Ascension Seton 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. Ascension Seton is named for Elizabeth Ann Ascension Seton, who was made the first American-born Catholic saint.
Ascension 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 Ascension Seton Infirmary, would eventually lead to the building of Ascension Seton Medical Center in 1975. In the last century, Ascension Seton 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
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.