jeudi 15 mars 2012

Sainte LOUISE de MARILLAC, fondatrice


Vitrail, église Saint-Laurent, Paris

Sainte Louise de Marillac

Fondatrice des Filles de la Charité (+1660)
Louise est la nièce du chancelier royal Michel de Marillac et du maréchal Louis de Marillac, arrêtés tous deux et condamnés à mort par Richelieu après la "Journée des Dupes" du 10 novembre 1630. Fille naturelle d'un grand seigneur, elle est élevée par les religieuses dominicaines de Poissy. En 1613, mariée à un simple bourgeois, elle devient Mademoiselle Le Gras. Son fils Michel lui donnera beaucoup de soucis. A 34 ans, elle se retrouve veuve. C'est alors qu'elle rencontre saint Vincent de PaulSubjuguée par la charité contagieuse du prêtre, elle devient rapidement sa collaboratrice dans toutes ses actions charitables. En 1633, ils fondent ensemble la "Compagnie des Filles de la Charité", appelée communément Sœurs de Saint Vincent de Paul. Louise, supérieure de la nouvelle communauté, oriente les sœurs vers tous les exclus de son temps : elle crée des petites écoles pour les fillettes pauvres; elle organise l'accueil et l'éducation des enfants trouvés; elle développe la visite à domicile pour les malades pauvres; elle envoie des sœurs auprès des galériens... Une passion l'habite: l'amour de l'homme créé à l'image de Dieu et racheté par le sang de son Fils unique. Comme Monsieur Vincent, elle mourra à la tâche. Son corps repose à Paris au 140 rue du Bac.

Elle a été béatifiée en 1920, canonisée par Pie XI en 1934; en 1960, Jean XXIII la déclare patronne de tous les travailleurs sociaux chrétiens.

Vidéo chronique des saints sur la webTV de la CEF.

- Rendant hommage à sainte Louise de Marillac, 'à qui Monsieur Vincent confia l'animation et la coordination des Charités', le Pape appelle à redécouvrir 'cette finesse et cette délicatesse de la miséricorde qui ne blesse jamais ni n'humilie personne mais qui relève, redonne courage et espérance'. (le 15 mars 2017, Le Pape encourage une 'culture de la miséricorde' à la suite de saint Vincent de Paul)
- Louise de Marillac (1591-1660)

Durant de longues années, Louise de Marillac est une femme habitée par l'anxiété, la culpabilité. Du fait de sa naissance illégitime, hors mariage, elle est rejetée par sa famille, placée dans des institutions...
Figures de sainteté - site de l'Eglise catholique en France

À Paris, en 1660, sainte Louise de Marillac, veuve, qui sans négliger l'éducation de son fils, fonda les Filles de la Charité, sous la direction de saint Vincent de Paul, et forma par son exemple ses compagnes au soin des malades, à l'instruction religieuse des enfants pauvres, mais surtout à la prière et à la confiance dans le Seigneur.
Martyrologe romain



Vitrail, Santa Luisa, Cathédrale Lima Miraflores,  Miraflores/Lima, Peru.

Sainte Louise de Marillac

Louise est la nièce du chancelier Michel de Marillac et du maréchal Louis de Marillac, arrêtés tous deux et condamnés à mort par Richelieu après la "Journée des Dupes" du 10 novembre 1630. Fille naturelle d'un grand seigneur, elle est élevée par les religieuses dominicaines de Poissy. En 1613, mariée à un simple bourgeois, elle devient Mademoiselle Le Gras. Son fils Michel lui donnera beaucoup de soucis. A 34 ans, elle se retrouve veuve. C'est alors qu'elle rencontre saint Vincent de Paul. Subjuguée par la charité contagieuse du prêtre, elle devient rapidement sa collaboratrice dans toutes ses actions charitables. En 1633, ils fondent ensemble la "Compagnie des Filles de la Charité", appelée communément Sœurs de Saint Vincent de Paul. Louise, supérieure de la nouvelle communauté, oriente les sœurs vers tous les exclus de son temps : elle crée des petites écoles pour les fillettes pauvres; elle organise l'accueil et l'éducation des enfants trouvés; elle développe la visite à domicile pour les malades pauvres; elle envoie des sœurs auprès des galériens... Une passion l'habite : l'amour de l'homme créé à l'image de Dieu et racheté par le sang de son Fils unique. Comme Monsieur Vincent, elle mourra à la tâche, en 1660.

SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/03/15/13751/-/sainte-louise-de-marillac


Giovanni Pandiani, "Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac" (1858/1860). Relief in Saint Vincent's chapel in the church of San Carlo al Corso church in Milan. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, June 22 2007.


SAINTE LOUISE de MARILLAC

Louise de Marillac perdit sa mère dès sa première enfance et son père à l'âge de treize ans. Son attrait pour la piété et la pénitence la portait vers la vie cloîtrée des Clarisses. Mais la faiblesse de sa santé la retint dans le monde. Son isolement et les instances de sa famille l'engagèrent dans les liens du mariage.

Devenue veuve au bout de quelques années, elle put enfin suivre entièrement les aspirations à la vie d'oraison, d'austérité, et de dévouement qui ne l'avaient jamais quittée.

Sous la direction de saint Vincent de Paul, elle fut chargée d'abord de visiter, d'activer et de multiplier les Confréries de Charité qu'il avait établies à Paris et aux alentours. Mais l'action passagère de ces Confréries ne suffisait pas à guérir des misères continuelles.

Louise de Marillac, de concert avec son sage et zélé directeur, s'adjoignit donc quelques filles dévouées qui se consacrèrent entièrement au service des pauvres et des malades, ainsi qu'à l'instruction chrétienne de l'enfance.

C'était le grain de sénevé qui deviendrait un grand arbre, sous le nom de Compagnie des Filles de la Charité, et qui étendrait ses rameaux sur toutes les misères humaines. Aussi le saint directeur disait-il un jour à Louise de Marillac et à ses filles: "Courage, mes filles, si vous êtes fidèles à Dieu, Il vous fera la grâce de faire de grandes choses dont on n'a jamais ouï parler. Ne le voyez-vous pas déjà? Avait-on jamais entendu dire que des filles allassent servir de pauvres criminels? Avait-on vu des filles se donner au service des pauvres enfants abandonnés? A-t-on jamais ouï dire que des filles se soient données à Dieu pour servir des fous...? Avez-vous jamais ouï dire, écrivait-il un autre jour à Louise de Marillac, que des filles aient été aux armées pour soigner les blessés ?"

Toutes ces oeuvres extérieures de charité, inouïes jusqu'alors, ne pouvaient procéder que d'une intense charité intérieure, comme cette charité elle-même ne pouvait naître que d'une foi extraordinairement vive chez Louise de Marillac. C'est là, en effet, ce qui soutenait ses forces corporelles, toujours chancelantes.
Aussi le Pape Pie XI déclarait-il, en proclamant les miracles de notre sainte, que les plus grands de tous étaient ceux de sa vie, de ses oeuvres, et de sa postérité, composée aujourd'hui de quarante mille religieuses.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.




Sainte Louise de Marillac

Fondatrice des filles de la Charité

(+ 1660)

Lettre à Saint Vincent de Paul

Le petit chapelet est la dévotion que j’ai demandé la permission à votre charité de faire, il y a trois ans et que je fais en mon particulier. J’ai dans une petite cassette quantité de ces petits chapelets, avec les pensées écrites sur ce sujet, pour laisser à toutes nos sœurs après ma mort, si votre charité le permet ; pas une ne le sait. C’est pour honorer la vie cachée de Notre-Seigneur dans l’état d’emprisonnement aux entrailles de la Sainte Vierge, et la congratuler de son bonheur durant ces neuf mois, et les trois petits grains pour la saluer de ses beaux titres de Fille du Père, Mère du Fils, Epouse du Saint-Esprit. Voilà le principal de cette dévotion que, par la grâce de Dieu, très indigne que je suis, je n’ai point discontinuée, depuis le temps marqué, et que j’espère quitter, aidée de la même grâce de Dieu, si votre charité me l’ordonne. Et ce petit exercice, en mon intention, est pour demander à Dieu, par l’Incarnation de son Fils et les prières de la Sainte Vierge, la pureté nécessaire à la Compagnie des sœurs de la Charité et la fermeté d’icelle Compagnie selon son bon plaisir.

Sainte Louise de Marillac

Sainte Louise de Marillac, nièce du chancelier Michel de Marillac[1] et du maréchal Louis de Marillac[2], naquit le 12 août 1591, à Ferrières-en-Brie[3] où elle fut baptisée avant que son père dont elle était la fille naturelle[4], ne s'installât à Paris. Après que son père se fut remarié[5], avec Antoinette La Camus[6] (12 janvier 1595), elle fut mise quelques temps en pension chez les Dominicaines du monastère royal Saint-Louis de Poissy où Louis de Marillac avait une tante religieuse[7] (1602) ; elle fut ensuite confiée à un petit pensionnat, chez une bonne fille dévote, avec d’autres demoiselles, où elle fut initiée aux travaux ménagers et à la peinture. Une des premières Filles de la Charité rapporta que Louise de Marillac lui avait dit que : « La maîtresse étant pauvre, elle lui proposa de prendre de l’ouvrage des marchands, et travaillait pour elle, encourageant ses compagnes à en faire autant. Elle se chargeait même des bas ouvrages de la maison, comme serrer le bois et s’acquitter de tâches ménagères confiées d’ordinaire aux domestiques. »

Après la mort de son père (25 juillet 1604), Louise de Marillac avait songé à devenir capucine[8], mais elle fut refusée par le provincial des Capucins, Honoré de Champigny. Le 6 février 1613, on lui fit épouser, à la paroisse Saint-Gervais de Paris, un secrétaire des commandements de Marie de Médicis, Antoine Le Gras[9], écuyer, homme de bonne vie, fort craignant Dieu et exact à se rendre irréprochable, dont, le 18 octobre 1613, lui naîtra un fils, Pierre-Antoine, qu'elle élèvera, à partir de 1619, avec les sept enfants d'une de ses cousines défunte[10].

Mélancolique, inquiète et scrupuleuse, Louise de Marillac était sans cesse agitée par le doute sur elle-même que Jean-Pierre Camus, son directeur spirituel, même aidé de saint François de Sales qui la visita chez elle, avait beaucoup de mal à apaiser. Son angoisse grandit encore lorsque son mari tomba malade d’un mal que l’on jugeait incurable et dont elle se croyait la cause pour n’être pas entrée en religion. Le jour de la Pentecôte (4 juin 1623), elle était à la messe, à Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, lorsque, en un instant, elle fut libérée de ses doutes : « Je fus avertie que je devais demeurer avec mon mari et qu’un temps viendrait où je serai en état de faire vœu de pauvreté, chasteté et obéissance, et que ce serait avec des personnes dont quelques-unes feraient le semblable. Je fus encore assurée que je devais demeurer en repos pour mon directeur, et que Dieu m’en donnerait un qu’il me fit voir alors, ce me semble, et je sentis répugnance de l’accepter. Nénmoins, j’acquiesçai, mais il me sembla que ce n’était pas pour devoir faire encore ce changement. Ma troisième peine me fut ôtée par l’assurance que je sentis en mon esprit que c’était Dieu qui m’enseignait ce que je venais de comprendre. puisqu’il y avait un Dieu, je ne devais pas douter du reste. » Jean-Pierre Camus était absent, il n’y avait guère d’apparence qu’il revînt de sitôt, il lui conseilla de passer sous la direction de Vincent de Paul, celui-là même que Dieu lui avait fait voir et pour qui elle sentait de la répugnance. Vers la fin de 1624, elle se mit sous la direction de saint Vincent de Paul qui s’était fait longtemps prier pour accepter[11]. Après la mort de son mari (21 décembre 1625), elle fit vœu de viduité et mena dans le monde une vie toute religieuse où elle conjuguait, avec un règlement très strict, la prière et le secours des pauvres, sans cesser d'être attentive à l'éducation de son fils. Elle s’installa rue Saint-Victor, tout près du collège des Bons-Enfants que Mme. de Gondi venait de donner à Vincent de Paul qui l’employait dans les Charités, ces groupements de dames et de filles pour l’assistance des malades dans les paroisses et les visites à domicile. En 1628, lorsque son fils fut entré au séminaire Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, elle disposa de davantage de temps pour se consacrer aux œuvres et Vincent de Paul la chargea de surveiller les Charités[12], de modifier leur règlement et de visiter celles des provinces. Elle n’eut aucun mal à persuader Vincent de Paul que les Dames associées ne pouvaient rendre aux malades les services pénibles qu’exigeait leur état, et qu’il fallait songer à réunir des personnes zélées pour se dévouer entièrement à l’œuvre sans autres devoirs et préoccupations au dehors. C’est ainsi que naquirent les Filles de la Charité.

