Founders of Seton Hospital leaving for other mission work

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the next several months there is going to be a big departure from Seton.

The Daughters of Charity, the missionary group of sisters that opened Seton in 1902 and have a presence in various non-profits around the world, have decided their work is needed in other cities.

For 112 years they have walked the halls at Seton’s facilities and hospitals helping patients, family, and staff during good and hard times.

Just like a nurse, Sister Jean Wesselman makes her rounds at Seton Southwest.

“It’s been walking holy ground to be here and to do this role,” said Sister Jean Wesselman.

After serving as hospital chaplain since 1991, Sister Jean has become a familiar face and often a calming voice for those not wishing to be inside these walls.

“People are so beautiful and the spirit of each person is so strong that I learn so much from people going through suffering and going through challenges, surprises, and struggles in the hospital,” said Sister Jean.

Struggles are something the Daughters of Charity are feeling and is part of their decision to leave.

Once 30 sisters strong at Seton, now there are six, and their numbers as a missionary group across the country are dwindling.

“So as a province we realized that we needed to take the numbers that we had and be together in larger numbers and bigger groups and to do things that other people weren’t willing to do,” said Sister Catherine Brown, Daughter of Charity. “What we realized is Seton will be here, it will continue its mission.”

But many non-profits wouldn’t be able to continue without their presence.

“Everyone is going to different places, I’m going to Macon, Georgia,” said Sister Catherine.

Sister Catherine Brown will continue her health education work with a new group of sisters at a day center for the homeless.

So while the sisters won’t be walking the halls at Seton they hope their presence is always there.

“Change is not always easy but it is a part of life – means you are alive,” said Sister Jean.

The Daughters of Charity are leaving nine other cities where they feel like their mission work can be handled by others.

Because of their departure Seton has brought on a vice president for mission integration to ensure the Daughter’s 112 year mission continues at all of their facilities. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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