dcs on seashore

On this day in 1633, a few young women gathered with Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac and formed the Daughters of Charity in France.

They were educated by Louise.If they couldn’t read, she taught them. Louise also taught them how to nurse sick people and care for infants, not to mention the art of prayer and community living.

Thus began the first religious community of women who worked outside the confines of a cloister.

In the beginning, they adopted a common seventeenth century dress, and the sunbonnet-like hat worn by the peasant women of the time. It protected their heads and shoulders from the sun.


first DCs with Vincent

Over the years, the sisters began to starch this hat, which was called a cornette because it resembled what we would call the “horn of plenty”

phot from a bove dc cornette

Their ministry expanded from care of sick poor people in their homes to nursing care in the first hospitals, to orphanages, to schools.

Today there are roughly 12,000 of us in countries all over the world. The ministries have changed with the times, but care for persons living in poverty is still the main focus.

The “habit”, which comes from the French verb “s’habiller” or “to dress oneself,” and that sailboat like headgear has changed as well.

From 1633 to 1964, it was this:

DC in cornette closeup


From 1964 to 1975, it was this:DC in box

From 1975 to 1997, it was this:

Sr Agnes Thah - Copy

With the option of not wearing something on the head:

Este é um trio que trabalha muito, mas se diverte! Irmã Catherine Everhard é francesa, Irmã Christina Laim é da Província de Turim, Itália e eu.


Which is what I have chosen:

Anne photo at MSM

Artists have loved to paint the old cornette, impractical though it became in real life service.

dc suitcases


Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on “Sailboats

  1. I had Sisters of Mercy teach me in high school and their habit was quite similar to the first photo. This was quite a shocking change from what I was used to–Dominican nuns in grammar school. We have a lovely statue of the Daughters of Charity in front of the only Catholic hospital here in my town in sunny Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

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