Our Foundational Call:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude
of sick and infirm of every kind,seeks relief at your hands.”
— Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, 1866
We, the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas are women religious serving within the Church as signs of God’s presence in our world.
Entrusted as we are with the mission of embodying the love of the Incarnate Word, we bear in mind that, whatever the form of our ministry; it is by means of our own lives that we witness most convincingly to the presence of Jesus Christ. We share our gifts in ministries of education, healthcare, social concerns and spirituality.
Based in Houston, Texas, we directly serve those in need in El Salvador, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya and the United States.
The Congregational Leader is assisted by four Council Members. Their responsibility is to help the Congregation live out its mission.
Members of the Leadership Team for the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, (pictured from left to right) Sister Mary Patricia Driscoll, General Councilor; Sister Rose Scanlan, General Secretary; Sister Alice Mary Buckley, Assistant Congregational Leader and General Councilor; Sister Christina Murphy, General Councilor; Sister Kevin Keating, Congregational Leader; and Sister Elizabeth Ann Hayes, General Treasurer and General Councilor.
In the beginning… there was a Call.
Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis was the second Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Galveston, which then included the entire state of Texas. Riding long journeys on horseback, he witnessed the overwhelming sickness, disease and poverty of the people. Seeking help for those who were suffering, he issued a call in his native France for Women Religious to come to Texas to help care for the sick and infirm in the name of Jesus Christ. He implored,
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.”
Three nursing Sisters from the Antiquaille, Lyons, France answered his call. They were: Sister Mary Blandine Mathelin, Sister Mary Joseph Roussin and Sister Mary Ange Escudé.
On October 25, 1866 the three founding members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas arrived in Galveston. They were taken to the Ursuline Convent, as their own convent and hospital were still under construction. Here they began studying the English language and making provisions for their ministry. In February the Sisters moved into their own convent and on April 1, 1867 began working at Charity Hospital, later to be called St. Mary’s Infirmary. It was the first Catholic hospital in the state.
Only months after the hospital opened, Galveston was struck by the worst yellow fever epidemic in the city’s history. Mother Blandine, the Superior of the small Congregation of three, developed the disease on August 15, and died three days later. Sister Ange was also stricken by yellow fever but recovered and eventually returned to France. With the help of local physicians and community leaders, Sister Joseph, who was only 27 years old, kept the hospital and congregation going during the darkest days of the yellow fever epidemic. As more Sisters arrived from France, Sister Joseph became Mother Joseph, Superior of the Congregation.
Over the years, our Congregation spread its ministries to other cities, states and nations. As we continue to carry out our founding mission, the proud legacy of these first three Sisters has continued to be a source of strength and inspiration to us.