Jusqu'à sa mort (15 mars 1660), elle gouverna les Filles de la Charité[13] pour qui elle rédigea trois règlements successifs. La cause de Louise de Marillac fut introduite sous Léon XIII (18 juin 1896) et l’héroïcité de ses vertus fut proclamée sous Pie X (1911) ; elle fut béatifiée par Benoît XV (9 mai 1920) et canonisée par Pie XI (11 mars 1934) ; Jean XXIII la proclama patronne de tous ceux qui s'adonnent aux œuvres sociales chrétiennes (1960).

[1] Frère de son père.

[2] Demi-frère de son père.

[3]Gobillon, premier biographe de Louise de Marillac, dit qu’el¬le naquit à Paris, mais le curé de Ferrières-en-Brie, en dres¬sant son acte de Baptême écrivit qu’elle naquit à Ferrières-en-Brie.

[4] Nul ne sait qui fut sa mère dont aucun acte ne donne le nom.

[5] Louis de Marillac, coseigneur de Ferrières-en-Brie, puis de Farinvilliers, enseigne d’une compagnie de gendarmes aux ordonnances du roi, avait épousé, en premières noces (1584), Marie de la Rozière qui mourut en 1588 ou 1589, sans lui avoir donné d’enfant.

[6] Le mariage fut célébré à l’église parisienne de Saint-Paul ; Antoinette Le Camus, veuve de Louis Thiboust, était mère de trois garçons et d’une fille ; elle était la tante du fameux Jean-Pierre Camus, futur évêque de Belley et ami de saint François de Sales dont il répandit les œuvres. Du mariage de Louis de Marillac et d’Antoinette Le Camus, naquit Innocente (17 décembre 1601).

[7] Cette cousine, aussi nommé Louise de Marillac, était une religieuse pieuse et cultivée qui avait traduit en vers français l’Office de la Sainte Vierge et les sept psaumes de la Pénitence ; elle vait aussi composé des méditations sur toutes les fêtes de l’année et un commentaire du Cantique des cantiques.

[8] Le 2 août 1606, la duchesse de Mercœur établit un cou¬vent de Capucines au faubourg Saint-Honoré : les Filles de la Passion.

[9] Antoine Le Gras n’étant pas noble, Louise de Marillac ne portera pas le titre de Madame, mais, comme une bourgeoise de ces temps-là, sera toujours appelée Mademoiselle.

[10] Valence, sœur du maréchal de Marillac et demi-sœur du père de Louise de Marillac, avait épousé Octavien Doni d’Attichy, surintendant des Finances de Marie de Médicis, qui mourut en 1614. Valence mourut en 1617.

[11] Tâchez à vivre contente parmi vos sujets de mécontentement et honorez toujours le non-faire et l'état inconnu du Fils de Dieu. C'est là votre centre et ce qu'il demande de vous pour le présent et pour l'avenir, pour toujours. Si sa divine Majesté ne vous fait connaître, de la manière qui ne peut tromper, qu'il veut quelque autre chose de vous, ne pensez point et n'occupez point votre esprit en cette chose-là (Lettre de saint Vincent de Paul à Louise de Marillac). Au nom de Dieu, Mademoiselle, corrigez cette faute et apprenez une fois pour toutes que les pensées amères procèdent du démon, les douces et aimables de Notre-Seigneur là (Lettre de saint Vincent de Paul à Louise de Marillac).

[12] Fondées le 8 décembre 1617.

[13] Louise de Marillac réunit chez elle (au n° 21 de l’actuelle rue Monge) une douzaine de bonne filles de village (29 novembre 1633).

SOURCE : http://missel.free.fr/Sanctoral/03/15.php


Sainte Louise de Marillac

Chaque fois que vous l’avez fait à l’un de ces petits, qui sont mes frères, c’est à moi que vous l’avez fait.

(Mt 25, 40)

Ce n’est pas assez d’aller et de donner, mais il faut un cœur épuré de tout intérêt, (…) il nous faut avoir, continuellement devant les yeux notre modèle, qui est la vie exemplaire de Jésus-Christ à l’imitation de laquelle nous sommes appelées, non seulement comme chrétiennes, (…) pour le servir en la personne des pauvres.

(Sainte Louise, L.217)

Louise de Marillac est née au XVIème siècle. Pourtant, sa vie nous rejoint dans nos préoccupations les plus quotidiennes. Au milieu des vicissitudes de sa vie, elle a ouvert progressivement son cœur à la lumière de Dieu.

1591, 12 août naissance de Louise

1604, 25 juillet mort de son père

1613, 5 février mariage avec Antoine Legras

1613, 18 octobre naissance de Michel Legras

1623, 4 juin « Lumière » en l’Eglise Saint Nicolas des Champs à Paris

1625, 21 décembre mort de son mari ; premiers entretiens avec Vincent de Paul

1629 début des visites de Confréries de la Charité

1630 venue à Paris de Marguerite Naseau ; première fille travaillant pour les Confréries de la Charité

1633, février mort de Marguerite Naseau

1633, 29 novembre fondation de la Compagnie des Filles de la Charité

1638 commencement de l’œuvre des Enfants Trouvés

1650, 18 janvier mariage de son Fils, Michel

1651 naissance de Louise-Renée, petite fille de Louise de Marillac

1652 fondation des Filles de la Charité en Pologne ; recrudescence des troubles de la Fronde ; a Paris, soupes populaires, accueil des réfugiés

1653 – 1658 envoi de Filles de la Charité sur les champs de bataille

1660 15 mars, mort de Louise de Marillac

1920 béatification par le Pape Benoît XV

1934 canonisation par le Pape Pie XI

1960 déclarée patronne des œuvres sociales chrétiennes

15 mars le jour de sa fête

Louise de Marillac est née le 12 août 1591 dans une famille de la noblesse. Plusieurs membres de cette famille ont des postes importants auprès du roi Louis XIII. Son oncle Michel connaît une forte ascension, il devient Garde des sceaux en 1629. Il est à la base de la journée des Dupes de novembre 1630, qui avait pour objectif de chasser le premier ministre Richelieu. La tentative échoue, Michel est arrêté et finit sa vie emprisonné au château de Châteaudun. Il meurt en1632.

Louise est née de mère inconnue. Son père était veuf à sa naissance. Il se remarie quand elle a trois ans. Elle est confiée très tôt aux religieuses dominicaines du Monastère royal de Poissy, où sont élevés d’autres enfants. L’enseignement dispensé lui offre une solide éducation intellectuelle et religieuse. A la mort de son père, elle a 13 ans et son oncle Michel devient son tuteur. Il lui fait quitter Poissy et elle rejoint une pension pour jeunes filles. Elle y apprend la vie simple et pauvre. C’est pour elle un lieu de formation aux tâches domestiques.

A 15 ans, elle rêve de devenir religieuse dans un ordre austère, les Capucines. Le Père, directeur spirituel du couvent, la refuse à cause de sa santé trop délicate. Louise est vivement déçue mais se soumet à cette décision. Plus tard, elle obéit aussi à sa famille qui lui présente Antoine Legras, simple écuyer, un des secrétaires des Commandements de la Reine. Le mariage a lieu en 1613, elle a 22 ans et porte maintenant, le nom de Melle Legras, le titre de madame étant réservé à la noblesse. Elle devient maman dans l’année d’un petit Michel. Elle s’épanouit dans son mariage et vit heureuse jusqu’en 1622, année où son mari tombe malade, son caractère s’aigrit. Louise se culpabilise : elle n’a pas respecté sa promesse faite à Dieu, de devenir religieuse et voici que son mari Antoine est malade, n’est-ce pas sa faute ? Elle traverse une période de dépression. Elle est angoissée et envahie par des doutes au sujet de sa foi. Elle a envie de tout quitter. En 1623, à la fête de la Pentecôte, Dieu illumine son cœur, ses doutes disparaissent. Elle comprend que sa place est auprès de son époux, que Dieu est présent auprès d’elle et de son mari. Elle réalise qu’elle pourra un jour vivre en communauté au service du prochain, « allant et venant », expression incompréhensible, dans un temps où les religieuses sont toutes cloîtrées.

Louise entoure son mari de tous ses soins jusqu’à sa mort en décembre 1625. Veuve, les moyens financiers lui manquent, elle doit déménager. Près de son nouveau logement habite M. Vincent de Paul. Il devient son accompagnateur spirituel. L’un et l’autre ne sont pas très enthousiastes de se rencontrer, tant leurs personnalités les éloignent, du moins en apparence ! Ils apprennent à se connaître et Vincent aidera Louise à réaliser sa vocation. Il lui propose de visiter les « Confrérie de la charité » pour encourager les Dames dans leurs services auprès des plus pauvres. Louise va sortir d’elle-même et va prendre conscience des réalités vécues par les pauvres. Elle découvre les difficultés pour les Dames de se mettre au service de ces personnes, elles ne peuvent effectuer elles-mêmes toutes les humbles tâches.

Vers 1630, une simple paysanne, Marguerite Naseau, propose ses services pour aider les Dames. D’autres paysannes arrivent à sa suite. Vincent confie à Louise la formation pratique et spirituelle de ces jeunes femmes. Louise s’interroge et discerne progressivement que ces filles pourraient s’assembler en une confrérie. Vincent, au début, ne comprends pas Louise. Après un long temps de réflexion et de prière, la Compagnie des Filles de la Charité naît le 29 novembre 1633.

Plusieurs communautés de Filles de la Charité sont fondées autour de Paris, et progressivement, elles s’éloignent de la capitale…En 1638, des sœurs partent pour la Touraine à Richelieu. Suivent de nombreuses implantations en France. Les sœurs se mettent au service des plus pauvres : les malades à domicile ou dans les hôpitaux, les enfants abandonnés, les élevant et assurant leur éducation dans de petites écoles, les blessés de guerre, les galériens…Louise a le souci de la formation humaine et spirituelle des sœurs. Chacune apprend les meilleures techniques de son temps dans les domaines des soins et de l’éducation, pour les transmettre aux personnes les plus défavorisées. Chacune approfondit sa relation à Dieu, en reconnaissant dans les pauvres qu’elles servent, le visage de Jésus-Christ. Les sœurs vivent ensemble en petites communautés. L’objectif est de les former pour qu’elles deviennent autonomes et subviennent elles mêmes, à leurs besoins.

Les graves troubles de la Fronde qui atteignent la France de 1644 à1649 entraînent de très nombreuses pauvretés : famine, maladie, violence. Louise et Vincent envoient des Filles de la charité sur tous les fronts. Les sœurs se déplacent de village en village pour secourir et encourager les habitants. Cette mobilité est une grande nouveauté dans une époque où les femmes consacrées restent dans leur monastère.

