St. Vincent’s new society was committed to addressing the many social needs of the day. He took a particular interest in the young girls orphaned by the political upheaval of the day and the cholera plague. In June of 1838 the Society opened a house of refuge and education, the “Pia Casa di Carità,”or “Pious House of Charity” for them and entrusted them to the care of several pious women. The Founder dressed them in the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis. The work was able to go forward with the assistance of committed laity.
While the religious and civil education of young girls has always had a prominence in the apostolic works of the community, changing times required changing apostolates
Circumstances forced the Society and St. Vincent to overcome many practical difficulties with a spirit of flexibility and a willingness to adapt to the demands of the actual situation. Vincent abandoned his original intention to found a contemplative community which would support his work with prayer. Instead he commissioned all the Sisters to take on apostolic work in a spirit of generous freedom.
Here began the first apostolic work of those who would come to be known as the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate, a work that continues today, reflecting in many ways the vision of St. Vincent for a society which fostered unity among priests, religious and laity and is dedicated to fostering the apostolic call of all God’s faithful. reviving the faith and rekindling the charity of all the baptized through prayer and action.