School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center

On June 5, 2024 the  School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Educational Center in Woodhaven, Queens, New York held a ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of 100 women, and the faculty who accompanied them, in achieving various levels of English speaking and writing skills, math and civics. Two classes are working toward their High School Equivalency Diploma. As one student speaker explained, “We came here to learn English. We found friendship, support, and the freedom to dream. I hope to be a nurse one day.”

The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University is privileged to support this Center and these women in various ways. 

Evening of Hope

The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University offers you the opportunity to sponsor the annual “Evening of Hope,” at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, NY on Friday, April 12, 2024 at 5:00 pm. 

This year we are delighted to confer the “Spes Unica” Award on Alice McDermott, a distinguished professor and author whose prize-winning novels recognize the dignity of all people and the innate search for meaning and redemption. 

According to Rev. Robert Lauder, Professor at St. John’s University, as an author, the “Catholic horizon of Alice McDermott’s novels gives profound meaning to her insightful and joyful attention to humanity.”

The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University, a 501 (c) (3) organization, is dedicated to assisting those who are on the margins of society, with particular emphasis on the needs of women and children and their education. A few of our programs include:

  • School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center, a literacy program for women in Woodhaven, Queens; 
  • St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, St. Mary’s Kids, Bayside, NY; and the 
  • Rev. Michael D. Whalen, C.M. Award, given to a Junior Lady of Charity at St. John’s Preparatory High School who will attend St. John’s University upon graduation. 

In addition to these local educational projects, we provide both hands-on and financial assistance to those on the margins, wherever the need arises. In the fall of 2023, the Ladies provided over 100 backpacks filled with school supplies for the children of migrants in Queens, NY. All donations are used to support our projects. 

Please help us in our endeavors and sponsor our Evening of Hope! Together we can help those most in need and turn our Evening of Hope into a springboard for a Lifetime of Hope.

Please click  to see several sponsorship opportunities and to pay online or to submit check with mail-in form. Kindly submit by March 20, 2024.

December 2020 Newsletter

December 2020
Merry Christmas
As we prepare for the birth of our Lord, the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University wish you the gift of HOPE for Christmas.
We have been blessed by the guidance of our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., who led us in a virtual Advent Retreat to discover the meaning of HOPE in these challenging times. As he taught us, “hope gives strength to the present … it summons us to use our resources well …it is a commitment to life. Hope orients us to the future.” HOPE is a special gift from God.

2020 challenged us in so many ways — our lives revolved around remote learning, zoom meetings, social distancing and hand sanitizer. We mourned the loss of loved ones and prayed for the speedy recovery of others. We learned how to pivot (the buzz word of 2020) and engaged in outreach projects that redefined service.
The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University wish you and your loved ones, a Merry Christmas and New Year filled with Peace, HOPE and Love.
Our Service Projects
Since 2009 we have cheerfully celebrated the spirit of giving with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center (Woodhaven, Queens) at an annual Christmas Party. This year we were not able to host our traditional Christmas breakfast but we were able to continue our tradition of offering gifts to each of their students. Practicing social distancing we put gift bags together for 50 women and took a moment to reflect on the spirit of Christmas.
Working together at Our Lady of Fatima Food Pantry
The Junior Ladies of Charity at St. John’s Prep in Astoria, Queens, learned how to make lap blankets by hand through a zoom tutorial lead by Anna Rocchio. These blankets will be distributed to residents at Ozanam Home in Queens. Since October the Ladies of Charity have lovingly knit more than 50 blankets for our brothers and sisters.
In 2019 we honored Patricia Shea, the Founder and Executive Director of Mommas House with the Spes Unica award at our Evening of Hope event. Mommas House began in 1986 with a home in Malverne, NY offering support to young mothers (ages 18-24) and their babies. Mommas House provides physical shelter and a stable environment to young mothers who are nurtured and taught to provide child care and parenting skills while encouraged to obtain schooling and job training.
The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University celebrate Life and the joy of Christmas with Mommas House. This year we cheerfully and safely collected gifts for for new Moms and their babies.
Prayer & Spirituality
We pray for grace in performing all actions to help our neighbors with charity, humility, and simplicity. Our prayers focus on love and unity, so needed in our world and our country today.
Visit our website to download a copy of The Ladies of Charity Prayer
Join us, every Monday at 5 pm via Zoom. We continue to pray for our loved ones, neighbors, our country and our world. For more information on how to participate, email Pat Mulé

Meet Our Spiritual Advisor Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M.