Cette communauté naissante traverse une crise dans les années 1644-1649. Des sœurs quittent la Compagnie (le service des pauvres est jugé trop difficile, la vie communautaire trop exigeante, des sœurs perdent le goût de la prière), des projets se soldent par des échecs. De plus Louise est inquiète pour son fils, qui ne sait pas ce qu’il veut faire dans sa vie. Prêtrise ? Mariage ? Son avenir semble confus…Louise pense avoir failli à son éducation et la culpabilité la reprend. Avec l’aide de M. Vincent, elle va traverser cette crise et retrouver la paix en 1650. Son fils se marie la même année. Louise devient grand-mère l’année suivante.

Louise suit le chemin du Christ qu’elle aime tant, le Seigneur de Charité qui s’est fait homme pour donner la vie aux hommes. Elle se fait proche des plus pauvres et de ses sœurs, avec attention, douceur, cordialité, compassion. Elle sait s’adapter à chacun pour leur donner la force de trouver à leur tour le chemin de la relation au Christ.

Louise et Vincent n’ont eu de cesse de soulager la misère des plus pauvres pour l’amour de Jésus-Christ. Louise a collaboré intensément avec Vincent pour que la Compagnie des Filles de la Charité reste une communauté « allant et venant », permettant aux sœurs de rejoindre les plus pauvres là où ils vivent.

Ils ont des personnalités très différentes. Au cours des trente cinq années de travail en commun, ils apprennent à apprécier, non sans période de tension, ce qui les distingue et ce qui les rapproche. Une profonde amitié naît avec le temps, où chacun respecte le caractère unique de l’autre. Ils mettent leur énergie au service de l’œuvre qui les réunit : le service du Christ dans les pauvres.

Louise est morte le 15 mars 1660, quelques mois avant Vincent, entourée de sa famille et de ses sœurs. Les difficultés, les doutes et les angoisses ne l’ont pas épargnée. Dans sa fragilité, elle a accueilli la force de l’Esprit et a suivi le chemin du Christ prenant chair de notre chair et se faisant proche des hommes. Elle a répondu, à sa suite, aux besoins des plus pauvres, pour que chacun, retrouve sa dignité humaine et découvre qu’il est enfant de Dieu.

Aujourd’hui, la famille vincentienne s’inspire de la vie de cette femme qui s’est laissée habiter par la lumière de son Seigneur.

Pour aller plus loin :

Lectures :

Petite vie de Louise de Marillac, Elisabeth Charpy, Desclée de Brouwer, 1991

Spiritualité de Louise de Marillac, itinéraire d’une femme, Elisabeth Charpy, Desclée de Brouwer, 1995

Prier 15 jours avec Louise de Marillac, Elisabeth Charpy, Nouvelle Cité, 2006

Liens internet :

http://www.famvin.org/

http://stvincentimages.cdm.depaul.edu/default.aspx

SOURCE : http://filles-de-la-charite.org/fr/history/our-founders/francais-sainte-louise-de-marillac


Chapelle de la rue du Bac, Paris


Sainte Louise de Marillac

Fondatrice des filles de la Charité (✝ 1660)

Louise est la nièce du chancelier royal Michel de Marillac et du maréchal Louis de Marillac, arrêtés tous deux et condamnés à mort par Richelieu après la "Journée des Dupes" du 10 novembre 1630. Fille naturelle d'un grand seigneur, elle est élevée par les religieuses dominicaines de Poissy. En 1613, mariée à un simple bourgeois, elle devient Mademoiselle Le Gras. Son fils Michel lui donnera beaucoup de soucis. A 34 ans, elle se retrouve veuve. C'est alors qu'elle rencontre saint Vincent de Paul. Subjuguée par la charité contagieuse du prêtre, elle devient rapidement sa collaboratrice dans toutes ses actions charitables. En 1633, ils fondent ensemble la "Compagnie des Filles de la Charité", appelée communément Soeurs de Saint Vincent de Paul. Louise, supérieure de la nouvelle communauté, oriente les soeurs vers tous les exclus de son temps : elle crée des petites écoles pour les fillettes pauvres; elle organise l'accueil et l'éducation des enfants trouvés; elle développe la visite à domicile pour les malades pauvres; elle envoie des soeurs auprès des galériens... Une passion l'habite: l'amour de l'homme créé à l'image de Dieu et racheté par le sang de son Fils unique. Comme Monsieur Vincent, elle mourra à la tâche. Son corps repose à Paris au 140 rue du Bac.

Elle a été béatifiée en 1920, canonisée par Pie XI en 1934; en 1960, Jean XXIII la déclare patronne de tous les travailleurs sociaux chrétiens.

- Louise de Marillac (1591-1660)

Durant de longues années, Louise de Marillac est une femme habitée par l'anxiété, la culpabilité. Du fait de sa naissance illégitime, hors mariage, elle est rejetée par sa famille, placée dans des institutions...

À Paris, en 1660, sainte Louise de Marillac, veuve, qui sans négliger l’éducation de son fils, fonda les Filles de la Charité, sous la direction de saint Vincent de Paul, et forma par son exemple ses compagnes au soin des malades, à l’instruction religieuse des enfants pauvres, mais surtout à la prière et à la confiance dans le Seigneur.

Martyrologe romain

Sainte Louise de Marillac (1591-1660)

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/810/Sainte-Louise-de-Marillac.html



A travers ombres et lumières

Durant de longues années, Louise de Marillac est une femme habitée par l'anxiété, la culpabilité. Du fait de sa naissance illégitime, hors mariage, elle est rejetée par sa famille, placée dans des institutions : chez les religieuses Dominicaines de Poissy, puis dans un foyer pour jeunes filles à Paris. Louise n'a qu'un désir, s'enfermer dans un cloître, loin du monde et par la prière et les mortifications. « vaincre la justice de Dieu ». Mais son tuteur lui refuse l'entrée au monastère des religieuses Capucines, à cause de sa faible santé. Le mariage lui est imposé. Il est célébré le 5 février 1613. Elle devient Mademoiselle Le Gras. La découverte de l'amour humain et de la maternité l'apaise et lui procure un début de bien-être. La maladie de son mari vers 1622 ravive ses angoisses. Elle s'imagine que Dieu la punit pour n'avoir pas répondu à son appel d'être religieuse. De nouveau, longues prières, jeûnes, mortifications corporelles se multiplient en vain. Nuit de l'âme et état dépressif la plongent dans le noir. Une lumière le jour de la Pentecôte 1623 vient éclairer ses ténèbres. Elle perçoit un avenir dans une communauté où elle pourra se consacrer à Dieu, elle entrevoit son nouveau directeur spirituel et elle comprend surtout qu'elle doit rester près de son mari et son fils qu'elle voulait quitter pour retrouver la paix. Le 21 décembre 1625, elle devient veuve avec la charge d'un enfant de 12 ans. Assez désemparée, elle accepte la direction de Vincent de Paul malgré sa « répugnance » (terme employé par elle dans le récit de sa lumière de Pentecôte)

Au-delà de l'aspect maladif et tourmenté de cette femme, Vincent découvre peu à peu la richesse enfouie de cette personnalité. Il la conduit vers une relation à Dieu plus sereine, et surtout il l'oriente vers la rencontre du pauvre à travers l'œuvre des Confréries de la Charité.

Une profonde évolution s'amorce. Louise se décentre d'elle-même, son regard découvre plus pauvre qu'elle. Sa prière ne s'arrête plus sur un Dieu austère, lointain, mais découvre la personne de Jésus-Christ. Dieu a voulu faire connaître son amour de l'homme en envoyant son Fils sur terre. Elle admire la totale disponibilité et l'humilité de la Vierge Marie qui donne au Fils de Dieu son humanité. Elle réalise que Dieu a besoin des hommes et des femmes pour perpétuer son œuvre. Avec Vincent de Paul, elle ose proposer aux paysannes, femmes peu reconnues par la société dirigeante de l'époque, de vivre une vie religieuse, sans cloître, sans voile, vie consacrée au service des rejetés de la société.

La méditation de la vie de Jésus est soutien et orientation de ce service. Seul un « amour fort » de Dieu permet d'avoir un « amour suave », compatissant et doux, envers les pauvres. Toute relation aux pauvres que Jésus reconnait comme ses frères a besoin d'être empreinte d'un amour plein de tendresse et d'un vrai respect. L'un ne peut aller sans l'autre.

Louise n'hésite pas à regarder ce service comme une suite de l'œuvre rédemptrice du Christ. C'est une joie et une lourde responsabilité de « coopérer avec Dieu au salut du monde ». L'Eucharistie devient pour toutes les servantes des pauvres, source de vie. « Cette admirable invention incompréhensible aux sens humains » manifeste le fort désir de Jésus non seulement de demeurer présent, mais de partager son amour par une forte union. La communion est un moment inoubliable pour Louise.

Cependant Louise de Marillac reste une femme fragile. Elle connaît des périodes difficiles, notamment lorsque des Sœurs quittent la Compagnie. Elle s'avoue responsable de leur abandon. Il lui faudra du temps pour découvrir la miséricorde de Dieu envers elle, cette miséricorde qui pardonne au-delà de ce que l'homme peut espérer.

Après des années obscures, Louise a compris que seul l'amour de Dieu et du prochain pouvait guider sa vie. Elle peut maintenant aller sereinement à la rencontre de son Seigneur. De sa chambre de malade, Vincent de Paul lui envoie ce message. « Vous partez la première, j'espère, si Dieu m'en fait la grâce, vous rejoindre bientôt. » Louise meurt le 15 mars 1660, entourée de son fils avec sa femme et sa petite fille et de nombreuses Filles de la Charité.

Elisabeth Charpy, fille de la charité

Auteur du livre Prier quinze jours avec Louise de Marillac, Nouvelle Cité n° 105

SOURCE : http://www.eglise.catholique.fr/foi-et-vie-chretienne/la-vie-spirituelle/saintete-et-saints/saints/sainte-louise-de-marillac-1591-1660.html



Sainte Louise de Marillac (1591-1660)

Fête le 15 mars

Louise de Marillac est une parisienne née en 1591. Elle épouse Antoine Le Gras, à Saint-Gervais, en 1613. A Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, sa paroisse, elle reçoit à la Pentecôte 1623, une grâce de l’illumination spirituelle qui la libère de ses troubles de conscience. Puis, veuve, elle quitte son hôtel du Marais pour habiter rive gauche, sur la paroisse Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, à proximité du Collège des Bons-Enfants. C’est là qu’en 1633, avec l’assentiment de Monsieur Vincent, devenu son directeur de conscience, elle groupe, dans sa maison de la rue des Fossés-Saint-Victor (actuelle rue du Cardinal Lemoine), les premières Servantes des Pauvres - ou Filles de la Charité -, cheville ouvrière des Confréries de charité fondées par Monsieur Vincent au cours de ses missions. L’afflux des vocations impose le transfert de la communauté en 1636 au village de la Chapelle, puis en 1641 au faubourg Saint-Denis, et le 15 mars 1660 sur la paroisse Saint-Laurent.

Elle est canonisée par Pie XI en 1934 et Jean XXIII la déclare « patronne de tous ceux qui s’adonnent aux œuvres sociales chrétiennes » en 1960.

La fondation de Louise irrigue une capitale d’un demi million d’habitants. Elle a la charge du vétuste et énorme Hôtel-Dieu, puis dès sa création en 1657, de l’hôpital général de la Salpêtrière, qui reçoit le flot des pauvres que la Fronde a multiplié. Louise fonde également avec Monsieur Vincent, l’œuvre des Enfants Trouvés en 1638, installée plus tard dans le château de Bicêtre.

Chapelle de la Médaille Miraculeuse

140, rue du Bac, 7e arr. - M° Sèvres-Babylone

Depuis 1815, son corps repose rue du Bac, dans la chapelle où la Vierge apparut à sainte Catherine Labouré.

