News & Events


Date Posted: April 22, 2024


The Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization of consecrated women of apostolic life. It was founded in 1633 by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac in France, for the corporal and spiritual services of persons who are poor. ‘No type of misery is foreign to the Daughters of Charity’ (St. Vincent de Paul)

The first three Daughters of Charity landed in Adiaha Obong, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from the Province of Great Britain and Ireland in the year, 1963. On 15th March, 1973, the first four Nigerian ladies were received as Postulants. In January, 1974, three Postulants and Sr. Pauline LAWLOR, an Irish Sister moved to St. Louise’s Seminary, Eleme to continue formation.

On 15th March, 1974, St. Louise’s Seminary located within the compound of the Provincial House was opened and dedicated to St. Louise de Marillac with a simple ceremony. On this day, the first three Nigerian Sisters were incorporated into the Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Servant of the poor. These were Sr. Philomena OKWU, Sr. Theresa MADU, of blessed memory and Sr. Justina ARIMA.  St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac were smiling down at them while blessing this new foundation. These Sisters laid a solid foundation for all the Daughters of Charity in the Province of Nigeria. They were later joined at different times by Sr. Franca OPARA, Sr. Theresa DURU, Sr. Felicia EZEIMO, Sr. Francesca EDET and Sr. Bernadine CHIMEZIRI. To them all, we say Bravo!!!

Sr. Mary RYAN, the then Assistant Provincial of the Irish Province, representing Sr. Catherine BARRETT presided over the simple ceremony, Sr. Pauline LAWLOR was installed the first Seminary Directress and the Sister Servant of the formative Community. Sr. Margaret CASEY was appointed to assist her.

The Seminary period is a special time in the initial formation of every Daughter of Charity.  It is the stage of interiorization, spiritual structuring and confirmation of vocation. Admission into the Company of the Daughters of Charity takes place upon the candidate’s entry into the Seminary.


St. Louise de Marillac was the first Seminary Directress of the Company at the very beginnings in her own house. She was intelligent, sensitive and tenacious, and displayed these qualities in her daily life. She was an efficient formator capable of transforming her Country girls into committed Daughters of Charity. Reading her letters one would know that formation of the members were uppermost. She had good plans as shown in her Spiritual Writings from 1633 to 1647. She took nothing for granted. Every activity of each day was directed towards service, deep relationship with God, with self and with others. It was important for her that she knew the Sisters individually for a personalized holistic formation. Based on this knowledge she drew up formation plans and organized trainings in human and spiritual development of her Sisters.


Sr. Pauline LAWLOR, the first Seminary Directress in Nigeria, followed the same line of thought as she began with the first Nigerian Daughters of Charity. This background is of the 17th Century and so Sr. Pauline adapted it to the reality of 21st Century and built a solid Spiritual and Vincentian formation program for Sisters at all levels, a tradition which has continued till date.

The overall objective of formation is to promote the growth of each Sister in faith, so that animated by the Holy Spirit and the Charism of the founders, she becomes capable of:

 - Acquiring convictions that strengthen and unify her total gift of self to God.

-  Becoming a servant of Christ in the poor, and the poor in Christ, in a spirit of humility, Simplicity and Charity.

-  Living a life in common for mission.


A good number of young women in Nigeria, Ghana and recently Burkina Faso have passed through the Seminary training in Eleme, over the years. Many who did not continue as Daughters of Charity have found the Vincentian/Spiritual formation useful in their different endeavors in life.   Today, there are 170 Daughters of Charity in the Province, serving persons who are poor in different capacities within the Province (Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso) and beyond.