A book studying five generations of Catholic Sisters in Britain
A History of the Province of Great Britain


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The Daughters of Charity are delighted to announce the launch of a new book about their history in the Province of Great Britain covering 170 years.

The Book is called ‘Leaving God for God: The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Britain, 1847 – 2017’ by Susan O’Brien and it is being published at the end of April.

The book is a study of five generations of Catholic Sisters in Britain and of their wide-ranging ministries to people in poverty. As members of the Company of Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul – co-founded by St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac in seventeenth-century France – the Daughters of Charity belong to the largest transnational institute in the Catholic Church.

This comprehensive history, written by Susan O’Brien with full access to the Daughters of Charity’s archives in London and Paris, assesses how far the Sisters have lived out their mission to serve the most marginalised in society. 

Other themes explored in the book include the nature of the Daughters’ community culture, the development of Marian devotional life in Britain, lay and religious status in the Church’s mission at home and overseas, and the interplay of national identities in Catholic Britain.

The history of Catholicism in England and Scotland is seen in a fresh perspective through the lens of this singular community of women. Their history, it is argued, challenges both the mainstream narrative about the nature of philanthropy and charity in Britain and the Church’s narrative about Catholic Sisters in the twentieth century.

The book is fully referenced and indexed and includes 64 pages of full-colour visual essays on selected aspects of the Daughters of Charity’s history, and a Gazetteer providing details on every House opened and closed by the Sisters since 1847.

Susan O'Brien is a Senior Member of St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, a former Principal of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, and a former higher education advisor to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Over the past thirty years she has taught British and American history in several universities, and has published extensively on the history of Catholic Sisters in academic journals and essay collections.

The book is available to buy here for the reduced price of £20 plus £3 postage and packing. You can complete an order form below to order your copy of this long-awaited, in- depth narrative history of the Daughters’ life and mission in Britain. 

Please complete the form, and select your preferred payment option (either cheque or bank payment). The form can be emailed to us or posted, full instructions are on the form. Upon receipt of your order and payment goods will be dispatched within 7 days and will be delivered by Second Class Royal Mail post.

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