Leaving God for God is a study of five generations of Catholic Sisters in Britain from 1847 to 2017 and of their wide-ranging ministries to people in poverty. As members of the Company of Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul - which traces its origins back to St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac in seventeenth-century France - Daughters of Charity belong to the largest transnational institute in the Catholic Church.
Written with access to the Daughters’ archives in London and Paris this history assesses how far the Sisters lived out their undertaking to serve the poorest and most marginalised in society. Their history illuminates the practice of Catholic charity and charitable care. Other themes explored include the development of Marian devotional life in Britain, lay and religious status in the Church’s mission at home and overseas, and the interplay of national identities in Catholic Britain.
The history of Catholicism in England and Scotland is seen in fresh perspective through the lens of this singular transnational community of women. Their history, it is argued, challenges both the mainstream narrative about the nature of philanthropy and charity in Britain and the Church’s narrative about Catholic Sisters in the twentieth century.