St Louise de Marillac

Louise de Marillac was born probably at Ferrieres-en-Brie near Meux, France, on 12th August 1591. 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 Antony’s death in 1625, she met St. Vincent de Paul, who became her spiritual adviser. She devoted the rest of her life to working with him in the service of vulnerable people. She helped direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected. In 1633 she set up a training centre, of which she was Directress in her own home, for candidates seeking to help in her work. This was the beginning of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. She travelled all over France establishing her Sisters in parishes, hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions. By the time of her death in Paris on March 15, the Daughters of Charity 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 was declared Patroness of Social Workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960. Her feast day is 15th March.

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