Jean-Baptiste Étienne, C.M. and the Restoration of the Daughters of Charity


The nineteenth-century superior general Jean-Baptiste Etienne has often been given the title of “Second Founder” of the Congregation and the Daughters of Charity. Edward Udovic argues that this title is deserved, not because of any similarity to Vincent de Paul, but because of Etienne’s faithfulness to the communities’ primitive spirit. Etienne made that the guiding principle of the communities’ re-establishment. Etienne’s background, experience, agenda for restoration and reform, and worldview are all examined. According to Udovic, Etienne and his leadership are best described as “Vincentian-centric, Romantic, Gallican, and authoritarian.” A French nationalist and imperialist, he was particularly concerned with remaining true to what he saw as the French character of the Vincentian communities. This contributed to his insistence on absolute conformity to the original Rules and customs of the Daughters and complete uniformity in each sister’s life, without any regard for individuality. Just as the papacy had the authority of Christ over the Church, Etienne believed he as superior general had Vincent’s authority over the Daughters. Some of his counsel to them is included.

“Jean-Baptiste Etienne, C.M. and the Restoration of the Daughters of Charity” is an article published in the Vincentian Heritage Journal, Volume 31, Issue 2, Article 5 (2012) and is available at:


Book of the week: Juan-Bautista Etienne y el Renacimiento Vicenciano


This newly published work is the Spanish translation of my monograph published by the Vincentian Studies Institute in 2001 as: “Jean-Baptiste Etienne, C.M. and the Vincentian Revival.”  This volume is a leadership study of Jean-Baptiste Etienne (1801-1874) who served as the 14th superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and the Company of the Daughters of Charity (1843-1874).


Translated by Luis Huerga Astorga, published by Editorial CEME, Santa Marta de Tormes, Salamanca, Espana, 2011.  ISBN: 978-84-7349-146-4.  pp. 383.