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Saint Louise de Marillac
Saint Louise de Marillac

Saint Louise de Marillac

Feast Day
Mar 15, 2013
Disappointing Children, Loss of Parents, People Rejected by Religious Orders, Sick People,
<p><strong>Patronage &ndash;</strong> Disappointing Children, Loss of Parents, People Rejected by Religious Orders, Sick People, Social Workers, Widows, Vincentian Service Corps</p> <p>St. Louise de Marillac was born August 12, 1591.&nbsp; She was born out of wedlock in the Picardy region of France, and never knew her mother.&nbsp; Louis de Marillac, Lord of Ferrires claimed her as his natural daughter, but not his legal heir.&nbsp; He was a member of the prominent de Marillac family and was a widower. &nbsp; Louise grew up amid the affluent society of Paris, but without a stable home life.&nbsp; Her father married his new wife, Antoinette Le Camus, who refused to accept Louise as part of the family.&nbsp; Nevertheless, Louise was cared for and received an excellent education at the Royal Monastery of Poissy, near Paris, where her aunt was a Dominican Nun. &nbsp;</p> <p>Louise was introduced to the arts and humanities as well as to a deep spiritual life.&nbsp; She remained at Poissy until the age of twelve, when her father passed away.&nbsp; She then went to live with a good devout lady, who taught her household management skills as well as the secrets to herbal medicine.&nbsp; At the age of fifteen, Louise felt drawn to the Cloistered life, but was refused admission by the Capuchin Nuns in Paris.&nbsp; She was devastated by this refusal, and by the age of 22, her family had her convinced that marriage was the best alternative.&nbsp; Her uncle arranged a wedding for her to Antoine Le Gras, secretary to Queen Maria.&nbsp; They were wed in 1617, and a year later had their only child Michel.&nbsp; She grew to love her husband, and was a good mother to their son.&nbsp; She was active in her parish, and lead the Ladies of Charity, an organization of wealthy women dedicated to helping persons oppressed by poverty and disease.&nbsp; Her husband became bedridden in 1621 after a chronic illness.&nbsp; Louise nursed and cared for him and their son.&nbsp; She sought comfort from her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales.&nbsp; Louis entered into a deep spiritual practice, as a mystic.&nbsp; The Incarnation of the Son of God became the center upon which Louise&rsquo;s theology and spirituality rested.&nbsp; She viewed the Incarnation as the moment in which men and women were saved. &nbsp;</p> <p>During civil unrest, her two uncles who held high rank within the government were imprisoned.&nbsp; One was publicly executed and the other died in prison.&nbsp; In 1625, her husband had wasted away and died, and Louise suffered from depression that overcame her.&nbsp; She suffered with internal doubt and guilt at having not pursued the religious calling she had felt as a young woman, and she prayed for a resolution.&nbsp; In 1623, at the age of thirty-two, she wrote, &ldquo;On the Feast of Pentecost, during Holy Mass while I was praying in the Church, my mind was completely freed of all doubt.&nbsp; I was advised that I should remain with my husband and that the time would come when I would be in the position to make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and that I would be in a small community where others would do the same.&nbsp; I felt that it was God who was teaching me these things and that, believing there is a God, I should not doubt the rest&rdquo;.&nbsp; She vowed to never remarry should her husband die before her.&nbsp; She was shown the face of a new spiritual director that she would receive.&nbsp; She then met Vincent de Paul, and recognized him as that face she was shown. &nbsp;</p> <p>Three years after this experience, Antoine died.&nbsp; She now focused intently on her spiritual development.&nbsp; Being a woman of great energy, intelligence, determination and devotion, Louise wrote her own &ldquo;Rule of Life in the World&rdquo;, which detailed a structure for her day.&nbsp; It included the Divine Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass, Holy Communion, Mediation, Spiritual Reading, Fasting, Penance, Reciting the Rosary and special prayers.&nbsp; She still found time to manage her house, entertain guests, and raise her thirteen-year-old son.&nbsp; She became closer to Vincent de Paul. &nbsp;</p> <p>Vincent de Paul lived near her, and was reluctant to become her spiritual advisor.&nbsp; He was also busy with his Confraternities of Charity.&nbsp; They nursed the poor and looked after neglected children, a real need in their day.&nbsp; His work needed more workers, and he needed someone who could teach and organize them.&nbsp; Vincent invited Louise to get involved in his work with the poor.&nbsp; She found great success in these endeavors, and in 1632 she made a spiritual retreat seeking inner guidance regarding her next step.&nbsp; She intensified her ministry with the poor and needy, while still remaining in a deep spiritual life.&nbsp; In 1633, with the help and guidance of Vincent, she created the Daughters of Charity. &nbsp; In the 17<sup>th</sup> century, the charitable care of the poor was completely unorganized.&nbsp; There was a real need for the Daughters of Charity. &nbsp;</p> <p>Louise found the help she needed in young, humble, country women who had the energy and the proper attitude to deal with people who were destitute and suffering.&nbsp; The society ladies that helped Louise helped by raising funds.&nbsp; She taught them all how to deepen their spiritual life, &ldquo;Love the poor and honor them as you would honor Christ Himself&rdquo;.&nbsp; The Daughters of Charity received official approbation in 1655.&nbsp; The Daughters of Charity were unlike the established Religious Communities at the time; up to this point all Religious women were behind cloister walls and performed a ministry of contemplative prayer.&nbsp; In working with her Sisters, Louise emphasized a balanced life, as Vincent de Paul had taught her.&nbsp; It was the integration of contemplation and activity that made Louise&rsquo;s work so successful.&nbsp; She wrote, &ldquo;Certainly it is the great secret of the spiritual life to abandon to God all that we love, by abandoning ourselves to all that He wills&rdquo;. &nbsp;</p> <p>Louise led the Company of the Daughters of Charity until her death.&nbsp; Observers believe that St. Vincent de Paul was the heart of the Daughters of Charity, while Louise was the head.&nbsp; Near her death, she wrote her Sisters, &ldquo;Take good care of the service of the poor.&nbsp; Above all, live together in great union and cordiality, loving one another in imitation of the union and life of our Lord.&nbsp; Pray earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, that she might be your only Mother&rdquo;.&nbsp; After increasingly ill health, Louise de Marillac died on March 15, 1660 &ndash; six months before the death of her friend and mentor, St. Vincent de Paul.&nbsp; She was sixty-eight years of age.&nbsp; At this time, the Daughters of Charity had more than forty houses in France. &nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><strong>Practical Take Away</strong></span></p> <p>St. Louise de Marillac was born out of wedlock in the Picardy region of France.&nbsp; Louis de Marillac, Lord of Ferrires claimed her as his natural daughter, yet not his legal heir.&nbsp; She was educated in a Monastery, and was very spiritual.&nbsp; She had desires to become a Cloistered Nun, but was refused.&nbsp; She entered an arranged marriage, and was a good wife, having one son.&nbsp; After illness took her husbands life, she met St. Vincent de Paul and they became good friends.&nbsp; She assisted him with his work for the poor, and together they founded the Daughters of Charity.&nbsp; Observers believe that St. Vincent de Paul was the heart of the Daughters of Charity, while Louise was the head.&nbsp; The Daughters of Charity are in many countries to this day, still helping the poor. &nbsp;</p>