Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saint Louise de Marillac

Louise was born on August 15, 1591, in France. She had always wanted to be a religious but because of her poor health, many of the orders would not let her join. She married Antony Le Gras in 1611, an official to the queen. Her husband died thirteen years after their marriage, leaving Louise with a son.

Saint Vincent de Paul was her confessor. He organized groups of men and women to help the poor and the sick in each parish, and from them, with the help of Louise started the Daughters of Charity dedicated to the bodily and spiritual service of the poor.

Ten years later, the Sisters of Charity was approved by the Church. Louise took her vows in that order and served as its superior.

Saint Vincent said that the chapel of the Sisters is the parish church, their cloister the streets of the city and the wards of the hospitals.

Louise was a woman of great courage, and remarkable self-sacrifice in spite of her feeble health. She was most willing to humble herself in doing works of charity. She was always motherly in dealing with the Sisters as well as the poor and the sick.

In her last days she said to her grieving Sisters: "Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honor them, my children, as you would honor Christ Himself." She died on March 15, 1660.

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