers and a home for the elderly without resources. For young girls and needy mothers, she organized courses in sewing and embroidery. She soon had a network of charitable services.
Today, the Daughters of Charity serves many internationally. There are approximately 17,000 Daughters serving in 90 countries around the world. Little did she know that her influence and determination in helping in a charity capacity would expand internationally throughout the Society.
Harry Ohde, Volunteer President – Society of St. Vincent de Paul/ADC