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The first inspiration occurred in Châtillon-les-Dombes in a homily by Vincent de Paul, to which more than 50 women responded and provided services to a family in need. St. Vincent founded the first lay organization to work with the poor (all women) and called it the Confraternity of Charities. This was in August 1617 and on December 8 the official rule of the Confraternity was accepted by the Bishop of Lyons.

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