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Daughters of Charity consolidation will cause some changes in Emmitsburg

(3/1) The Daughters of Charity are consolidating their provincial houses in order to streamline their operations and free up more sisters to work in the mission field.

"This building is no longer a Daughter of Charity provincial house," said Lori Stewart, director of development and public relations for the Daughters of Charity.

After months of meetings, planning and discussions, the Daughters of Charity are consolidating their provincial houses into a single provincial house in St. Louis, MO. Besides the provincial house in Emmitsburg, the other provincial houses in Evansville, IN and Albany, NY.

"It was a hard decision, but the Daughters are looking for a way to do what is best to serve the poor," said Lori Stewart, director of development and public relations for the Daughters of Charity.

The shift means that seven sisters who serve in an administrative capacity for the St. Joseph's Provincial House will be transferred to St. Louis and then possibly out into the mission field.

"Our mission calls us to be innovative, inventive, collaborative, and inclusive. We want to do what is best to advocate for the issues of immigration, human trafficking, social injustice, and national health care reform," concluded Sister Claire Debes, provincial superior in Emmitsburg.

The sisters have already begun preparing for the change, which won't become official until July 2011. Stewart said that the sisters have been going through closets and storage areas that haven't been explored in awhile and finding mementos and artifacts from different places and parishes where Daughters of Charity have served. Many of them are being donated to a silent auction the Daughters are holding in May to raise money for some work that the Seton Shrine needs.

The remaining Emmitsburg sisters will become focused on Heritage Ministries as the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and other historic buildings related to Seton will remain in Emmitsburg.

The Daughters of Charity archive will benefit from the changes. The archives from Evansville and Albany will be transferred to the archives in Emmitsburg, increasing the size of the collection. Stewart said the Daughters of Charity would like to create a research area for researchers who want to use the archives.

The retirement facility for elderly sisters will also continue operating in Emmitsburg.

One challenge will be for the Daughters of Charity to find uses for their underutilized space in the provincial house, which is part of the 390,000-square-foot facility the Daughters of Charity own in Emmitsburg.

The American Daughters of Charity celebrated their bicentennial last year.

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