43, rue du Cardinal Lemoine

5e arr. - M° Cardinal Lemoine

Dans cette maison, Louise de Marillac s’installe avec cinq filles de la Charité. Ce fut l’embryon de la congrégation des Filles de la Charité. Elles y demeurent jusqu’en 1636, date à laquelle elles émigrent au village de La Chapelle.

Église Saint-Laurent

68, boulevard Magenta, 10e arr. - M° Gare de l’Est

Le corps de Louise de Marillac y est inhumé et y repose pendant quatre-vingt-cinq ans, comme le rappelle une inscription dans la chapelle Saint-François-de-Sales.

Église Saint-Nicolas des Champs

252 bis, rue Saint-Martin, 3e arr. - M° Arts et Métiers

C’est l’église paroissiale de sainte Louise de Marillac de 1623 à 1626 et c’est dans cette église, à la Pentecôte 1623, le 4 juin, qu’elle est délivrée de ses doutes et reçoit la grâce qui illumine son âme.

SOURCE : http://www.paris.catholique.fr/15-mars-Sainte-Louise-de-Marillac


Statue de sainte Louise de Marillac avec deux enfants, face à la chapelle qui lui est dédiée, quartier Bois-Luzy, Marseille 12e. Inscription sur le socle : "Sainte Louise de Marillac protégez Bois-Luzy"

Louise de Marillac, l’aristo devenue servante des « seigneurs de la rue »

Aliénor Goudet | 01 août 2020

Fondatrice des Filles de la Charité en 1633 au côté de saint Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac a apporté aux pauvres de Paris aide et espérance en se mettant à leur service. Découvrez son oeuvre à travers les yeux de l’un de ceux qu’elle appelait ses « seigneurs de la rue ». 

Paris, 1642. Il n’est pas bon d’être des gens de la rue en novembre, lorsque le froid commence à mordiller les pieds et les mains nus des clochards. Les passants se font moindres, et les aumônes, encore plus rares.
Comme chaque matin, Lucien s’éveille au son des cloches qui sonnent six heures, le ventre criant famine. Il se lève lentement de son lit de pierres glaciales et soupire. Il transforme sa médiocre couverture en manteau, place sa béquille usée sous son bras et se lance d’un pas aussi lourd que las. Il lui faut se rapprocher des grandes rues s’il veut avoir la chance de croiser une âme qui prendrait pitié de lui.
Mais en traversant les ruelles du faubourg Saint-Nicolas, il aperçoit d’autres personnes comme lui, et s’étonne. Non qu’y voir des pauvres soit inhabituel, mais en ce jour de froid mordant, ils devraient se déplacer vers les rues passantes ou les églises pour y faire la manche. Mais ils ne bougent pas. Comme s’ils attendaient.  

« Nous attendons Mademoiselle de Marillac et ses filles, lui répond-elle. C’est aujourd’hui ici qu’elles doivent passer. »

Curieux, Lucien s’approche d’une jeune femme vêtue de haillons, avec un visage pâlot mais les yeux pétillants malgré de grosses cernes. Gardant ses distances pour ne pas l’effrayer, il lui demande ce qu’elle attend. Pourquoi ne va-t-elle pas mendier ?
– Nous attendons Mademoiselle de Marillac et ses filles, lui répond-elle. C’est aujourd’hui ici qu’elles doivent passer.
– Qui sont-elles ?
– Celles que Dieu nous a envoyées. Elles ont promis de revenir.
Lucien s’esclaffe devant tant de naïveté. Cela fait bien dix, si ce n’est quinze ans, qu’il est à la rue. Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’il entend cette fausse promesse. Curé ou autre, personne ne la tient. C’est comme ces rumeurs sur ce prétendu monsieur Vincent qui porterait secours à tout miséreux. Quelles sottises !
– Elles viendront, insiste la jeune femme. Reste donc, boiteux, et tu verras.
Avant que Lucien n’ait le temps de réfléchir à cette offre étrange, des bruits de pas rapides se font entendre. L’instant d’après, jaillissant d’une ruelle menant aux grandes rues, un attroupement d’une quinzaine de bonnes femmes se répand dans la petite place. 

« L’une offre de l’eau à un homme sans bras, une autre lave le visage d’un aveugle, une troisième bande la plaie d’un enfant blessé. »

Toutes vêtues de gris, de lourds sabots aux pieds, elles se hâtent dans les ruelles sales et pauvres demeures des alentours. L’une offre de l’eau à un homme sans bras, une autre lave le visage d’un aveugle, une troisième bande la plaie d’un enfant blessé. Lucien observe, incapable de cligner des yeux, tant il croit rêver.  
Lire aussi :

Une des frangines s’approche alors de la jeune femme de tout à l’heure. Elle a une cinquantaine d’années et pourtant, ses yeux ont un éclat de jeunesse indéniable. Elle se tient droite avec une posture digne d’une grande dame, mais son regard ne fuit personne. 
– Marie, appelle-t-elle, voici trois pain chaud pour vos enfants, et des draps propres pour votre père. 
– Comment vous remercier encore, mademoiselle Louise? 
– Comme chaque fois, remerciez Dieu. 
Sans attendre une autre parole de gratitude, la frangine se tourne vers lui. Il tressaille lorsque ce regard perçant et pourtant si doux se pose sur lui, sans le moindre dégoût. 
– Je ne vous connais pas, dit-elle. D’où venez-vous?
– On m’appelle Lucien, répond-t-il, quelque peu intimidé. Je crèche au faubourg souffrant. 
– Très bien, monsieur Lucien. Nous y viendrons demain. 

« Une larme coule sur la joue de Lucien, alors qu’il contemple l’offrande de mademoiselle Louise de Marillac. Tant de bonté en un si court instant, est-ce possible ? »

Sur ces mots, elle lui tend un pain chaud. A peine l’eut-il saisit que la dame lui tourne le dos et s’enfonce dans les ruelles d’un pas toujours pressé, suivit de ses filles, sans demander son reste. Une autre atmosphère règne dans la petite place. Les miséreux sourient et partagent leur nourriture.  
Une larme coule sur la joue de Lucien, alors qu’il contemple l’offrande de mademoiselle Louise de Marillac. Tant de bonté en un si court instant, est-ce possible ? Sa main tremble, de peur que ceci ne soit qu’un rêve. Mais la jeune femme en haillons, lui sourit. 
– Ne crains plus rien et rentre chez toi. Demain, c’est toi qu’elles iront voir. 
Les cloches sonnent. C’est bientôt l’heure de la messe. Peut-être bien qu’il ira cette fois, puisque c’est Dieu qu’il faut remercier.
Mademoiselle de Marillac continuera d’oeuvrer pour ses « seigneurs de la rue » jusqu’à sa mort en 1660 et sera canonisée en 1934. La misère est présente partout dans le monde, autant aujourd’hui qu’au XVIIème siècle, mais la générosité et le dévouement de Louise de Marillac continuent d’inspirer et demeurent des valeurs nécessaires afin de servir autrui.       
Lire aussi :

SOURCE : https://fr.aleteia.org/2020/08/01/louise-de-marillac-laristo-devenue-servante-des-seigneurs-de-la-rue/?utm_campaign=NL_fr&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_fr


Saint Louise de Marillac


Also known as
  • Louise de Marillac Le Gras
  • Luisa….
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Though she considered a religious vocation from an early age, her ill health kept any house from taking her. She married Antony LeGras, an official to the queen, in 1611Widowed in 1625. Spiritual student of Saint Vincent de Paul. With Saint Vincent, she founded the Daughters of Charity in 1642, receiving Vatican approval in 1655. Founded the Sisters of Charity, took her vows in the order, and served as its superior until her death. Spiritual guide for groups of lay women.

Born




Sainte Louise de Marillac

Note: This article was written in 1910. St. Louise de Marillac Le Gras was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.

Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, born at Paris, 12 August, 1591, daughter of Louis de Marillac, Lord of Ferri res, and Marguerite Le Camus; died there, 15 March, 1660. Her mother having died soon after the birth of Louise, the education of the latter devolved upon her father, a man of blameless life. In her earlier years she was confided to the care of her aunt, a religious at Poissy. Afterwards she studied under a preceptress, devoting much time to the cultivation of the arts. Her father's serious disposition was reflected in the daughter's taste for philosophy and kindred subjects. When about sixteen years old, Louise developed a strong desire to enter the Capuchinesses (Daughter of the Passion). Her spiritual director dissuaded her, however, and her father having died, it became necessary to decide her vocation. Interpreting her director's advice, she accepted the hand of Antoine* Le Gras, a young secretary under Maria de' Medici. A son was born of this marriage on 13 October, 1613, and to his education Mlle Le Gras devoted herself during the years of his childhood. Of works of charity she never wearied. In 1619 she became acquainted with St. Francis de Sales, who was then in Paris, and Mgr. Le Campus, Bishop of Belley, became her spiritual adviser. Troubled by the thought that she had rejected a call to the religious state, she vowed in 1623 not remarry should her husband die before her.


M. Le Gras died on 21 December, 1625, after a long illness. In the meantime his wife had made the acquaintance of a priest known as M. Vincent (St. Vincent de Paul), who had been appointed superior of theVisitation Monastery by St. Francis of Sales. She placed herself under his direction, probably early in 1625. His influence led her to associate herself with his work among the poor of Paris, and especially in the extension of the Confrérie de la Charité, an association which he had founded for the relief of the sick poor. It was this labour which decided her life's work, the founding of the Sisters of Charity. The history of the evolution of this institute, which Mlle Le Gras plays so prominent a part, has been given elsewhere (see Charity, Sister of); it suffices here to say that, with formal ecclesiastical and state recognition, Mlle Le Gras' life-work received its assurance of success. Her death occurred in 1660, a few month before the death of St. Vincent, with whose labours she had been so closely united. The process of her beatification has been inaugurated at Rome.


Glass, Joseph. "Ven. Louise de Marillac Le Gras." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1910. 28 Feb. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09133b.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Claudia C. Neira.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09133b.htm


St. Louise de Marillac, born near Meux, France, lost her mother when she was still a child, her beloved father when she was but 15. Her desire to become a nun was discouraged by her confessor, and a marriage was arranged. One son was born of this union. But she soon found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness that finally led to his death.

Louise was fortunate to have a wise and sympathetic counselor, St. Francis de Sales, and then his friend, the Bishop of Belley, France. Both of these men were available to her only periodically. But from an interior illumination she understood that she was to undertake a great work under the guidance of another person she had not yet met. This was the holy priest M. Vincent, later to be known as St. Vincent de Paul.

At first he was reluctant to be her confessor, busy as he was with his “Confraternities of Charity.” Members were aristocratic ladies of charity who were helping him nurse the poor and look after neglected children, a real need of the day. But the ladies were busy with many of their own concerns and duties. His work needed many more helpers, especially ones who were peasants themselves and therefore close to the poor and could win their hearts. He also needed someone who could teach them and organize them.

Only over a long period of time, as Vincent de Paul became more acquainted with Louise, did he come to realize that she was the answer to his prayers. She was intelligent, self-effacing and had physical strength and endurance that belied her continuing feeble health. The missions he sent her on eventually led to four simple young women joining her. Her rented home in Paris became the training center for those accepted for the service of the sick and poor. Growth was rapid and soon there was need of a so-called rule of life, which Louise herself, under the guidance of Vincent, drew up for the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (though he preferred “Daughters” of Charity).

He had always been slow and prudent in his dealings with Louise and the new group. He said that he had never had any idea of starting a new community, that it was God who did everything. “Your convent,” he said, “will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the streets of the city or the wards of the hospital.” Their dress was to be that of the peasant women. It was not until years later that Vincent de Paul would finally permit four of the women to take annual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It was still more years before the company would be formally approved by Rome and placed under the direction of Vincent’s own congregation of priests.

