The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word is an apostolic, religious congregation of pontifical right. It was founded by Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis and established in San Antonio, Texas, in 1869 to respond to specific and urgent needs of the church in that historic moment. The first members, Sister St. Madeleine Chollet, Sister St. Pierre Cinquin and Sister M. Agnes Buisson, received their preparation in the monastery of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament founded by Mother Jeanne Chezard de Matel in Lyons, France. There they were formed in the spirituality of the Incarnation which animated her. Bishop Dubuis strengthened the Sisters in this spirituality, called them to the works of mercy, and inspired them with the missionary zeal expressed in his letter to Mother Angelique:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of the sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.
CHARISM OF CONGREGATION
The Congregation has as its charism the call to make the love of God as shown in the Incarnation a real and tangible presence in the world today. The sisters recognize the mystery of the Incarnation as the foundation of their charism, lives and spirituality.
The mission of the Congregation is to actualize the saving and healing love of the Incarnate Word by promoting human dignity. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the Sisters examine the reality of their world and discern the needs of the church. Like Mary, they respond in faith to these needs. They follow the Incarnate Word, model of charity and obedience, and proclaim the mission of him who assumed a human existence sharing in the life, sufferings and hopes of his people.
Venerable Jeanne Chezard de Matel, foundress of the Order of the Incarnate Word in France. She was born in Roanne on November 6, 1596, to a wealthy family. Through mystical prayer experiences, she felt called to found a new religious order devoted to the humanity of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word. Her order was to be an "extension of the Incarnation, a gospel of love." The first CCVI's were formed in the Incarnate Word monastery in Lyons before they came to Texas.
Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, founder of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, was born not far from Lyons. He knew Mother Angelique Hiver, Superior of the monastery in Lyons, so it was natural to turn to her when the needs of his Texas diocese became so alarming in 1866. It was to her he wrote the following: "Our Lord, Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude seeks relief at your hands. . . . We beseech you then to form according to the rules of the Order of the Incarnate Word the subjects whom we send you."
Sister Madeleine Chollet, co-foundress of the CCVI's. Born in Roanne on February 7, 1846, she received the habit and the name Madeleine at the monastery of Lyons on July 14, 1867, and left for Texas four months later. At the age of 23, she took charge of the new foundation in San Antonio, Texas, in 1869. She oversaw the growth of the Congregation until her death in 1906.
Sister Pierre Cinquin, co-foundress of the CCVI's. She was born in May 22, 1845, in Beaujeu, France to a wealthy and well-educated family. In April, 1868, she asked for admission to the novitiate in Lyons to begin her preparation for missionary work as a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word. She died in France on December 11, 1891.