Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Louise de Marillac


St. Louise de Marrillac married an official of the royal court, Antony Le Gras, and after his death in 1625 was an active supporter of the charitable work of St Vincent de Paul, who came to put more and more reliance on her. Mademoiselle Le Gras, as she was known, became the co-founder with him of the Daughters of Charity, whose 'convent is the sick-room, their chapel the parish church, their cloister the city streets'; it was she who drew up the first draft of their rule of life. Her clear intelligence and wide sympathy played a big part in the beginnings of the congregation, whose aspirants she trained and whose rapid growth involved responsibilities which largely fell on her. At the time of her death there were already over forty houses of the sisters in France, the sick poor were looked after at home in twenty-six Parisian parishes, hundreds of women were given shelter, and there were other undertakings as well. St Louise was not physically robust, but she had great powers of endurance, and her selfless devotion was a source of incalculable help and encouragement to Monsieur Vincent.
— Dictionary of Saints by Donald Attwater.
Patron: Disappointing children, widows, loss of parents, sick people, social workers, Vincentian Service Corps, people rejected by religious orders.
Symbols: Saint Louise is depicted wearing the original Vincentian habit of grey wool with a large headdress of white linen (typical of poor women in 17th century Brittany), perhaps with an infant in her arms.

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