Saint Louise de Marillac
Saint Louise was a French girl born on the 12th of August, 1591, aroundLe Meux, now Oise, Picardy. Her father was Louis de Marillac, Lord ofFerrires. She was born out of wedlock and had no idea who her motherwas.
Louis de Marillac had accepted her as his daughter but had refused tomake her his heir.
Saint Louise’ Uncle worked in Marie de’ Mexico’s court. This influenceenabled her to be able to work among the French aristocrats.
Saint Louise was cared for like any child but was estranged by herfather’s new wife, Antoinette Le Camus. Nevertheless, she was sent toreceive education in the royal convent of Poissy where her aunt was anun.
Louise was a religious child who was convinced that God had bigger plansfor her. At the age of 12, her father died and she was taken to livewith a Christian Spinster.
There she was taught basic management skills and herbal medicine. At theage of 15, her application to join the Capuchin nuns was rejected.
At the age of 21 or 22, Saint Louise’s family arranged her marriage toAntoine Le Gras. Louise did not think marriage was her next path but sheagreed to please her family.
On the 5th of February, Saint Louise got married to Antoine. After sometime she assumed an official role in the local parish she attended.
Antoine and Louise had a son named Michel.
Dedication and Devotion
Tragedy struck in 1621 when Antoine fell ill with a debilitatingsickness. Antoine became bedridden, leaving Louise to cater for allthree of them. Through this all, Louise was counseled by Francis deSales who would later become a Saint and Bishop of belley.
When Antoine died in 1625, Louise made a pledge to remain single for therest of her years. She was continually plagued by a vision showing a newspiritual guide that will order her path.
This guide turned out to be Saint Vince de Paul.
After Antoine’s death, Saint Louise moved due to financial reasons. Inher new residence, She met Saint Vincent.
Vincent at that time was working on a project that involved noble ladiescaring for the poor. He was about to turn Louise’s friendship when herealized she was the answer to his prayer.
Although suffering from slight health implications, Saint Louise was anenergetic and religious young woman. When she wasn’t caring for her son,she was praying, preaching, meditating, or practicing penance. Thisimpressed Saint Vincent that he chose to be her spiritual guide.
In 1629, Saint Vincent asked Louise to join his charity work. She agreedand together they ministered to the needy.
With Saint Louise, Vincent de Paul set up an association with the womenin his church in Châtillon-les-Dombes.
The project was so successful that they proceeded to help the poor inthe slums of Paris where the noblemen couldn’t reach. This encouragesother women from the lesser side of life to take part in the project.
In 1633, a group called Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.They respected Saint Louise and made her head of all operations in thegroup.
Saint Louise invested most of her time and energy into teaching theladies and helping the poor. The group of ladies was one of the pioneersof uncloistered religious women who went around to minister.
Sometime in the 17th century, Saint Louise traveled to Angers to workwith a hospital. There, they nursed the sick.
Death and Canonization
Saint Louise continued to lead the women until her death. She died 15thof March, 1660 at the age of 68.
Saint Louise de Marillac was canonized on the 11th of March, 1934 byPope Pius XI. She is buried at the cathedral in the motherhouse of theDaughter of Charity. She is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church onthe 9th of May and the Episcopal Church on the 15th of March
5 Interesting Facts About Saint Louise de Marillac
- Did you know that it was her priest who arranged for Saint Louise to
get married to Antoine?
- Did you know that Saint Louise de Marillac is the patron saint of
sick people, widows, and orphans?
- Did you know that Saint Louise was named the Patroness of Social
Workers in 1960?
- Did you know that the Roman Catholic Church used to celebrate Saint
Louise on the 15th of March?
- Do you know there are over 25,000 daughters of charity today?
Prayers to Saint Louise de Marillac
O Gracious God,Saint Louise devoted her lifeto helping Saint Vincent de Paulserve the needs of the poor.She often taught:“Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor,honor them, as you would honor Christ Himself.”I lift up to You the programs in my churchand community that help the needy,and the people who do the work.Multiply the donations.Teach me how to think generously.Give me a heart that desires to care for the pooras if I were serving Jesus directly,and help me to see Jesus in each personthat begs on the street corner or church door.Saint Louise, pray for us.Amen.