How Did The Ladies of Charity Come to the US?

In 1857, Catherine Harkins, new to St. Louis, decided to start a group there to address the needs of the many poor persons. The number of associations grew throughout the US and they decided to form a national organization to offer consistent formation to all associations and to strengthen the bonds of Charity.  The Ladies of Charity, USA was formed in 1960 to unite all the associations in the US with headquarters in St. Louis, MO.  In September of 2010, LCUSA celebrated their 50th anniversary.  Today there are approximately 6,000 Ladies of Charity in 70 Associations in twenty-one states and the District of Columbia.  As the first university organization, St. John’s Ladies of Charities was established in 2009 and accepted 34 members drawn from the administration, faculty, graduate students and staff. 

What is the AIC and What Does it do?

Our international organization is Association Internationale des Charités  (AIC), headquartered in Louvain la Neuve – Belgium.  

AIC –(English translation= International Association of Charities) is a network of 100,000 local volunteers, mainly women, who work in their local communities to combat poverty in 55 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States. Local teams of volunteers organize projects in their own locality. AIC is registered as a NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC at the United Nations. 


AIC strives to be a transforming presence of Christian inspiration in society, working mainly with women, through projects and development actions in which the beneficiaries are fully involved. It also collaborates at local and global levels, participating in networks and getting involved in public policy or civil society programmes, so that together we can build a fairer world.


Following the example of St Vincent de Paul, and in accordance with the teachings of the Church, our mission is: To combat poverty and exclusion in all their forms, through transformative initiatives and projects. To work with our sisters and brothers living in poverty, encouraging each person to discover their own strengths, supporting education and promoting dignity for all. To speak out against injustice and put pressure on civil society structures and decision-makers, with the goal of eradicating the causes of poverty.


AIC is an international network which fights against all forms of poverty and exclusion. This network has over 100,000 volunteers, mainly women, who willingly commit to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged people.

It has members in 55 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States, with over 5100 local groups around the world. Each national association is its own legal entity, and is responsible for leading and coordinating its local groups, training its members, fundraising and advocacy in its own country.


The structure of the international organization consists of:

Assembly of Delegates: formed by the presidents of the all national associations, it meets every three years to elect the Executive Board.

Executive Board: formed with 8 to 10 volunteers of different nations, it has the task of coordinating, leading and managing the AIC network, in accordance with the objectives set by the Assembly of Delegates.

International Secretariat: supports the Executive Board in carrying out its mission

AIC English

For more information on AIC and what is happening internationally, click on

Ladies of Charity National Website

The National Ladies of Charity, LCUSA Website  ( ) has been newly redesigned highlighting News, advocacy, pictures, videos, daily reflections and more.  President Gayle Johnson is encouraging chapters and interested parties to check it out, and subscribe to email updates (via upper-right button) and/or join the facebook group :

[The new site] is filled with fresh news, spiritual enrichment and updated forms that are available for your use.  It is an excellent tool for your associations to keep you up to date with the inspirational work all the associations are doing.  The site offers … spiritual reflections for your personal use or for your association meetings, an interactive association map, connections to your tablets and smart phones.