Many of the young women were illiterate and it was with reluctance that the new community undertook the care of neglected children. Louise was busy helping wherever needed despite her poor health. She traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France. Six months later St. Vincent de Paul followed her in death.

Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-louise-de-marillac/


The shrine of St. Louise de Marillac
 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.


Louise de Marillac, Widow (RM)

Born in Ferrières-en-Brie (near Meaux), Auvergne, France, on August 12, 1591; died in Paris, France, March 15, 1660; beatified in 1920; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934; declared patroness of social workers by Pope John XXIII in 1960.


Saint Vincent de Paul, when he held missions conducted by his priests, made efforts to create the lay apostolate of the (female) Servants of the Poor and of the (male) Helpers of the Poor for the services of the poor and sick in all his parishes. His manifold occupations made it impossible for the saint personally to supervise and direct these numerous charitable groups.

Saint Vincent found in the person of Louise de Marillac his best instrument for the direction of the women. Louise was a woman of the highest social status--a paternal uncle was marshal of France, another was garde des sceaux--and well-educated by the Dominican nuns of Poissy after her mother's early death. Her father died when she was 15. On the advice of her confessor, Louise had decided not to join the Capuchin nuns, and in 1613, at the age of 22, married Antoine Le Gras, secretary to Marie de Medici. Her husband, a pious and high-minded man, allowed her to do all the good to which her kind heart prompted her in slums and in tenements of want, and protected her in those circles of society that felt outraged by her activities. After his death in 1625, she devoted herself to the education of their son, who eventually married and had children.

When he had outgrown her guardianship, she lived entirely for works of Christian charity. Louise had met St. Vincent prior to her husband's death, and he had agreed to become her confessor. He had been trying to organize devout, wealthy women to help the poor and sick in often appalling conditions. It soon became clear that many of these ladies, although well-intentioned, were unfit to face the ugliness and suffering of poverty and illness. The practical work of nursing the sick in their own homes, caring for neglected children, and dealing with often rough husbands and fathers was best accomplished by women of similar social status to the principal sufferers. Louise, he realized, was made of sterner stuff.

The aristocratic ladies were better suited to the equally necessary task of fund raising and dealing with correspondence. Louise was the exception. In her Vincent saw a woman of a clear mind, great courage, endurance, and self-effacement. In 1629, in order to test his assessment, he sent Louise to make a visitation of the "Charity" of Montmirail he had founded. She passed the test and, despite unstable health, Louise made many more such missions.

Vincent chose Louise to train and organize girls and widows, mainly of the peasant and artisan classes. In the home Louise rented on the rue des Fossé-Saint-Victor in Paris, beginning in 1633 with four country girls, she trained groups of women for ambulatory care of the sick. Louise wanted to draw up a rule of life, but St. Vincent convinced her to wait for a sign from God. Vincent had not intended to start a religious order. The sisters, he said, should consider themselves simply as Christians devoted to the sick and poor: "your convent will be the house of the sick, your cell a hired room, your chapel the parish church, your grill the fear of God, your veil modesty."

Finally assured of Louise's dedication, Vincent permitted her to draft a rule in 1634; essentially, this rule that was formally approved in 1655 is the rule still used today. Vows are taken only for one year and renewed. Louise made her vows in 1634, and in 1642, the first four candidates were professes as Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1638. Vincent himself preferred the name, Daughters of Charity. Formal approval placed the community under Vincent and his Congregation of the Mission with Louise as their superioress until her death.

This sisterhood, according to the wishes of Saint Vincent, was to realize the idea that had animated his friend, Saint Francis de Sales, in creating this foundation--the idea of an uncloistered religious community for all the evangelical tasks in the world, especially on behalf of the poor, the sick, and the little children.

St. Vincent opened an orphanage, and the sisters taught the children. They also took charge of the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris. Louise established other orphanages and hospitals, nursed plague victims herself in Paris, reformed a neglected hospital in Angers, and oversaw all the activity of the order despite her fragile health. She traveled all over France founding more than 40 daughter houses (including one in Madagascar and another in Poland) and charities. Just before her death, she exhorted her sisters to be diligent in serving the poor "and to honor them like Christ Himself." At the time of her death the sick poor were tended in their homes in 26 Parisian parishes, hundreds of women were given shelter, and other good done. These sisters of charity accomplished immeasurable good in every part of the world through their self-sacrificing love for their fellow men. (Attwater, Benedictines, Calvet, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Schamoni, White).

In art, Saint Louise is depicted in the original habit of the order--a gray wool tunic with a large headdress or cornette of white linen, the usual dress of the peasant women of Brittany in the 17th century. She is the patron saint of social workers (White).


SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0315.shtml


Saint Louise de Marillac, Co-Foundress of the Daughters of Charity and Patroness of All Christian Social Workers, by Sister Teresa Rowe, Daughter of Charity


Although Saint Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934, there are but few people in Australia who know anything about her.

This short work will be an attempt to condense a life, which, for the frail and delicate woman she was, abounded amazingly in good works.

Pope Pius XII compared her work in the world with that of Saint Teresa in the cloister.

Pope Pius XI stressed the miracle of her life, the miracle of her works, and the miracle of her posterity; while Pope Saint Pius X, when proclaiming the heroicity of her virtues, announced, “We have found the valiant woman of France.”

In the eyes of the world she was simply a young widow with wretched health and a troublesome boy; yet, under the guidance of Saint Vincent de Paul, she inaugurated a thing hitherto unheard of in the Church of God the doing of works of charity in the world, by women, who, though not Religious, aimed at the full perfection of the Religious life.

BORN IN PARIS

When the fortunes of France were at their lowest ebb, and the horrors of Civil War made life unbearable for rich and poor alike, Louise de Marillac was born in Paris, on 12 August 1591, out of wedlock.

Monsieur de Marillac worshipped his tiny daughter and tried to be both father and mother to her; but, when she was only four, he married again and little Louise soon found that her stepmother, a widow with three children of her own, had no room in her heart for the motherless babe.

Reluctantly Monsieur de Marillac sent his little daughter to a high-class Dominican boarding school at Poissy, where she was loved and understood and where she received an education rarely given to girls at that time. Besides literature and painting, she studied Latin and philosophy and read the Holy Scriptures.

Louise was happy at Poissy. She loved the peace and quiet of Convent life. She loved the nuns who mothered her; and so she was loath to leave, when, at the age of twelve, her father withdrew her and placed her in a less expensive school in Paris.

Even then, there was to be no home life for her.

In her new school, she learned domestic science and housecraft. As her father wished her to keep up her Latin, painting and philosophy, she saw much more of him, for he superintended these extras.

Still it was not home and, although she found the simple life she now led more congenial, she often felt very lonely and unwanted.

Fortunately, she loved God too much to doubt His Goodness. Her loneliness drew her closer to Him and she developed a tender devotion to the Passion of Our Lord.

When her father died, two years later, her sensitive heart was crushed. He was all she had and she had lost him. Her stepmother ignored her. And, although in his will, Louis de Marillac wrote, “My daughter Louise has been my greatest consolation in life; she was given to me by God to comfort my soul in my many afflictions,” he merely settled a life-income on her and named his brother, Michel, her guardian. The de Marillac family estates were inherited by her little half-sister, Innocente.

LONGED FOR CONVENT

For Louise, at sixteen years of age, the world held little or no attraction. Her guardian, Uncle Michel, with whom she lived after leaving school, was a most unworldly man, and his example and guidance influenced her considerably, seconding her already ardent piety and her craving for a life of penance and discipline.

She soon grew to love him for his goodness and his charity to the poor and he became her first spiritual guide. She longed to enter the Convent of Capuchin nuns and made a vow to do so when she would be of age; but her delicate health made this impossible. She was heart-broken when her Confessor released her from her promise, but he consoled her by saying: “God has other designs on you.”

Uncle Michel sympathized with Louise and wisely counselled her to think of something else. To get married was the only other thing a girl of the seventeenth century could do and Louise felt no attraction for it. Meantime she busied herself with the poor of her district, and with her favourite hobbies, painting and reading. She noticed that her cousins and friends, one by one, selected for themselves either the cloister or marriage. If they chose the cloister, then its doors closed behind them, because there were no un-cloistered active orders in those days. Many married ladies of her acquaintance were living in the world without being of it; so, finally she took her uncle’s advice and married Antoine le Gras, the Queen’s secretary, on 5 February 1613. She was then twenty-two.

In the designs of Providence, she was destined to be a model for Catholic wives and mothers.

Her husband’s position entitled them to share in the festivities of the Court, but, though Louise acquitted herself of her duty and appeared at Court when custom required it, her heart was not in it.

At home with her husband, she was very happy. Antoine was about ten years older than Louise, completely devoted to her and sympathetic with regard to her work among the poor. Mademoiselle le Gras, as Louis was now called, always recalled the anniversary of her wedding with gratitude.

Towards the end of the year, Michel Junior, was born. Louise’s cup of happiness was full. All the pent-up love of her motherly heart was showered on this mite. What she had missed in her own infancy she was determined to give him – full measure and flowing over – even at the risk of spoiling him. Years later Saint Vincent de Paul gently scolded her for this: “I never knew a mother who was so much a mother as you. Stop worrying about your boy. God loves him better than you do, He will take care of him.”

Even then, divine Providence intervened to save young Michel, by causing him to share his mother’s love with others. In 1617, Louise’s widowed aunt Valence died. She had been little Michel’s godmother. On her death-bed, she begged Louise to mother her seven children. Louise’s small family suddenly became a large household; but so well did she manage it that the poor were by no means neglected and her servants often gossiped in the kitchen about the marvellous way she served them. How self-sacrificing she was, regardless of fatigue, inconvenience and even dirt!

BY THE WAY OF THE CROSS

Sorrow pressed hard upon joy in Louise’s life. “God made known to me from my earliest years that it was His Will that I should go to Him by the way of the Cross,” was her own summary of her life.

Loneliness in childhood, the grief of her father’s death, and her disappointment in her vocation were followed by a few happy years of married life.

Then came one of her greatest sufferings – a gnawing doubt which undermined her health and happiness. Had she done wrong in getting married? Had she failed God? Ought she to leave her husband and try again to fulfil her vow of entering a Convent? Her uncle tried to allay her scruples, then introduced her to Saint Francis de Sales, who gave her some consolation. However, in twelve months, he was dead, but not without having asked his friend, Monsignor Camus, Bishop of Belley, who was Louise’s cousin, to take over the direction of her soul. He had known her for years and understood her needs. He taught her to turn aside from thinking of her faults and fix her mind on Jesus Christ. He encouraged her work among the poor, as it made her forget herself, and he allowed her to make a vow not to re-marry if her husband died before her. After that, she had peace for three weeks. It was only a truce. Her temptations returned with new force and she was inclined to doubt even the immortality of her soul. She prayed in her anguish to Saint Francis de Sales, confident that he would help her, and he did. On Pentecost Sunday, 4 June, she was at Mass, utterly miserable, when suddenly her mind was enlightened and all her doubts disappeared. She was made to understand that a time would come when she would take vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. She saw herself in a place with others attending to the poor: but she could not understand how this could be a Convent because there was so much coming and going.

Then came another cross. Antoine le Gras’s health had failed. He was attacked with an incurable disease. Louise hid her spiritual trials from her husband and nursed him devotedly for more than two years. Resigned and conscious to the end, he died on 21 December 1625.

Immediately the “dark night of the soul” descended upon poor Louise. Was her husband’s death a punishment for her infidelity in the matter of her vow? Was God angry with her? Bishop Camus was away from Paris. She was desolate!

Another cross that weighed upon Louise constantly was her son, Michel. He was spoilt and she knew that she was responsible. He was now thirteen and getting nowhere with his studies because of his laziness and utter lack of ambition.

