Ladies of Charity
The Ladies of Charity, the world’s oldest faith-based volunteer group formed in 17th century France, was founded by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. They are recognized throughout the world as champions of the poor and underprivileged. The seeds sown by these two heroes of charity have grown into a worldwide ministry for social justice, with 420,000 members in 43 countries. Here in Greenbelt, the first president of the Ladies of Charity was installed on October 6, 1946 by Fr. Leo J. Fealy, in the old Holy Redeemer Church, now called Fealy Hall. Until the formal organization of St. Hugh’s Parish in 1947, Greenbelt was considered a mission under Holy Redeemer Church in Berwyn, now College Park.
The St. Hugh’s Unit participates in a number of activities within the parish as well as in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. and the Prince George’s County region. Activities specific to St. Hugh’s and Greenbelt include financial and other assistance to help individuals bridge the gap to self-sufficiency. We stock the Food Pantry in Grenoble Hall and prepare food parcels for Greenbelters to pick-up at the rectory. Traditionally, the Ladies of Charity have been available to assist the pastor in bereavement needs of parishioners and to provide assistance and comfort to the poor, sick and elderly. Through their ongoing prayer list, the group has gained respect for the power of prayer as a force to provide guidance and amelioration in times of crisis. Parish activities such as the annual Christmas bazaar and social events benefit from the volunteer services of the Ladies of Charity.
In regional activities, St. Hugh’s adds their support to St. Ann’s Infant Home, Sacred Heart Home, Spring Grove, SOME and other organizations that help individuals affected by economic or unfortunate circumstances. In September 2012 the National Assembly was hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington with meetings held at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Bethesda, MD. Our St. Hugh's unit chaired and "manned" the hospitality room for the Assembly, which culminated in a Mass at nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Church celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. After the Mass, the Cardinal was presented with a giant "check" for $4,708,632.08, the amount representing the value of one year's volunteer services by the Ladies of Charity.