Ladies of Charity
Mrs Cynthia Witbooi, 36 Adams St., Salsoneville. PO Box 17191, Saltville 6058. Tel: 041 481 2240. Cell 084 842 7777
The Founder of the Ladies of Charity is St. Louise de Marillac whose Feastday is celebrated on 15th March.
Count A. Wilmot and his wife were appointed by the Pope to bring the Association to South Africa in the late 1880’s. The Association has done well in the Port Elizabet diocese and it was well known in Walmer at St. Bernadette’s and at St. finbarr’s, Fairview, as well as Blessed Oliver Plunket Church in South End.
Father Frederick Cole was its Spiritual Director up to 1998 when the books and bank records were handed over to Father John Clarke’s parish in Chatty. The Ladies in Arcadia had continued from their Fairview parish days and Father Clarke was very impressed by the work they did. They were involved in soup kitchens, visiting poor families and food parcel distribution in the Arcadia area. He encouraged its spread to Cradock, King William’s Town and various parishes in East London. The soup kitchens which run several times a week also feed school children. Once a year the Ladies come together for an annual service and symposium.
After handing over the directorship to Father Clarke, the association has grown from strength to strength. He reports that there are four associations in the Eastern Cape: St. John’s in Cradock, St. Andrew’s in King William’s Town, Holy Spirit in Arcadia and St. Joseph the Worker in Chatty / Bloemendal. All these branches run soup kitchens, visit the sick and care for those affected by HIV/Aids, take Christmas parcels to the infirm, poor and old age homes, as well as raise funds for various parish projects.