NEW SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

Fortunately, there was someone at hand to guide, enlighten and console her. Monsignor Camus, perhaps it was, who arranged for Vincent de Paul, a humble priest in Paris, to direct her. He established the Congregation of the Mission in 1625 and Louise had heard a lot about him. She had probably met him while visiting her poor, and she was interested in him, but she felt some repugnance in accepting him as director. Nevertheless, she acquiesced and never regretted it.

After unburdening her soul to Monsieur Vincent, she begged him to enlighten her as to her future. What did God want her to do next? He invited her to join other pious widows in making, mending and painting vestments for the parish church – to continue her work among the poor and, so as to be freer for this, to send her son away to a boarding school.

She drew up for herself a rule of life, a strict Order of the Day, and submitted it to her Director.

To rise at five o’clock, to hear Mass daily and to receive Holy Communion as often as permitted, to make mental prayer morning and evening, say the Office of Our Lady and the Rosary, make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and have set times for reading sacred Scripture, examinations of conscience, meals and recreation and labour.

He had to modify her tendency to excessive mortification and suggested that, instead of austerities for which her frail constitution was unfit, she could restrain her too great tenderness for her son. “In nothing else are you so eminently feminine,” he told her.

Louise made two retreats of eight days each in the year. Saint Vincent bade her pray for guidance for both of them, and for four years kept her waiting in this new and strange novitiate until God manifested His Will in her regard.

SERVICE OF POOR

Honouring the hidden life of the Son of God during these years, Louise occupied herself making clothes for the poor. She helped ecclesiastical students from abroad who needed clothing, books, Mass outfits or travelling expenses, and she trained young girls sent to her occasionally by Saint Vincent. Remembering Our Lord’s words: “Whatsoever you do to the least of Mine, that you do unto Me,” she looked upon the poor as her lords and masters and served them as she would serve the Lord of Charity Himself. Our Lady was her model in all things. Carefully she prepared for and celebrated her feasts; especially the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

Saint Vincent visited her or wrote when missions kept him out of Paris, and all the while prayed that God would solve the mystery of her vocation. When he was absent for any length of time she worried and wrote to Monsignor Camus, who made light of her distress and reminded her mischievously that Monsieur Vincent could not be expected to abandon his other duties for her sake. And his duties were legion.

When he was parish priest of Chatillon in 1617, he had erected the first Confraternity of Charity. So successful was the venture that in a short time, the organization was recognized by Church and State; and in 1629, there were about 130 branches in country districts and small towns. There were set rules for the members, who dedicated themselves to the service of the needy and took turns in attending to the sick. To keep them up to the mark, Saint Vincent or one of his priests visited them from time to time and sometimes found that certain members had fallen away from their first fervour.

Saint Vincent realized that for the women members, a lady organizer with a spiritual outlook was needed. Who could fill this role? Who indeed but Louise de Marillac with her common sense, tact and easy flow of language.

SOCIAL SERVICE WORK

Having explained the organization to her and supplied her with letters of introduction, he sent her off in high spirits, little dreaming that the social service work begun that day would one day spread over the entire world.

Travelling by open stage-coach, she visited the churches at each stopping-place, to confide to the Lord of Charity, as she loved to call Him, the work she had come to do for Him. Then she looked for lodgings and took whatever was offered.

She held meetings of the Confraternities, examined their organizations, visited the sick in each town or village according to instructions, and then returned to Saint Vincent with her report. For the next four years, we find her setting off in summer and autumn, sometimes penetrating far into the country. She was appalled by the wretched condition of the peasants, and more so by their utter ignorance of God. What mattered it, if, to reach them, she travelled in springless carts, on horseback, or struggled many miles on foot? They were suffering members of the Mystical Body of our crucified Lord, and she loved them. From time to time, her health gave way and she had to rest, but as soon as she was allowed up, she was off again.

To the members of the Charities in each town and village she gave simple instructions on their duties and responsibilities, taught them home nursing, and what precautions to take against contagion. Her simple eloquence attracted the men who sometimes concealed themselves in the meeting room to listen to her.

APPRECIATED AND WELCOMED

She compiled a little Catechism and gathered the children around her wherever she went. To find good school mistresses was a great anxiety. She endeavoured to leave one in every town, and here her lady friends helped her considerably. Besides visiting and encouraging the Confraternities already functioning, Louise erected many more. In some places, she met with opposition, but generally she was appreciated and welcomed.

At Beauvais, in 1633, her visit ended in a public manifestation of gratitude. The Bishop, priests and people gathered to see her off. When she was leaving, a small boy fell under the wheels of the clumsy vehicle in which she was travelling and was thought to be dead. Louise sprang out of the carriage and, kneeling beside the seemingly lifeless little body, prayed so fervently that, to everyone’s astonishment, he arose perfectly uninjured.

Before five years were up the Court and every parish of importance had its Confraternity of Charity. Abuses crept in sometimes. A few of the Ladies of Charity got their maids to prepare the food and then sent them to the poor sick instead of serving them personally.

Saint Vincent strongly disapproved: “They hadn’t the touch, these paid servants.”

Then came an epidemic of plague. Many Ladies of Charity were forbidden, by their husbands or by their parents, to run the risk of contagion. In fact, those who could, fled from Paris, while Louise calmly continued her charitable works and visited even the plague-stricken.

To fill the gaps left by the frightened Ladies of Charity, Vincent and Louise decided to invite some of the good country girls they had met in the villages, who, without wishing to be nuns, would willingly give themselves to God to serve Him in the poor. More than a dozen came eagerly. Louise gave them a hurried course of instructions, placed them in hired rooms under the care of the Lady President of each parish Confraternity and hoped for the best. She got it!

Although some proved unsuitable and were sent home, others were excellent and soon Saint Vincent was in admiration at their devotedness.

To give just one example: Marguerite Nasseau, who had taught herself to read while minding her sheep and then braved the ridicule of her elders by teaching other girls; who had skimped her own meagre fare to save money enough to help penniless young students to follow their vocation. She came to Saint Vincent and offered her services to nurse the sick. “Everyone loved her because there was nothing in her that was not lovable,” he said.

After serving satisfactorily in three different parishes, she caught the plague from a poor woman whom she brought to her little room and put into her own bed. Then she walked to the hospital, where Louise found her, dying – the first Daughter of Charity.

BIRTH OF COMMUNITY

Scattered as they were in different parishes of Paris, with very little experience, and left to their own resources except for orders received from the Lady of Charity placed over each, these young peasant girls could never persevere if something were not done to stabilize the venture. Louise de Marillac was quick to realize this and offered to receive a certain number into her house and to educate and train them for the service of the poor.

Saint Vincent, too, judged it necessary to unite these girls in a Community under the guidance of a superior – and here was one at hand of consummate prudence, exemplary piety and of an ardent and indefatigable zeal.

The Community of the Daughters of Charity dates its birth from 29 November 1633 when Saint Louise welcomed the first four, whose names, unfortunately, are unknown to us.

To suit them, she changed somewhat her Order of the Day. There was to be no Office, but half an hour’s mental prayer morning and evening, examinations of conscience, periods of recollection and acts of the Presence of God, vocal prayers in common, daily Mass in the parish church, frequent Holy Communion, and the Rosary said privately.

She joined them at meals, recreation and housework; she instructed them in all phases of their life and took them with her to visit the homes of the sick.

Saint Vincent watched and approved. He was most devoted to the interests of the “Little Company”, and came at least once a fortnight to give them encouragement and instruction. After the second of these Conferences, notes were taken, at first by Saint Louise’ herself and later by one or other of the Sisters capable of doing so.

With Saint Vincent’s permission, Louise made a vow on 25 March 1634 to consecrate herself to the service of the poor, at the same time renewing her vow of Chastity. By this time, there were twelve girls under instruction.

TRUE VOCATION

From the start, Saint Vincent insisted, in his humility, that God alone could be truly called the Founder of the Community. He never thought of it, neither did Mademoiselle. She, in her turn, realized that she had at last found her true vocation – a religious life, hitherto quite unforeseen, living in Community, yet working in the midst of the world, with much “coming and going” in succouring the poor, the ignorant and the afflicted.

For fear of the Sisters being considered nuns, which would mean enclosure and no more service of the poor in their own homes, all terminology associated with the cloister was avoided. Instead of Convent it was to be HOUSE; instead of Reverend Mother, SISTER SERVANT. The Novitiate was to be the SEMINARY; and the Mistress of Novices, SISTER DIRECTRESS.

The little Sisters were not to wear a veil like nuns; the simple grey costume and white head-dress of the peasant women of the time suited nicely and was made uniform.

Until his death in 1660, Saint Vincent continued the Conferences. If he happened to be out of Paris, his faithful friend and first disciple, Father Portail, supplied for him, but this was rare.

As for Louise, she was there always, by her example giving herself to the formation of these young Sisters, whom she dearly loved, with a spiritual energy that was almost miraculous.



TEACHING AND SERVICE

When she was satisfied, after some months, that they understood all that such a vocation required, two or three were sent to live in the town, near the little schoolroom where they taught peasant children and shepherdesses. Often they had only a hired room for lodging and, after hearing Mass in the parish church, they sallied forth to school or to serve the poor in their homes. After school, there were household chores – sewing, mending, washing and chopping firewood. Some made preserves for the poor, others attended to the doctor’s orders for the next day’s round of visits. Those who were illiterate were given extra time to learn how to read. Louise insisted on daily study, saying: “You must prepare yourselves in every way to become better Servants of the Poor. We are all they have and nothing is too good for our lords and masters.”

Their religious formation went on constantly. Every fortnight they gathered either in Louise’s house or in Saint Lazare, for Monsieur Vincent’s Conferences, and their numbers steadily increased.

Louise de Marillac, with other Ladies of Charity, visited the Hotel-Dieu, an immense hospital where there were almost 3000 patients; not that they had so many beds, for we are told there were sometimes six in a bed! It is difficult nowadays, to imagine a hospital in such dire straits as to have insufficient sheets for changing.

Soon four Sisters were regularly at work there, and the work was colossal, for so many other essentials were lacking too: besides corporal assistance, the Ladies of Charity instructed the patients and prepared them for the Sacraments.

During this first year nearly 800 infidels, heretics, and even Turks, were reconciled to God. Louise was so devoted to this work that Saint Vincent had to restrain her zeal.

By 1636, it was necessary to move to a larger house, which was found in La Chapelle, a northern suburb of Paris. This became the Mother House. A few visiting Sisters were left to carry on their work in the city house.

Hardly were they installed in their country house, enjoying the pure fresh air, than war threatened. They were on the direct route of the invading and defending armies. Thousands of refugees poured into the village. Louise found herself and her Sisters in a dangerous position, but she held her ground, trusting in the protection of God, and took in a number of girls who were among the refugees. To help them materially and to protect them were not sufficient for her zeal; she arranged for one of the Missionaries to give them a retreat before they left.

PLIGHT OF FOUNDLINGS

The foundlings next attracted her attention. She heard of poor unfortunate abandoned babies deserted in the streets of Paris – 300 or 400 a year, and her motherly heart went out to them. She went to see “La Couche”, a house to which these waifs were taken. It was kept by a woman with two servants who treated the children so badly that most of them died un-baptized. The survivors were sold to any beggar for a few pence, who maimed them to excite compassion. . . . Louise was heartbroken and immediately begged Saint Vincent to let her take as many as she could accommodate. The Sisters of La Chapelle received them gladly, and we hear of a sister sitting up all night with a baby in each arm because all the cots were full.

Their numbers increased so rapidly during the war that a foundling hospital was opened and run by the Sisters in Paris for some, while others were boarded out with foster-mothers.

Providing for these little ones was, for years, one of Saint Louise’s greatest difficulties. As they grew up, she also had to educate them. To meet the growing demand for teachers, she sent some of the Sisters to the Ursuline Nuns, who initiated them into their method of teaching.

