International celebration of the 400th founding of the Confraternity of Charities (AIC) and the beginning of the Vincentian charism is held in France and around the world. Today the International Association of Charities of St. Vincent de Paul (AIC) is a source of information and guidance for the Ladies of Charity of the United States of America ® (LCUSA) and represents their membership on the international level as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at ECOSOC, UNESCO, Council of Europe and the United Nations. AIC is active in 52 countries with over 200,000 local women working together against poverty… the oldest continuous lay volunteer organization in the world.
Ladies of Charity of the United States celebrated its 150th anniversary in St. Louis, Mo.
The Ladies of Charity of the United States convenes a biennial meeting for the first time independent of Catholic Charities USA, in Orlando, Florida. The theme is “Whatsoever You Do To the Least of Our Brethren.”
The Ladies of Charity in the United States were incorporated in the State of Missouri and legally recognized as a 501 C3. At that time there were 230 affiliated associations and 30,000 members in 25 states. Also, AIC International acquired legal personality under civil law; it was officially recognized as an International not-for-profit association under Belgian law and its constitution was approved.
The International Association of Charities of St. Vincent de Paul (AIC) publishes the Basic Document, a more flexible document than a constitution. This document allows each locality around the world to develop its own style of service and commitment according to the basic model of Vincentian evangelization and service to people most in need. Entitled “Against All Forms of Poverty Acting Together”, the document was officially presented with the objective to define the fundamental project of St. Vincent, adapting it to modern realities.
At the Extraordinary International Meeting in Rome, delegates from 22 countries voted on the new constitution, elected an Executive Board and an International President and drew up Lines of Action to renew the association. The new name AIC, International Association of Charities, was adopted. The international secretariat moved from Paris to Brussels.
The national organization, Association of the Ladies of Charity United States (ALCUS) was established. A National Service Center was established at Guardian Angel Settlement in St. Louis, Missouri. Sr. Catherine Sullivan D.C. was instrumental in helping the ladies establish ALCUS. There was a 3-fold purpose: to serve as a bond between the associations of the Ladies of Charity in the United States and the International Headquarters in Paris, France; to promote unity among the associations in the exercise of charity according to the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul through personal service to the poor; and to encourage the activities of the associations in existence and to assist in the organization of new ones. The first National Assembly was held in 1960 in New York City. 250 members from 17 dioceses (representing 13 states and the District of Columbia) were in attendance. Mrs. Diane Downey became the first National President. The assembly was held in conjunction with the National Council of Catholic Charities. The governing laws were read and ratified by delegates representing the local associations. The national association continued to hold biennial assemblies with Catholic Charities until 1998.