Hospital Sisters Also called "Daughters of God," are communities of nuns and lay sisters founded for the same purpose originally as the Hospitallers (q.v.). Their organization spread even more rapidly than the latter, but they soon abandoned their original purpose, and turned their attention to the education of young girls, especially orphans, and also to the redeeming of lost women. They are to be found to this day in France, the Netherlands, and in Italy, and are especially useful in taking care of the sick. Among their many branches we find the following:
(1.) Hospital Sisters of Notre Dame of Refuge, founded in 1624 by Elizabeth of the Cross at Nancy, confirmed in 1634 by pope Urban VIII. They received in their houses three classes of women: virtuous girls, who by vows bound themselves to works of charity; fallen women, who, after their reformation, were likewise admitted to taking the vows; finally, voluntary penitents, and women who were sent to these institutions against their will for correction.
(2.) Hospital Sisters of Loches (in Touraine), founded in 1630 by the priest Pasquier Bouray. They had a very strict rule.
(3.) Hospital Sisters of the Mercy of Jesus, established in 1630 according to the rule of St. Augustine; confirmed in 1638 by patent letters, and in 1664 and 1667 by papal bulls.
(4.) Hospital Sisters of St. Joseph or of Providence; SEE PROVIDENCE, ORDERS OF.
(5.) Hospital Sisters of St. Thomas of Villeneuve, established in 1660 by Angelus le Proust and Louis Chaboisseau, according to the third rule of St. Augustine; received in 1661 the royal sanction, and still exist in France.
(6.) Hospital Sisters of St. Augustine of Notre Danme of Christian Love, who originated in 1679 at Grenoble.
(7.) Hospital Sisters of Besangon, established in 1685,revived in 1807, have (1870) about eighteen houses.
(8.) Hospital Sisters of' St. Martha of Pontarlier, established in 1687.
(9.) Hospital Sisters of the Holy Ghost; SEE HOLY GHOST, ORDERS OF. To the class of Hospital Sisters, in the wider sense of the word, may also be counted the Elizabethines, the Sisters of Charity, and many other congregations. — Herzog, Real-Encyclop. 6, 285; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 5:345 sq.; Helyot, Geschichte d. Klöster- u. Ritterorden, 2, 362; 4, 404,437,475, 482; 7, 342 sq.; Theol. Univ. Lex. 2, 370 sq. (A. J. S.)