Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
Congregation founded by Rt. Rev. C. M. Dubuis, Bishop of Galveston
Incarnate Word, SISTERS OF CHARITY OF THE.—This congregation, with simple vows, was founded by Rt. Rev. C. M. Dubuis, Bishop of Galveston. In 1866, this prelate traveled as far as France in search of religious, who would devote themselves to works of mercy in his large diocese. He addressed himself to Mother Angelique, Superioress of the Convent of the Incarnate Word, at Lyons, and requested her to train some worthy subjects for the missions of Texas. Mother Angelique complied with his demand, received into her community two or three postulants, and prepared them in a special manner for their future work; thus was formed the nucleus of the new congregation, which was to be known as the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The three sisters embarked for Texas soon after, and landed at Galveston in December, 1866. Arrived at their mission, they devoted themselves to the care of the sick. In 1867 and 1868 other bands of zealous sisters, educated and professed in the same convent at Lyons, came to their assistance; their arrival opened for the congregation a new era: the existing works were perfected, and others established. On March 31, 1869, Bishop C. M. Dubuis sent from Galveston a colony of these sisters to found a convent at San Antonio; in 1870, he erected this new community into an independent center, on the occasion of vesting the first postulants admitted into the San Antonio novitiate. Previous to 1874, the sisters had been solely occupied in caring for the sick, the aged, and orphans, but following the counsel of Rt. Rev. A.D. Pellicer, first Bishop of San Antonio, they then engaged in educational work. The community of San Antonio, with its dependent houses, was organized into a generalate in August, 1897, with the sanction of Bishop John A. Forest.
At present, the congregation is governed by a superioress general and her council composed of six members. The motherhouse, novitiate, and normal department are situated in San Antonio, Texas. The probation as postulant and novice lasts two years. Perpetual profession is preceded by five years of annual vows. The constitutions, based upon the Rule of St. Augustine, were approved by the Holy See in 1905. The congregation, as its name indicates, is especially consecrated to the Incarnate Word. The sisters foster the pious and constant ambition to learn and to teach how to know, love, and serve more and more God made Man; they endeavor to reproduce in their daily conduct His two favorite virtues, charity and obedience. The sisters also cultivate a particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Immaculate. The congregation has developed considerably during the past forty years. From a small colony of three sisters in 1869, it has grown to a flourishing community of five hundred and forty-two members, and has under its direction five colleges, thirteen academies, twenty-eight schools, four orphanages, nine hospitals, and two homes for the aged. These establishments are distributed throughout the States of Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, and the Republic of Mexico.
JAS. P. CANNING