“The person who does not love does not know God, for God is Charity.” St Louise De Marillac
She lived from: 1591- 1660 A.D.
Feast Day: 15th March
Related Article : St Jerome
Louise was born in France and was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy.
When she was 15 years old her parents died. In 1613 she married Anthony Le Gras and they lived happily together. A few years later he became ill and she nursed him until he died. Subsequently, she decided to devote her life to serving God.
In 1625 she met Vincent De Paul who was setting up a charity whereby wealthy women in Paris would help the poor and nurse the sick. This group of women were like the Social Workers of today. After a while, Vincent had become her Spiritual Adviser and he recognised her ability to be brave and strong for the work that she and the other women carried out i.e. tending to the sick and feeding the poor families in Paris, could be all-consuming.
In 1633, she set up her own training centre in her Parisian home, for those women who wanted to help her in her work. This centre was seen as the launch of the Sisters of Charity or as Vincent referred to it as the Daughters of Charity.
In 1634, she took her Vows to become a Nun and the community of women helpers continued to grow. She wrote a Rule for them detailing how they were to live their lives in the service of God. This community then became part of the Congregation of the Missions led by Vincent and Louise became the Mother Superior.
Over the years, she travelled all over France establishing her Sisters in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions.
By the time she died in Paris on 15th March, the Congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Since then they have spread all over the world. She became a Saint in 1934.
Then in 1960 it was announced that she would become the Patroness of Social Workers.
Do you have a favourite Saint you’d like to see featured? Do let us know.
Thanks for reading and God bless,