The birth of the Ladies of Charity occurred 400 years ago, when Vincent de Paul called upon Louise de Marillac to gather a handful of women to organize the parish for charity and service to the poor. In October 1970, His Excellency Bishop Edwin Broderick called upon a group of 22 women to follow in the footsteps of St. Vincent and St. Louise and form the Ladies of Charity in Albany.
Through personal service to the poor and marginalized of our community, the Albany Ladies began their mission. Their early ministries included work with St. Catherine’s Child Care Center, St. Casmir’s School, the Christmas Store at St. John’s, the Branson Family Development Center among many others. The Albany Ladies are continuing that history of service to families with infants and small children at Mary’s Corners, services to the homeless at Sister Maureen Joyce Center’s Giving Room, Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, and the Coats for the Community drive. In addition, most of our members serve in their parishes, on community boards and for many of the programs of Catholic Charities.
In 1974, Sister Serena Branson became an influential moderator of the Albany Ladies of Charity. She served with the Ladies tirelessly until her passing in 2002. Sister Serena guided the Ladies to expand their ministries along with their involvement with Catholic Charities. She brought attention to the necessity of monitoring legislation on both the state and national levels. To this day, the Albany Association follows notable current events and directs the membership to take action with legislators.
Sister Serena was an astonishing fundraiser. Through her guidance, the ministries of the Ladies of Charity were able to broaden. As a means of honoring her legacy, the Albany Ladies conduct an annual appeal to its Branson Fund. This fund helps to provide the financial resources to support the ministries of the Albany Ladies.
The Albany Ladies of Charity is committed to grow their work in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac through the perseverance and dedication of each member.
The Albany Association of the Ladies of Charity has over 150 dues paying members and two organizations of the Junior Ladies of Charity at the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany and St. Matthews Church in Voorheesville. Together through Christ we serve the poor in a multitude of ways. We operate two locations of Mary’s Corner, one in Cohoes and one in Albany. At Mary’s Corner we assist the families that have been blessed with children that are in need of a little help to keep them on their feet. We offer food, formula, diapers, clothing, books, and much more. We also have many Ladies that volunteer at the Sister Maureen Joyce Center Soup Kitchen, run by Catholic Charities, located in Downtown Albany as well as the Giving Room within the same building. Our Bridges Out of Poverty program in Cohoes helps those struggling with poverty to overcome barriers to successful employment. Each year in the Fall we put on a Coats for the Community event which has been very successful in the past with providing those without coats a winter season filled with warmth. Lastly, for one Saturday each month we meet with the Daughters of Charity and do smaller service projects such as send letters to our troops overseas or sort clothes for Mary’s Corner.