Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre is coming to Houston to lead the Eucharistic Celebration for the Sisters of Charity’s 150 years in ministry. The Mass is Wednesday, October 25, at 4 p.m. at Villa de Matel Chapel, 6510 Lawndale Street. Wednesday’s Mass ends a year-long program of events and activities that took place starting last year on October 25. During the celebrations in 2016, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed October 25, as Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Day. In addition to serving the needs of others for catastrophic events such as Hurricane Harvey, the Sisters also care for the less fortunate in the Houston- Galveston area through their following ministries:
- St. Mary’s Clinic (healthcare for the uninsured) and The Point of Light Clinic (healthcare for the insured and uninsured)
- St. Austin Literacy Center (adult literacy)
- Our Daily Bread (homeless support services)
The Sisters serve in five countries around the world: El Salvador, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, and the United States, and their ministries impact the lives of countless people. Four major focus areas of their ministry are:
- Education: teachers and administrators of primary schools, secondary schools and literacy centers.
- Healthcare: sponsors of Sisters of Charity Health System (SCH), co-sponsors of CHRISTUS Health, co-sponsors of the Catholic hospitals within Dignity Health and in direct service to those in need.
- Social concerns: ministering to the underserved and providing direct services to the poor through facilities and centers that care for abandoned children and elderly. They also partner with others in comprehensive immigration reform, the repeal of the death penalty and the abolition of all human trafficking.
- Spirituality: The Spirit of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, inspires and sustains all who engage in prayer and ministry. In support of this, the Congregation administers three spirituality centers and they are located in Guatemala, Kenya and the United States.
The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were founded in Galveston, Texas in 1866, by Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, second Bishop of Galveston. In 1867, they founded Galveston’s first hospital, Charity Hospital. And, in 1887, they founded Houston’s first hospital, St. Joseph’s Infirmary.
The first three Sisters of the Congregation came from Lyon, France in response to Bishop Dubuis’ call: Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands. In 1926, their Motherhouse was moved from Galveston to Villa de Matel Convent in Houston.
Images: Top: Pope Francis and Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre. Bottom: the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston.