Daughters of Divine Charity

Daughters of Divine Charity at St. Therese Parish in San Diego
“We, the Daughters of Divine Charity of Holy Family Province, make God’s love visible in the world by reaching out to those in need, especially to women, youth, and the elderly.”

Making God's Love Visible at St. Therese

The ministry of the Daughters of Divine Charity began at St. Therese in the late 1950s.  Sisters who were teaching at St. Charles Borromeo Academy began an afternoon program of catechesis in the still chaparral-covered hillside above Allied Gardens.  Classes were held outdoors. With the construction of the convent and school in 1960, the Academy and the full-time ministry of the Daughters of Divine Charity began at St. Therese.  

At present the Daughters of Divine Charity minister at St. Therese, in St. Therese Academy school, in the catechetical program, in youth ministry and in pastoral ministry.  The Sisters also do vocational ministry.

The emblem of the Daughters of Divine Charity

Our History of Service

Mother Franziska Lechner mural in St. Mary's Residence, New York, NY

The Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity was founded by Franziska Lechner in Vienna, Austria on November 21, 1868. Born in Bavaria, Germany, Franziska felt a compelling call to religious life and she searched courageously for where God was calling her to work in the Church.

Mother Franziska felt called to found a Congregation and went to Vienna, the capital of Catholic Austria, and applied for permission to organize a Congregation for women. As the Congregation grew, she adopted the rule of Saint Augustine for her Sisters.


She began her work by opening St. Mary’s homes to provide housing for young women who were coming to the cities during the Industrial Revolution. Acutely aware of the conditions of her time, she was determined to protect these young women from the physical and moral dangers that were rampant in the cities of the 19th century. Within a short time, the Sisters began founding schools throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Mother Franziska Lechner died in Austria in 1894 and the work that she began continues today through her over 1000 daughters. We have the honor of calling her “Servant of God” as she is a candidate for beatification, a step to being officially declared a saint.

The Daughters of Divine Charity began their ministry here in the United States over one hundred years ago and have served here in California for the past 70 years. At the present time, the Congregation ministers in Albania, Austria, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, and the United States.