St. Louise de Marillac

March 15


 Born probably at Ferrieres-en-Brie near Meux, France, on August 12, she was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy. She desired to become a nun but on the advice of her confessor, she married Antony Le Gras, an official in the Queen's service, in 1613. After his death in 1625, she met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual adviser, and she devoted the rest of her life to working with him, helping to direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected, and in 1633 she set up a training center, of which she was directess, in her own home for candidates seeking to help in the work. This was the beginning of the Sisters (or Daughters, as Vincent preferred) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though it was not formally approved until 1655). She took her vows in 1634 and attracted great numbers of candidates, wrote a rule for the community, and in 1642, Vincent allowed four of the members to take vows. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Mission, with Louise superior. She traveled all over France establishing her Sisters in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions, and by the time of her death in Paris on March 15, the congregation had more than forty houses in France. Since then they have spread all over the world. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and is the patron of social workers.



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