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Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Louise de Marillac



There is some mystery to Louise’s birth, but what we do know is that even though Louise's Mother died soon after giving birth, Louise herself was then raised by her Aristocratic father. It was soon after that Louise’s father remarried, but unfortunately, Louise never enjoyed a close relationship with her step mother, so it was decided to send the young Louise to a Dominican convent.

This was a difficult time for Louise and never an exuberant child, she became even more introverted as she studied her lessons under the guidance of the Sisters of that Order, for Louise did display a curious mind and a propensity for intellectual pursuits. Living among the Nuns also fostered within her soul a deep desire to become a Religious herself, but fate intervened, and her wish was not to be met just yet.

Louise instead embarked on an arranged marriage in 1613 to Antoine LaGras who was also of noble standing and was secretary to Queen Marie de Medici. Their married life was comfortable but Antoine suffered many ailments, and so the shadow of death was not far away from the LaGras family.

During this difficult and worrisome time, Louise was to meet a very holy priest by the name of Francis de Sales, who provided much help to the distraught Louise.

Sadly Antoine LaGras died in the year 1625, leaving Louise a widow, but also leaving her free to work amongst the poor, which she had been doing for quite some time.

It was through her meeting with Francis de Sales that Louise met, Fr. Vincent de Paul, who inquired of her if she wished to help him in his enterprise, the Confraternities of Charity to work within the different parishes around France.

Louise had a great devotion to the poor, and even though born of noble birth, she mixed easily in all social classes, and with her quiet and humble spirit, many felt comfortable in her reassuring presence.

Louise took great delight in her work alongside Fr. Vincent, and with her skills as a homemaker, she was able to take charge of the day to day finances, so that everything ran smoothly, and the poor would receive the greatest benefits.

It was in 1633 that Louise decided to train a small group of women to serve the poor, and trained them to show respect and compassion, but also common sense when dealing with the destitute of France. And it was from these humble beginnings that the Daughters of Charity began.

Louise along side Fr. de Paul worked hard to establish this Order of Religious who were not confined to Convents, but, instead worked amongst the poorest of the poor. Louise was to teach all her sisters to have a deep respect for the poor, lonely and the widowed and to serve the poor as if they were serving Jesus Himself.

And as Louise de Marillac and Fr. Vincent worked side by side in this endeavour, so too, did they die within months of each other.

Louise de Marillac died in 1660. St. Vincent de Paul died six months later.

Louise was canonized on 11th March 1934 by Pope Pius XI.

Some Quotes

Prudence consists in speaking about important matters only and not relating a lot of trifles that are not worth saying.

How good it is to trust God! Turn to Him often, as children look to their father and mother in their needs.

One of the most powerful reasons to induce us to love God is the conviction we enjoy that He loves us.
And from these two great Saints, Vincent and Louise, yet another Frenchman would step forward to fulfill their vision of 'serving the poor'.