The Ladies of Charity were of great assistance to Saint Louise. In fact, she could not have done without them a fraction of what she did.

DEATH OF MADAME GOUSSAULT

Her charitable enterprises required enormous sums of money. This was contributed almost entirely by the good Ladies of Charity, who also devoted themselves whole-heartedly to her works. Foundations were made on their country estates and financed by them. Madame Goussault was a wonderful example to the others, always ready to help either in visiting the Hotel-Dieu and the prisons or in the care of the foundlings. Her premature death in 1639 was a sore trial to Louise, who had relied so much on her. It was some consolation to know that to Saint Vincent she said, the day before she died: “All night I have seen the Daughters of Charity before the Throne of God. Ah, how greatly they will be multiplied; what good they will do and what happiness will be theirs.”

Some of the Ladies of Charity expressed a wish to make a spiritual retreat under Louise’s direction. At Saint Vincent’s suggestion she readily complied, all the more so as this gave her an opportunity to make them some return.

Saint Louise never neglected what she deemed her first duty, the training of the Sisters who now formed a numerous Community. They were taught to have “no cell but a hired room, no cloister but the streets of the city or the wards of a hospital, no enclosure but obedience, no grating but the fear of God, and no veil but holy modesty.” But at the same time they were to equal cloistered religious in all the virtues of the religious life, adding thereto a great love for and absolute devotedness to the poor. The secret of her success in training her young girls was that “she gave them daily heroic example of every precept she explained.”

NURSING THE PLAGUE-STRICKEN

Madame Goussault’s dying wish was to see the Sisters take over and run the Hospital of Angers, her native town, for which she left a large sum of money. This was the first long-distance foundation. Seventy-five miles from Paris was a considerable journey in those days, partly by coach and partly by canal-boat. Louise picked her Sisters carefully and decided to accompany them. She also made an effort to discard her widow’s weeds and adopt the head-dress worn by her companions, but she caught cold and had to revert to her black veil. It was a disappointment to her and she humbly thought that she was unworthy of it. The journey to Angers took fourteen days and, when they arrived, Louise was seriously ill. Nevertheless, she attended to all the business of the Foundation and established the Association of the Ladies of Charity. The plague was raging, but the Sisters fearlessly nursed the plague-stricken and God preserved them from contagion.

Six years later the administrators of another large hospital asked for Sisters to assume charge. This was in Nantes, farther off than Angers. Again, Louise installed her Sisters personally. Before long, difficulties crowded in from all sides, and several times the Sisters’ Council in Paris was on the point of withdrawing them. Eventually their patience and charity won, though it took several years.

RULES ARE WRITTEN

In 1642, there were nearly one hundred members in the little Company. Some of the Sisters begged Saint Vincent to allow them to make vows. After much deliberation he consented that they make vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and the Service of the Poor, which would became, and remain, annual, although each one’s intention must be to renew them every year until death.

Those so privileged pronounced their first Holy Vows on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, and Louise renewed hers at the same time.

She kept reminding Saint Vincent that so far the Sisters had no written rule. Her Order of the Day and little regulations, but above all her example had sufficed. Being overwhelmed with problems of his own at the time, he put her off; but early in 1645 he was frightened into action when Louise collapsed and her life was despaired of. Eventually she recovered and then he became dangerously ill, even unconscious for several days. As soon as he was able, he asked Louise to draw up Rules for the future guidance of the Community. This she did with such wisdom and foresight that he had very few alterations to make, and these Rules have stood the test of time and are still faithfully observed by thousands of Daughters of Charity in all parts of the world.

In the Conferences that followed, Saint Vincent explained these Rules minutely and loved to repeat: “Keep your Rules and your Rules will keep you.”

It was now five years since Louise had transferred her Seminary and Secretariat to a larger house near the parish church of Saint Laurent. Saint Vincent was nearer. The Ladies of Charity held their meetings there, and Retreats for the Sisters and for the Laity were there conducted. Louise was the life and soul of the house. In spite of her continual infirmities, and sometimes overpowering anxieties, she was constantly cheerful, and would laugh heartily at recreation with the Sisters. When death snatched one of them from her, she wept bitterly, so much did she love them.

Louise’s humility was her outstanding virtue. She did the meanest work of the house and never allowed anything new to be bought for her. Secondhand clothing she considered quite good enough.

Her spirit of obedience made her seek advice from Saint Vincent on every point and obey him implicitly.

The secrets of her interior life are revealed in her instructions given so regularly to the Daughters. These were taken down by her secretary verbatim, and we have them today as inspiring as the day she spoke. Full of common sense and forthrightness, one feels that she has had personal experience of the crosses and snares for which she sought to prepare them.

Her devotion to the Sacred Heart was remarkable. She lived before Saint Margaret Mary, who was born in 1647; yet a large picture painted by her represents the Lord of Charity standing in the attitude we are now so accustomed to see on pictures of the apparition to Saint Margaret, which occurred many years later. Her second characteristic devotion was to the Immaculate Conception; in which she firmly believed long before it was declared an article of faith. To her Guardian Angel she was most devout; and always saluted the angels of the inhabitants of the towns and villages she passed through on her journeys; and she recommended the Sisters to pray to the good angels of those whom they strove to instruct or convert.

Her devotion to the Sacred Passion and to the Blessed Sacrament sustained her all through life amid innumerable trials, sorrows and sufferings of body and soul. These devotions are now incorporated into the spiritual exercises of the Daughters of Charity.

detail of a state of Saint Louisede Marillac; by Antonio Berti, 1954; Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy; photographed on 25 May 2013 by Christoph Wagener; swiped from Wikimedia Commons

GOD’S WATCHFUL CARE

Louise had great confidence in Divine Providence. She told the Sisters that if they were not already called Daughters of Charity, they might well be called Daughters of Providence – so often had the good God shown His watchful care of them.

In 1644, she narrowly escaped death from a falling ceiling in the Community room, when a joist broke, immediately after she had left it.

On another occasion, a Sister was climbing the stairs of a tenement house with food for a sick woman, when the house collapsed, killing thirty-six people; the corner of the landing on which she stood was the only part left intact. After carefully lowering her soup-pot at the end of a rope, she jumped from the window into blankets held out to catch her and then went on her way to the poor with her basket still on her arm!

When Saint Vincent pleaded the cause of his beloved galley slaves, the condemned criminals, Louise sent Sisters to nurse them, with detailed instructions, warning them of the risks they ran, on account of the evil character of these poor men. “Be like the sun whose rays fall on the dung-heap without suffering any ill effects from it.”

A large dilapidated castle, “Bicetre”, was placed at her disposal by the Ladies of Charity in 1647. The foundlings were housed there and a wine-press and bakery were started, but civil war broke out. As in 1636, the Sisters and children were in danger and, two years later, all had to return to Paris.

These foundlings caused Louise more worry than enough. The number of children to be fed, housed and clothed was out of all proportion to the funds collected for them.

Between 1638 and 1643, 1,200 infants had been cared for and they kept coming at an average of one a day. The Sisters at the Foundling Hospital reduced their own fare to one meal a day. So much else was there to worry about, that the Ladies of Charity’s enthusiasm for them flagged and Louise tearfully told Saint Vincent that she feared they would have to give up the care of these little ones.

Saint Vincent called a meeting and made his famous appeal: “. . . Ladies, if you continue to support these little ones, they will live. If you abandon them, they will die. Pronounce sentence. Their life and death are in your hands. What is your verdict?”

Of course, the Ladies of Charity promised to continue, and even sold their jewellery to raise funds; but with the outbreak of war, many of the Ladies of Charity fled to the country, and the fortunes of the few remaining were so reduced that they were unable to redeem their promises. Louise was left alone to shoulder the burden of hundreds of little hungry children. Debts mounted. Credit was refused. The little ones were dying of hunger and poor Louise felt personally responsible for their deaths. To make matters worse, Saint Vincent was away for five or six months, but he answered her sad little letters, reminding her of the confidence she owed God. The work was His. He would see it through. And so He did, through His worthy instrument, Saint Vincent, who, on his return, managed to procure food, paid all debts, and averted the dreaded disaster within a few months.

NURSING WAR-WOUNDED

There came a sip of happiness to Louise in 1650. Her wayward son, now thirty-seven years of age, who found it so hard to settle down anywhere or at any job, met and married Gabrielle le Clerc, an excellent young lady, under whose influence he became steady and reliable. They had one daughter, Louise, who was a great joy to her grandmother.

Three days after his marriage, France was again plunged into a senseless war of tragic suffering. Country districts were laid waste by the marching and counter-marching of troops. The horrors perpetrated by bandits admitted into the Queen’s army were unimaginable.

Louise was deluged with appeals for help; Sisters were wanted everywhere. Famine was widespread. Sorrowfully she saw four Sisters depart for the battlefield at the Queen’s request, to nurse the wounded. Three of them died. Soon there was “fighting in the very capital”. Soldiers lay dead at the door of the Mother House, while the Sisters inside fasted and prayed for peace.

Prayer succeeded where all political efforts failed. The Archbishop appealed for prayer and penance, and peace came with the return of the young King Louis XIV at the end of 1652.

At the same time, Poland was at war with Sweden. The Queen of Poland, who had been a Lady of Charity in Paris, asked for Sisters to nurse the wounded soldiers in her adopted country. Three were sent in 1652 and more in 1657. Two died of plague and Louise was asked for reinforcements. In all, she sent twenty Sisters to Poland, envying them their opportunities for sacrifice.

As a result of the war, and long before it was over, begging in the streets of Paris became a menace. There were about 100,000 professional beggars. Many edicts had been issued against them, and the weapon of force had been resorted to, but all in vain.

In 1656, King Louis XIV erected a general hospital, which before long housed 6,000 mendicants, all learning a trade. Street begging was again forbidden by law. It was remarkable how many maimed and blind beggars were cured overnight and either came willingly to learn a trade or disappeared into the country. A Paris merchant donated 100,000 livres for work, which was to be administered by Saint Vincent, Saint Louise and the Daughters.

CARE OF LUNATICS

In the year of 1653, the Holy Name of Jesus Hospice was founded for the sick and aged of the capital.

Two years later, this valiant woman, now worn out with age and infirmities, welcomed yet another major appointment, the care of lunatics in an asylum which had been rather badly managed. Saint Vincent inspired the Sisters with such an exalted idea of the grace God bestowed on them by giving them this charitable work that they all longed to devote themselves to it in spite of its special difficulties.

In 1658, the River Seine overflowed its banks – Paris was inundated. Louise harboured 800 refugees in the Mother House and fed 1,500 poor at the door each day. Saint Vincent organized a huge emporium of food, clothing and furniture, and medical supplies, while several Sisters helped the priests and brothers who were sent to relieve distress, in the country districts.

And so, these last years of Louis’s life were no less fruitful in good works than the preceding ones, and like them, bore the stamp of the Cross. Trials of all kinds came her way – ill health, disappointments, losses, but with them all came ever-increasing sanctity. Her will was anchored to the Will of God and, consequently, she enjoyed that peace which Our Lord promised “no man can take from you.”

A fall, which injured one arm permanently in 1659, aggravated her sufferings and necessitated a Sister secretary. From her sick room she sent Sisters to Calais to nurse the wounded and others attacked by plague. Two died and twenty volunteered to replace them.

PREPARES FOR END

During these last years of her life, Louise had an Assistant, to whom she left most of the administration of the Mother House. No longer able to cope with it all, she spent more time in prayer and preparation for the end, which she felt was drawing near. The prayers and sacrifices of their Mother certainly obtained extraordinary graces for her children.

Her last foundation was that of Narbonne in 1659, where the Archbishop asked for three teaching Sisters.

