The Seton Healthcare Family was founded by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic organization that dates back to 17th century France. Formed by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, the Daughters of Charity dedicated themselves to expressing God’s love through services to the sick, the poor and the destitute. They became the first non-cloistered community of religious women working in the streets and homes doing God’s work. The Daughters came to America largely through the efforts of Elizabeth Ann Seton, a widow who established a religious community in Maryland and adopted the philosophy of St. Vincent de Paul. The Seton Healthcare Family is named for Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was made the first American-born Catholic saint.

Seton originated in Austin in 1902, after a group of citizens asked the Daughters to build a hospital to care for the sick. This 40-bed hospital, originally the Seton Infirmary, would eventually lead to the building of Seton Medical Center in 1975. In the last century, Seton Healthcare Family has grown from one hospital to a network of more than 20 hospitals and healthcare facilities across Central Texas.

Daughters of Charity in the United States

Recently, Seton’s archivist traveled through the central United States to document the history of five of the rural Community Health Ministries of the Daughters of Charity.
Read the Stories

In November 1999, the Daughters of Charity National Health System merged with the Sisters of St. Joseph health system in Michigan, forming Ascension Health. Ascension Health, now known simply as Ascension, is the nation’s largest Catholic and largest non-profit health system, serving patients through a network of hospitals and related health facilities providing acute care services, long-term care, community health services, psychiatric, rehabilitation and residential care.

The original sponsoring organizations of the healthcare ministries that have come together as Ascension established a foundation that continues shaping our work today. Ascension is committed to caring for those who are most in need in the communities served.