Ladies of Charity seek women willing to serve

Friday, Apr. 05, 2024
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

As many families in Utah struggle just to survive, some local women are quietly donating their time to help make a difference. The Ladies of Charity is a lay outreach ministry devoted to serving the material and spiritual needs of the sick, those living in poverty and the marginalized of our society. There are two Ladies of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul associations in Utah, and they are moderated by the Daughters of Charity. For these women, both lay and religious, this effort is more than just volunteer work. 

“The Daughters of Charity have a specific vocation or charism to serve the poor,” said Sister Germaine Sarrazin, DC, moderator of the Ladies of Charity of Northern Utah. “It’s not a job; it’s a ministry.” 

The association was established in 2003 in Bountiful, spearheaded by Sister Charlotte Marie Clark. At that time, they served families from Salt Lake City to Ogden, taking them boxes with food they gathered from the Ogden Food Bank. Currently the association has about 20 active members and 20 emeritus members, Sr. Germaine said. These days the organization runs the Center of Hope food pantry in North Salt Lake, which last month served more than 1,800 individuals. 

The Salt Lake Ladies of Charity association has 27 members who deliver monthly boxes of food from the Center of Hope to 27 families throughout the Salt Lake Valley. They also provide holiday gifts and food vouchers to the families.

To help support their ministry, the associations have various fundraising efforts. The Bountiful association is working to develop a thrift store and makes and sells soap on its website ( to help fund the pantry. The Salt Lake association hosts bread sales and a Christmas boutique.

Each association holds a monthly meeting where the members gather for prayer and plan for the upcoming month. The Bountiful association meets on the third Wednesday at noon in the rectory of St. Olaf Catholic Church. The Salt Lake association meets the first Sunday of each month after the 11:30 a.m. Mass at the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church rectory.

Kathleen Clarken, Salt Lake association president, has been a member of the Ladies of Charity for seven years. She had been volunteering in the community for years and decided it was a good way to combine those efforts while supporting the Church’s mission, she said. “I thought, ’Why not fill a need for the poor in the community?’”

“We serve the needy in our community,” she said. “Even if people would want to help us pack up food, we’d appreciate it.” 

The Daughters of Charity are also hoping to reestablish a conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Utah; currently there are no conferences in the state.

The Ladies of Charity are holding a meet and greet on April 14 at Give Me A Chance in Ogden for those who might be interested in learning more about the organization and its work. 

“What we’re striving to do is to encourage women to become Ladies of Charity, and men to become Society of St. Vincent de Paul members because if we have those two organizations active in the state, then we will be able to carry on our ministry in the state,” Sr. Germaine said. 

The Ladies of Charity organization was founded in 1617 in France by St. Vincent de Paul to serve the poor. Today, the organization has associations in 53 countries. There are 67 associations and about 6,800 Ladies of Charity in the U.S.

For information about the Salt Lake association, contact Clarken at 801-652-4421 or To learn about the Bountiful association, call Sr. Germaine at 801-971-3353. For information about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, call Sister Marie Rachel Cruz at 805-729-2979. 

WHAT: Ladies of Charity/Society of St. Vincent de Paul Meet & Greet

WHEN: Sunday, April 14, 2-3 p.m. 

WHERE: Give Me A Chance, 2913 Grant Ave., Ogden

 RSVP by April 7 to Sr. Germaine at 801-971-3353.

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