They pay delivery of Saltilla nuns with banishment and death in China

The Company of the Sisters of Charity de San Vicente de Paul was founded on November 29, 1633 by Vincent de Paul and Luisa de Marillac, in order to train and dedicate to the physical and spiritual service of the sick poor.

The women members of this society are known as Daughters of Charity, Paul Sisters, Vincentians, or Vincentians.

Its virtues are: obedience, deprivation, pain and fatigue, accepting the mission of becoming servants of the poor and mothers of the orphan. The institution establishes that the sister cannot take money from her family or enjoy privileges within the group, they are destined to exercise the sublime affections of charity.

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As a result of a decree signed on October 9, 1843, they settled in Mexico in November 1844, obtaining the corresponding permission from President Antonio López de Santa Anna.

Mrs. María Ana Gómez de la Cortina and Dr. Manuel Andrade y Pastor financed the travel expenses from Madrid to Mexico for 11 Sisters of Spanish nationality. They were in charge of the hospitals of Divino Salvador, San Pablo, San Andrés and San Juan de Dios.


Since their arrival the group grew rapidly, by 1846 ten Spanish women were conducting the work of 100 Mexican sisters in various cities. In 1861 a group was founded in the city of Saltillo, in that same year they were exempted from compliance with the Reform Laws, since they were considered a purely civil society.

However, in 1874, the institute was abolished by order of President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, monastic orders were not recognized and the establishment of religious societies whose individuals lived under certain rules and through temporary or perpetual promises or vows and with subjection to one or more superiors.

By virtue of the fact that the association of the Sisters of Charity was prohibited, from the date of publication of the law, the government gave them a month to leave the country. They were given the choice, to resign or accept exile, only the very old and sick ones resigned, the majority kept the vows they had made when joining the association.

Despite protests and requests from citizens to stop the measure, the government was inflexible, in several cities the exodus took place during the early hours of the morning. In less than 30 days the Sisters of Charity left Mexico, where thirty years before they had been received with open arms and enthusiasm for the noble work they were doing.

In January 1875, one hundred and sixty-two nuns were the last to leave Veracruz for France. A crowd witnessed the sad departure, at the moment of setting sail, the Sisters knelt on the deck of the ship and sang a hymn of praise to Mary in chorus, greeting her as “Star of the Seas”.


In that group of expelled were several women from Saltillo, among them Sister María del Carmen Galindo Dávila.

In a letter from Sister Linarie dated April 18, 1875 in Paris, she describes how the sisters who arrived from Mexico were distributed.

“Twenty sisters went to Naples, four to Rome, others to Algeria and Constantinople, (today Istanbul) we are still forty in the Mother House and now, twenty-five sisters have just arrived with Mr. Frías, they are from Monterrey and Saltillo” . On April 12, 1875, Sister Carmen Galindo and Sister Úrsula left with seven other French Sisters for China”.

Arriving in Shanghai on May 22, 1875, Sister Carmen Galindo wrote a moving letter to her father. “My very loving dad. I hasten to put these lines to you, assuring you that I am well and very happy in these lands, although my heart sometimes aches when I consider that I have left you so far away: but upon entering the community I made the sacrifice of leaving you forever, like this. It’s just that the thought that we’ll see each other in heaven consoles me.

“Dear dad, I suppose you have received my first travel letter, in which I told you the day we embarked, now you will be very pleased to receive another one that will comfort your heart seeing the protection of Our Lord, since we have had a happy journey nothing has happened to us, the most illustrious lord of Laplace, bishop of Andrinópolis, (Today Edirne, city of Turkey) has manifested himself a true father with us poor exiles.

He commissioned me to tell you, my dear mother and brothers that he sent them his blessing, which I am very pleased about, and I think they will ask for this worthy Lord. Yesterday we arrived with no news, but we still haven’t reached our destination, we have ten days left to reach the Chinese Empire, I will write to you later giving details, especially when Divine Providence has its useful instrument”. Sister Carmen Galindo.


The Sisters of Charity had arrived in troubled China in 1848. In June 1870, ten sisters were murdered by a group of “revolutionaries” who attacked them with sabers and axes, others were burned.

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In 1878 another 12 Sisters of Charity were murdered in China, including eight Mexicans. The anguished relatives of Sister Carmen Galindo lived in seas of anguish and despair due to the lack of news, which took months to arrive; Sister Carmen was not on the list of dead sisters.


A note from El Coahuilense, the official newspaper of the Government of Coahuila in March 1882, contained fatal news. “She will have found her reward in heaven, she died in Beijing where a barbaric law made her emigrate, we have to register the death of another daughter from Mexico, Sister of Charity, Miss Doña María del Carmen Galindo Davila.”

The note does not explain how he died, it only transcribes the death certificate sent from China to France by the French minister of relations to that of Mexico and by the latter to the government of Saltillo.

“Legation of the French Republic in China, death certificate of sister María del Carmen Galindo, died on February 26, 1882 at five in the afternoon, María del Carmen Galindo was born in Saltillo, Mexico on September 20, 1847,

Daughter of Charity in religion sister Eugenia, who lived in Beijing in the house of the Immaculate Conception, known under the name of Ien-tse-tang, legitimate daughter of Francisco Galindo and Doña Refugio Dávila, said act registered according to the certificate visit by Dr. Bretschneider, physician through the delegation of the French Republic in China.


The works of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity in orphanages and hospitals in China prospered, a situation that aroused hostility, especially among the mandarins, who wanted to suppress Catholicism.

They had long argued that the Sisters of Charity gouged out the eyes of the dying and children to make potions with them. The background was different, the congregation was French, an anti-French sentiment permeated the Chinese population. In 1884 the armed conflict between France and China broke out.

More than 140 years ago those unfortunate events, today a heroine born in Saltillo is remembered, who surely was martyred like many other Mexican women in distant lands. [email protected]

Relatos y Retratos del Saltillo antiguo appears on the second and third Sunday of each month.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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