The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University is honored and pleased to announce that Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M. has accepted our request to be our Spiritual Advisor. In this capacity, he will join us at key membership meetings, at our Spiritual Day of Reflection and Installation Liturgy. He will help us uncover the process of spirituality that enables each individual to become more active with God. Fr. Griffin will guide us to better understand scripture and how we, as Catholic women may seek every opportunity to make Christ present by serving the material and spiritual needs of the sick, the poor and the marginalized of our society.

Fr. Griffin is a Brooklyn native and was ordained a Vincentian priest in 1979. After ordination, he completed a doctorate in Biblical Studies and has taught at various universities and seminaries. From 1993-1999, he worked in Rome as the Econome General of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians).  From 2010-2014, Fr. Griffin ministered in Paris as the Director General of the Daughters of Charity. In March 2014, Fr. Griffin returned to St. John’s University where he assumed his current position as the Executive Director for the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.

2020 Leadership of Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University

Anna Rocchio, President
Patricia Nolan, President-Elect & Strategic Planning
Pat Mulé, Past President & Treasurer
Natalie Boone, Past President & Northeast Regional Director, LCUSA
Marge Cashin, Past President & Programming & Special Projects
Mary Ann Dantuono, President of Caregiving, Inc., Past President of LCUSA,
                         Past AIC International Board Member
Adriana Dino, Secretary
Mary Ellen Freeley, Past President & Special Projects
Ronnie Loehle, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity
Maugie Mannion, Spirituality
Mary O’Donoghue, Membership & By-Laws, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity
Kitty Prager, Co-Chair, Junior Ladies of Charity
Victoria Shoaf, Treasurer, LCUSA

Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M, Spiritual Advisor
Diane Memmoli, Spiritual Moderator


Past Recipients of the Ladies of Charity Spes Unica Award

Headshot of Laura Schroff smiling
Laura Schroff

2023 Laura Schroff, a New York Times and international best selling author and keynote speaker who was born and raised on Long Island is a passionate and compelling voice on the power of small acts of kindness and mentorship. Through her book, An Invisible Thread Young Readers Edition (ages 8-12), An Invisible Thread Christmas Story (ages 4-8) and Angels on Earth, Laura has committed to advocate and inspire others to opening up their eyes and hearts to the opportunities where they can make a difference in the lives of others. As a keynote speaker at over 200 events and 100 schools, Laura encourages her audience to look for their own individual thread connections.  An invisible thread brings to life the inspiring true story of an 11 year old panhandler, a busy sales executive and their unlikely meeting with destiny in 1986.


Pat Shea

2019 Patricia Shea  is the Founder and  Executive Director of Mommas House that began in 1986 with a home in Malverne, NY offering support to young mothers (ages 18-24) and their babies. Providing physical shelter and a stable environment, young mothers are nurtured and taught to provide child care and parenting skills while encouraged to obtain schooling and job training. 

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald

2018 Sr. Tesa Fitzgerald, C.S.J.  is the executive Director of Hour Children.  She began its founding in 1989 at the convent where she lived when she became a volunteer foster parent to eight children of incarcerated mothers. In 1996, Hour Children became a 501 (c)(3) organization to offer supportive services to other children of incarcerated mothers and the mothers themselves.

Susan Gordan Ryan

2017 Susan Gordon Ryan
A graduate of St. John’s University and a special education teacher, Susan used her personal and professional experiences to found the unique and innovative “Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.” She was the first woman to serve as the director of the New York State Long Island Park System.  Her work in the not-for-profit sector included government relations, special events and fundraising for UCP of Suffolk and major gifts fundraising at Abilities, Inc., Albertson, NY.

Sr. Margaret John Kelly

2016 Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Ph.D.
An expert on governance, ethics and Vincentian history, mission and charism, she pioneered the establishment of mission services for health institutions and in higher education.  A member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sr. Margaret John was the founder and Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University. She served as the spiritual moderator of the Association of the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s from its inception in 2009 until her retirement in 2015.

Roseanne Haggerty

2015 Rosanne Haggerty
Realizing that the solution to end homelessness humanely and economically lay in using communities, Roseann’s efforts focused on strengthening networks of local organizations to solve problems together.  In 2011 she founded Community Solutions, a national organization that leads local innovation through collaboration.

