Jane Schieffer was inducted as an Affiliate to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul on Sunday, September 26th, 2010 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception which is located in the oldest part of the new Columbia – St Mary’s campus and now renamed The Heritage Center.
The history of affiliation of collaborators and benefactors with the Daughters of Charity is not clearly marked. The first work St. Vincent de Paul had St. Louise de Marillac do was to visit a group of women we today refer to as the early Ladies of Charity and help them find ways to better organize their early outreach to the poor. She did this traveling on horseback, in carriages, and using other primitive modes of transportation.
As early as 1655 we read in some writings of our Holy Founder, St. Vincent de Paul the concept of bestowing affiliation on benefactors who helped the congregation. We read, “The Sisters have requested Superiors to allow these worthy persons to participate in the spiritual blessings of the Community, in other words, to affiliate them with the Company.” And, again, in 1920 one of our magazines indicated the following: “Affiliation to the Company is participation, accorded by the Superior General, in the merits of all the prayers, meditations, mortifications and good works which are done, or will be done in the future, in the Company of the Daughters of Charity. It is only granted to persons whose piety, charity and virtue are incontestable and as a token of gratitude for services rendered to the Community by such persons”.
The two characteristics then of affiliation are: 1) the affiliate has helped the Daughters of Charity either by gift or by his or her devotion and work; 2) the Community offers affiliation as an expression of gratitude.
Through the years the privileges and duties of Affiliates have been written about in various ways, but the common ingredient remains the same. The main privilege is the merit of all the Communions, prayers, penances and acts of charity practiced in the Company. The main duty is to love, help and pray for the poor.
Past and local Daughters of Charity have known Jane since her days as a student nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital and her long years of nursing leadership until 1985. It is not for her professional nursing leadership, however, that Jane was recognized as an Affiliate, but rather for her role with your own Ladies of Charity organization. The majority of you reading this know the results of her energy, drive and perseverance to improve the clothing store for children and, most importantly, to recruit younger members for the organization and keep it alive and healthy for the future.
It is especially for Jane’s leadership with the Ladies of Charity, a vital part of the larger Vincentian Family, and especially the Daughters of Charity, that she was recognized with this honor. She exemplifies the spirits of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise in her dedication to the needs of others and her zeal in alleviating suffering.