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Saint of the Day for 15 March: St. Louise de Marillac

St. Louise de Marillac: Co-Foundress of the Daughters of Charity and Patroness of Social Service

Name

St. Louise de Marillac

Title

Widowed and religious

Baptismal name

Louise of Marillac

Birth

Aug. 12, 1591, Le Meux, France

Death

March 15, 1660, Paris, France

Recurrence

15 marzo

Martyrology

2004 edition

Beatification

May 9, 1920, Rome , Pope Benedict XV

Canonisation

March 11, 1934, Rome , Pope Pius XI

Prayer

O admirable St. Louise de Marillac, who resolved to copy in yourself the most possibly perfect image of your only good, the Crucified Redeemer, you applied yourself to all the rigors of the harshest penance in the solitude of a cave in which you always made it your delight to extenuate with vigils and fasts, the butchering with scourges of your innocent flesh impose on us all the grace of always taming by the exercise of evangelical mortification all our rebellious appetites, and of always making pasture of our spirit the most devout meditation of those Christian truths, which alone can procure us true well-being in this life and eternal bliss in the next.

Protector

of social works

Relics place

Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Roman Martyrology

In Paris St. Louise de Marillac, widow Le Gras, Foundress, together with St. Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity, most zealous in helping the poor, by Pope Pius XI ascribed to the glories of the Saints.

 

 

The Saint and Mission

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Saint Louise de Marillac, a prominent figure in the history of Christian charity, is best known for her role as co-founder, together with Saint Vincent de Paul, of the Daughters of Charity. Her life is a clear example of how deep faith and concrete action can intertwine to respond to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Through her work, Luisa has demonstrated that Christian mission goes beyond prayer and worship, extending to the active care of those on the margins. The mission of Saint Louise de Marillac was rooted in an intimate understanding of human dignity and the presence of Christ in every suffering person. Her dedication to the service of the poor was not simply a moral duty, but a loving response to the evangelical call to see Christ in others. Luisa embodied this principle through her work of direct assistance to orphans, the sick and the elderly, establishing a model of charity that she continues to inspire to this day. The collaboration between Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul marked a turning point in the history of Catholic social work, merging spirituality with practical action in a way that was revolutionary for its time. Together, they created a community dedicated not only to the physical care of those in need, but also to their spiritual and emotional well-being, recognizing that true healing requires attention to all dimensions of the person. Luisa’s innovative approach to serving the poor is also evident in the formation of the Daughters of Charity. Unlike the female religious congregations of her time, the Daughters of Charity were not cloistered nuns, but women active in the community, directly involved in field work. This vision paved the way for a new understanding of the role of women in the Church and in society, underlining that the vocation to service can be lived in many ways. Furthermore, the life of Saint Louise de Marillac reminds us of the importance of personal and spiritual formation in the Christian mission. Her deep prayer life and constant pursuit of spiritual growth fueled her ability to serve with compassion and effectiveness. Luisa teaches that to nourish others, we must first nourish our relationship with God, finding in our faith the strength and inspiration to face the challenges of service. Saint Louise de Marillac is a model of active holiness, showing how dedication to God is expressed powerfully through commitment to others. Her legacy is an invitation to recognize that we are all called to serve Christ in our brothers and sisters in need, and that in this service we can find our deepest fulfillment and the true expression of our Christian faith.

The Saint and Mercy

Saint Louise de Marillac, co-founder of the Daughters of Charity together with Saint Vincent de Paul, is a shining example of how mercy can be lived and embodied in everyday life. Her dedication to the poorest and most vulnerable in society was not simply a charitable action; it was the deepest expression of her faith and her love for God. Through her work, Luisa demonstrated that mercy is not an abstract concept, but an active principle that motivates concrete actions of love and service. St. Louise’s life was marked by a deep understanding of human suffering and a tireless commitment to responding to this suffering with compassion and practical help. Her vision of mercy was rooted in the knowledge that every person is precious in the eyes of God and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This belief guided her daily work, which focused on providing material and spiritual assistance to those who needed it most. Luisa’s approach to serving the poor was characterized by a tenderness and care that went beyond simple duty. She saw her work not only as a means to alleviate material poverty, but also as an opportunity to share God’s love and to witness the hope that comes from faith. This perspective transformed every act of assistance into an act of mercy, which reflected the goodness and providence of God. Furthermore, the collaboration of Saint Louise with Saint Vincent de Paul in founding the Daughters of Charity represents a fundamental chapter in the history of the Church , demonstrating how mercy can become the driving force of a movement that seeks to transform society. Together, they created a community that lived mercy as a vocation, dedicating their lives to the service of others in a spirit of humility and sharing. Saint Louise de Marillac teaches us that mercy is a call to see the face of Christ in every person, especially in those that the world forgets or neglects. Her legacy is a powerful reminder that we are all called to be instruments of God’s mercy, bringing light into darkness and hope into despair. Her life is an invitation to each of us to reflect on how we can more fully experience mercy in our context, recognizing that small gestures of love and care can have a profound impact on the world around us. Saint Louise de Marillac remains an inspiring model of lived mercy, reminding us that the heart of our Christian faith lies in serving others with love, compassion and dedication. Her story challenges us to turn mercy into action, following in the footsteps of Christ with courage and unconditional love.

The Congregation of the Daughters of Charity

The Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, founded in the 17th century by Saint Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul, represents a fundamental chapter in the history of Christian charity. This congregation was born from a deep desire to respond to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, embodying the essence of evangelical mercy through dedicated service and unconditional love. The Daughters of Charity have carried out a silent revolution in the way of living the consecrated life, leaving the convents to directly meet people in their environment, thus bearing witness to the Gospel not only with words but with tangible actions of love and support. The innovation brought by Saint Louise de Marillac and Saint Vincent de Paul in the foundation of the Daughters of Charity lies in their vision of an active and engaged religious life in the world. They understood that the call to follow Christ implied a direct commitment to society, serving Christ in the poor and the sick. This approach marked a turning point in the conception of religious life, laying the foundations for a new way of being nuns, deeply rooted in the daily lives of the people they sought to serve. The Daughters of Charity stood out for their commitment to providing education, healthcare and social support to those who needed it most, often in contexts of great poverty and abandonment. Their work has extended far beyond the borders of France, reaching those in need around the world and adapting their service to the specific needs of each community. This flexibility and openness to the needs of the moment have been fundamental in allowing the congregation to respond effectively to social changes and the new challenges of poverty and marginality. The spirituality of the Daughters of Charity is deeply anchored in the belief that service to others is a direct expression of one’s devotion to God. This approach has allowed the nuns to see the face of Christ in each individual assisted, transforming every act of care into a moment of spiritual encounter. Their dedication to service, free from any search for recognition or earthly reward, is a powerful witness to the selfless love that should characterize every Christian. The Congregation of the Daughters of Charity continues to be a beacon of hope and mercy in a world often marked by inequalities and suffering. Their story and their work remind us that the call to holiness is realized in joyful and generous service towards others, especially towards those who are excluded and forgotten. The legacy of Saint Louise de Marillac and the Daughters of Charity is an invitation for all of us to live our faith in an active and concrete way, always seeking to embody God’s mercy in our daily journey.

Hagiography

Although born on August 12, 1591, it can be said that Louise of Marillac is a Saint of today and for today. Coming from a wealthy family, from childhood she attended the studies proper to her age and became adept at performing household chores. In her youth she tried her first religious experience: she wanted to join the Capuchin Sisters, but the idea was not followed up mainly for health reasons. At the age of twenty-two, her father having died and already motherless, she married Anthony Le Gras, an honest man and…

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Source and Images

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