Ladies of Charity of the United States of America (LCUSA) records
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the administration and charitable programs of the national and regional Ladies of Charity organizations with records from a small number of local associations. These records mainly detail the communication between LCUSA and the local associations through correspondence, publication, and presidential visits. Instructions and rules for governing associations, constitutions, manuals, and Board of Directors meetings, also weigh heavily in this collection. Each magnitude of the Ladies of Charity organization displays a different focus. The local associations are occupied with membership and implementing support programs and services for their communities. The regional Vice-Presidents serve as liaisons discussing regional needs with the national organization and affirming local compliance with national initiatives. LCUSA puts its energies into facilitating cohesion throughout the nation’s associations, establishing a shared vision, supporting local recruitment efforts, and communicating with the International Association of Charities (AIC).
- Majority of material found within 1957-1994
- Ladies of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use.
Biographical / Historical
The Ladies of Charity have been established in the United States since December 8, 1857 with the founding of the Guardian Angel Settlement Association in St. Louis, Missouri. Although other Ladies of Charity associations formed elsewhere in the country, it was not until their centennial in 1957 that a national organization was conceptualized. At the annual meeting for all Ladies of Charity associations held in St. Louis, a unanimous vote was cast for the formation of a national organization. The purpose of a national organization was threefold: to serve as a bond between the associations of the Ladies of Charity in the United States and the International Headquarters in Paris, France; to promote unity among the associations in the exercise of charity according to the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul through personal service to the poor; and to encourage the activities of the existing associations and to assist in the organization of new ones. It was also decided that the Service Center at the Guardian Angel Settlement would process all supply orders. The Association of the Ladies of Charity of the United States (ALCUS) came into being at the first national meeting held in New York, September 1960, in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee Convention of the National Conference of Catholic Charities (NCCC). The governing body of ALCUS consisted of an Episcopal Chairman and Spiritual Director (both positions filled by Vincentian priests), and 20 Ladies of Charity represented by a president, five vice presidents from five geographical regions, a secretary, a treasurer, and twelve directors. Since then, the Ladies of Charity have been organized along the national, regional, and local association levels. Some organizations are further divided depending on their local demographics such as the Chicago association’s circles which focus on different parts of the city. In 1972, the Service Center moved to the Vincentian Foreign Mission Society in St. Louis and a Daughter of Charity was added to the Board of Directors in the position of Sister Moderator. In 1977, the Daughters of Charity provided space for the ALCUS service center within Marillac Seminary, the West Central Provincial House in St. Louis. The national office moved once again in 1996 to the headquarters office of the Midwest Province of the Congregation of the Mission located in Earth City, Missouri.
20 Linear Feet (56 boxes)
Language of Materials
The collection is divided into twelve series with some of those having multiple subseries. The twelve series are History, Governance, Presidential Files, Financial Files, Regional Materials, AIC Files, Events and Activities, Operational Files, External Organizations, Memorabilia, Multimedia, and Publications. A majority of the series are arranged chronologically, but any correspondence is arranged alphabetically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession 2002.30; 2002.54; 2005.12; 2006.29; 2007.15; 2008.01; 2009.01; 2009.04; 2010.09; 2014.047; 2014.125; 2016.087
P. Wagner and M. MacIntosh Hodgetts 2005, 2008, 2009; R. Vastani 2015
- Confraternities--Archival resources--United States Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- Lay ministry--Catholic Church--Archival resources--United States Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- Guide to Ladies of Charity of the United States of America (LCUSA) records
- P. Wagner and M. MacIntosh Hodgetts 2005, 2008, 2009; R. Vastani 2015
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English