Mary Mulvihill

2014 Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D. – A devoted educator at St. John’s and Fordham Universities and a dynamic leader in fundraising and program development, Mary has served as the executive director of Grace Institute and Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center.  She has led the way in the effort to help struggling people help themselves.

Ladies of Charity Prayer



My God, I humbly beg you

   to make me an instrument of your love;

   give me the grace of performing

   all my actions to help my

   neighbor with charity, humility and simplicity.


It is my hope, Lord

   that fidelity in the practice of these

   virtues may obtain the reward

   which you have promised

   to those who serve you

   in the person of the poor.


LET US PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER- The special time that has been chosen to pray for all Ladies of Charity and their works is 9:00 o’clock on every Monday morning.  All our National Officers certainly appreciate your prayer.




St. Vincent DePaul & The Ladies of Charity

Vincent DePaul organized The Ladies of Charity in 1617 in the parish of Chatillon-les Dombes outside of Paris. One Sunday, a parishioner informed him that a family in his parish were all seriously ill and were without help.  He pleaded their case in his sermon and the people responded with great generosity but without a plan beyond the moment.  Vincent realized then that the poor suffer more from a lack of organization than a lack of charity from others. In a few days he had set up a structure and rule for this parish work and had enlisted a cohort of  lay persons to provide this service on an ongoing basis. 

Evening of Hope

The Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University Annual Evening of Hope honors an individual who sustains a commitment to providing opportunities for women and children in need.

The Spes Unica Award was established in 2014 to recognize a person who exemplifies the spirit of St. Louise de Marillac by radically improving the lives of others through service. St. Louise de Marillac was the spiritual moderator of St. Vincent dePaul’s lay women’s society, the Ladies of Charity. In 1633 she co-founded the religious order the Daughters of Charity with St. Vincent to address more completely the grinding poverty of 17th-century France. The newly formed Daughters of Charity set up soup kitchens, organized community hospitals, established schools and homes for orphaned children, offered job training, taught the young to read and write, and improved prison conditions. St. Louise died in 1660 and inscribed on the cross at her grave is the Latin phrase ”spes unica,” which means “one hope” or “only hope.” These words reflect St. Louise’s belief that service to humanity through systematic planning, sustainable programming and extensive collaboration is the “one hope” to effectively alleviate the burdens of people living in poverty. Four centuries later, that vision is reflected today.

Click to read about our past honorees


Sustainable Development & GLOBE

GLOBE – Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs is a student-managed microloan program in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business and is led by Lady of Charity,  Dr. Linda Sama.  The mission of GLOBE is to help those living in poverty help themselves by boosting the earning capacity of local entrepreneurs which serves the needs of their local communities. With assistance from their Vincentian partners on the ground, the Daughters of Charity, GLOBE’s loans have helped the lives of families in six countries:  Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Vietnam and most recently the Philippines. The Ladies offer support by donating funds to be used as loans, helping with fundraising efforts, and holding three seats on the steering committee. Many of these loans went to struggling farmers in Libon, Albay, Philippines with repayment terms that allowed them to enjoy yields from their labor before having to pay back the loan Another set of loans helped a number of women in a small village near Concepcion, Iloilo , Philippines– a former fishing village where Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the community’s ability to sustain its livelihood through fishing (bottom left).  These women opened up sari sari (convenience) stores as part of a cooperative that have allowed the entire community to rebuild.  Income from their businesses was used to not only pay back loans and send their children to school, but was further distributed to others in the community to start their own businesses. The women held borrower meetings (bottom right) with the newly initiated to help all pay back the loans.  This trickledown effect resulted in GLOBE having reached fivefold the number of women originally given a loan! These stories are repeated in communities throughout the GLOBE sphere of operations.

Click to read about The Haiti Project.

The Ladies of Charity & Education

Based at a University, we recognize that education is the key to ending poverty.  We promote projects that support education to underserved populations. In 2009 we began a partnership with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center in Woodhaven, Queens.  This center provides comprehensive educational programs for women over age 18 to learn English as a second language and to prepare them for the High School Equivalency Exam.  Our Ladies offer educational testing and evaluation and provide enrichment lectures for the faculty, board members and students.