Our History


Our amazing story began 400 years ago at Châtillon-les-Dombes in the Diocese of Lyon, France. The Ladies of Charity were founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1617 for the purpose of serving the sick and needy. Realizing the great need, many women joined in the volunteer effort to attend to the needs of those oppressed by poverty and illness.

The first association of Ladies of Charity in the United States was formed in 1857 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, St. Louis, Missouri, by Catherine Harkins. In 1957 several associations met in St. Louis to celebrate the Centennial and decided there should be a national organization. In 1960 the Ladies of Charity of the United States of America (LCUSA) was formed. Ladies of Charity have associations in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Internationally, they are in 49 countries and regions with 250,000 members worldwide.

Ladies of Charity of Metropolitan Kansas City was founded in 1952 from auxiliaries supporting St. Vincent’s Maternity Hospital and St. Anthony’s Baby Home.