Louise de Marillac was born on 12th August 1591, probably in Paris. Her marriage on 5th February 1613 to Antoine Le Gras, ended prematurely with his death on 21st December 1625, and she was left with their only child, Michel. In 1624 she had taken Vincent de Paul as her spiritual director, and it was under his guidance that she gave herself, after Antoine’s death, to the service of the poor and the visitation of the Confraternities of Charity. Together on 29th November 1633, they founded the Company of the Daughters of Charity, and thereafter the care and training of the Sisters became Louise’s life work.
Louise died on 15th March 1660, and was canonised on 11th March 1934. On 10th February 1960, Pope John XXIII proclaimed her as the patron saint of all Christian social workers.
She was a wife, mother, teacher, nurse, social worker and co-founder of the Daughters of Charity. She was an organiser, a radical thinker who lived her life intensely and enthusiastically. Louise herself knew suffering and through a life of deep faith she was able to find and treasure Jesus Christ in the broken spirits and bodies of the destitute people she served.
Friendship with St Vincent de Paul
Vincent and Louise worked together as a team. Vincent provided the original vision of service of poor people, a vision shaped by the love of Jesus Christ. Louise helped transform that vision into reality. They have inspired thousands of people through the ages to offer a caring compassionate face in Christian ministry. Today countless individuals and groups all over the world continue to be influenced by their example and spirit.
If you would like to read more about these two wonderful saints visit our international site: www.filles-de-la-charite.org