Louise was no longer able to assist at daily Mass and was suffering intensely. Twelve years before, Saint Vincent had written of her to Father Portail in Rome: “I regard Mademoiselle as naturally dead for the last ten years . . . only God knows the strength of her soul.”

January and February were anxious months for her Daughters. Their Mother lay between life and death. On 4 February, the Last Sacraments were administered; but she rallied sufficiently to put all her affairs in order. On the 14th news of the death of Father Portail saddened her. He had been the Sisters’ Spiritual Director for eighteen years.

Early in March, her fever returned and gangrene declared itself in her injured shoulder. She was in danger and on the 12th, she again received the Last Sacraments. Three days of increasing pain followed, but her patience was uncompromising. “It is just,” she whispered, “that where sin has abounded, suffering should also abound.”

Saint Vincent, now over eighty, was practically an invalid. His ulcerated leg made it impossible for him to walk any distance. He was quite unable to assist her.

She asked for a few written words of encouragement, but, knowing her detachment, he sent an oral message instead: “You are going before me, Mademoiselle, but I hope to see you soon in heaven.”

At eleven o’clock on the 15th, feeling that her last hour had come, she spoke her dying words to the sobbing Sisters who surrounded her bed: “Take great care of the poor, . . . live together in great union and cordiality . . . pray much to the Blessed Virgin, she is your only Mother.”

At noon, her beautiful soul passed peacefully to God.

It was Monday of Passion Week, 15 March 1660.

She left 350 Daughters of Charity in seventy foundations in France and Poland.


SAINT VINCENT’S WORDS

A few weeks after her death, Saint Vincent, somewhat improved in health, held a Conference with her Daughters. After listening to them tell of her virtues and her tender devotion to the poor, he said: “Address yourselves with confidence to your Mother in heaven. She can help you more now and she will, provided you are faithful to God.”

Fourteen years before, when sending her a draft copy of the memorandum of the establishment of the Daughters, which he intended to send to the Archbishop of Paris, he wrote: “I have omitted many things I might have said about yourself. Let us leave it to Our Lord to say it to the whole world one day, and let us hide ourselves in the meantime.”

Surely, that day has come and Our Lord is calling the attention of the whole world to Saint LOUISE DE MARILLAC in this great century.

Her Cause was not introduced until 1895.

In 1911, Pope Saint Pius X declared her Venerable.

In 1920, Pope Benedict XV beatified her.

In 1934, Pope Pius XI canonized her.

In 1954, her statue was erected in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

And now, 14 March 1960, Pope John XXIII declared her to be the PATRONESS OF ALL CHRISTIAN SOCIAL WORKERS.

Did she not inaugurate, more than 300 years ago, just those works which now claim the time and zeal of our modern Social Workers?

“Mothers, Fathers, Catholic Youth, Religious and lay Teachers and Nurses, and members of every branch of Social Work, Saint Louise de Marillac is your MODEL. Look to her for inspiration. Put your efforts under her guidance and protection, and pray that your work may resemble hers, especially in this – that in all she did for the needy and oppressed she sought only the GLORY OF GOD and the SALVATION OF SOULS.”

The Daughters of Charity in Australia.

The Vice-Province of the Daughters of Charity in Australia forms a branch of the British Province, which was founded from the Mother House, Paris, in 1855.

From the Central House, Mill Hill, London, came the pioneers of the Australian Branch in 1926.

Others came in after years – in all, the British Province sent thirty Sisters to the Vice-Province.

The first four Australians who applied for admission to the Community of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac, were obliged to go overseas for their training; but, in 1937, a temporary Seminary was opened in Mayfield, which was transferred in 1939 to the newly-built Central House in Eastwood (Marsfield in Sydney).

Since then, approximately one hundred Australians have completed their twelve months’ training here, after six months’ postulancy, and have been sent out to one or other of the eighteen houses.

– Australian Catholic Truth Society No. 1351a (1960). Thanks to Saint Paul’s School for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Kew, Victoria.




St.Louise de Marillac Chapel 
at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.


Santa Luisa de Marillac Vedova e religiosa


Ferrieres, Francia, 1591 - Parigi, Francia, 15 marzo 1660

Luisa (Ludovica) nasce nel 1591 a Ferrieres e ha un'infanzia agiata. Dopo il 1604, morto il padre, viene tolta dal regio collegio e affidata a una «signorina povera» (forse sua madre), che l'avvia al lavoro. In questo periodo matura il proposito di farsi religiosa. Ma i parenti la danno in sposa nel 1613 allo scudiero e segretario di Maria de' Medici, Antonio Le Gras. I frequenti colloqui con Francesco di Sales, incontrato la prima volta a Parigi nel 1618, aiutano Ludovica a superare le proprie sofferenze. Poi nel 1624, grazie all'incontro con Vincenzo de' Paoli, diventa cofondatrice dell'Istituto delle Figlie della Carità. Poco dopo, nel dicembre 1625, morto il marito ed entrato in seminario il figlio Michele, accoglie in casa sua le prime giovani venute dal contado per mettersi al servizio dei poveri, in collaborazione con le Dame della Carità. Era il primo nucleo della nuova congregazione, dai lei guidata fino alla morte, avvenuta nel 1660. (Avvenire)

Patronato: Assistenti Sociali

Martirologio Romano: A Parigi in Francia, santa Luisa de Marillac, vedova, che guidò con il suo esempio l’Istituto delle Figlie della Carità nell’assistenza ai bisognosi, portando a pieno compimento l’opera avviata da san Vincenzo de’ Paoli.

Si racconta che Napoleone, in un giorno di quiete, si trovò ad ascoltare un gruppo di persone qualificate culturalmente che cominciarono a discettare di filosofia, di politica, di scienza e con entusiasmo esaltavano l’Illuminismo che aveva prodotto nella società un sentimento filantropico. L’imperatore li ascoltava ma si mostrava sempre più impaziente e anche infastidito da tutte quelle parole.

Ad un certo punto li interruppe dicendo: “Tutto questo è bello e buono, ma non farà mai una Suora Grigia!”. Si chiamavano così le Figlie della Carità, fondate, nel 1633, da Vincenzo de’ Paoli e da Luisa de Marrillac, da più di un secolo già famosissime e stimatissime in Francia per la loro opera di carità verso i più bisognosi e per i poveri rottami della società, che pure si fregiava dell’appellativo di illuminista, cioè illuminata dal lume della ragione.

Una seconda curiosità. Verso la metà del 1600, quando ormai le Suore Grigie operavano già da qualche decennio, alleviando tante sofferenze e salvando tante vite umane, viveva a Parigi, nella quiete e nella sicurezza, il filosofo inglese Thomas Hobbes.

Di lui è rimasta la teorizzazione filosofica dell’assolutismo dello Stato (il Dio mortale sulla terra) nella sua opera Il Leviathan (1651). Tutto doveva essere sottomesso allo Stato (anche l’autorità religiosa). Uno Stato assoluto con poteri assoluti sui singoli individui era necessario per evitare che gli uomini si sbranassero a vicenda alla ricerca inevitabile dei propri diritti. Sua è la famosa frase: “Homo homini lupus”, l’uomo è un lupo per l’altro uomo, pronto, pur di affermare i propri diritti alla sopravvivenza, a sbranarlo.

Le Figlie della Carità o Suore Grigie, sapendo che lo Stato non è tutto, erano dei veri angeli, che alleviavano il dolore in ogni angolo dove l’autorità politica e civile non entrava o ne ignorava il bisogno. E in questa loro opera così importante e socialmente così utile e illuminata seguivano le orme e gli esempi dei loro fondatori: San Vincenzo de’ Paoli e Santa Luisa de Marillac. Due grandi figure che hanno illuminato con la loro santità operante socialmente quel secolo francese grande anche per altre figure come Pascal e Cartesio, Richielieu e Mazzarino, Moliere e Corneille, card. De Berulle e Jacques Bossuet, San Giovanni Eudes e altri.

Avendo già parlato nel mese di settembre 2007 di San Vincenzo de’ Paoli, ora tocca a Santa Luisa, che per più di trenta anni lavorò con lui con lo stesso obiettivo: mostrare il volto misericordioso e buono di Dio verso i bisognosi, specialmente quelli più abbandonati e soli, e in questo erano ambedue mossi dallo stesso e unico grande amore a Gesù Cristo.

Il matrimonio sbagliato e per interesse


Louise de Marillac nacque nel 1591. Non ebbe come si dice un’infanzia e un’adolescenza serena. Il padre apparteneva ad una delle più importanti famiglie della Francia. Della madre non si sa niente: era quindi una figlia naturale, riconosciuta premurosamente dal padre ed anche aiutata da lui con una rendita che le assicurasse una certa sicurezza. Era una bambina intelligente e saggia. I suoi primi studi furono fatti nel convento delle domenicane di Poissy. L’atmosfera raccolta, devota e culturalmente stimolante le piacque da subito. Ma, forse, la spesa era eccessiva per lei. Venne infatti ritirata e affidata ad una maestra abile anche nell’insegnarle i lavori tipici femminili.

Perdette il padre all’età di 11 anni, e, fatto che complicò ancora il suo stato di orfana, la famiglia della matrigna e gli altri parenti (sembra) non si preoccuparono eccessivamente di lei e del suo destino.

La ragazza cresceva molto devota e aveva fatto voto di consacrarsi al Signore: all’età di 18 anni Luisa si preparava quindi ad entrare in un convento. Fu però sconsigliata e respinta in questo suo proposito a causa della sua salute non robusta. Se non poteva diventare suora allora bisognava maritarla. E così fu. Ecco quindi un matrimonio non voluto da lei ma combinato da altri, quindi solo di interesse.

Era il 1613 e Luisa aveva 22 anni. Il nome del marito Antoine Le Gras, senza alcun titolo nobiliare. Nacque ben presto anche un figlio. Luisa conduceva una vita di devota nel bel mondo che la portava a frequentare prelati, signori dell’ambiente dei Marillac e di Madame Acarie, il tutto mentre si prendeva cura del figlio, debole di salute. Sembrava tutto facile. Ma Luisa cresceva negli scrupoli, nei rimorsi per non essere potuta entrare in convento sempre oppressa da quelli che lei credeva peccati. Era in crisi, insomma. Aveva una buona formazione intellettuale e spirituale, ed una vita cristiana buona. E purtroppo il matrimonio non era diventato un sostegno per lei ma fonte di difficoltà e di ansietà. Cercava quindi la salvezza nell’ascesi, nell’umiltà, nell’abnegazione. Spesso anche in maniera esagerata.
E in più aveva sviluppato un attaccamento verso suo figlio che qualche autore chiama addirittura di natura nevrotica. Era un’anima in difficoltà spirituale, in grande pena e dalla psicologia ferita profondamente.

Ebbe anche la possibilità di incontrare addirittura due santi (e anche grandi): il vescovo di Ginevra, Francesco di Sales, e specialmente Vincenzo de’ Paoli. Avrà con quest’ultimo l’incontro decisivo e provvidenziale per la sua vita.

E veniamo all’anno 1623, anno importante per Luisa. Quello dell’illuminazione. Scrisse lei stessa: “Compresi che... sarebbe venuto un tempo in cui sarei stata nella condizione di fare i tre voti di povertà, castità e obbedienza, e questo assieme ad altre persone... Compresi che doveva essere in un luogo per soccorrere il prossimo, ma non riuscivo a capire come ciò si potesse fare, per il fatto che doveva esserci un andare e venire...”. Un segno dall’alto di avere un po’ di pazienza per coronare il suo sogno di diventare religiosa.

Luisa capì il messaggio e infatti cominciò ad aderire, con umiltà e serenità e nella pace interiore, alle circostanze della vita, che in quel momento significava stare a fianco del marito (dal quale pensava di separarsi). La malattia del marito intanto continuava e Luisa lo assistette con molta più dedizione e tenerezza di prima, per altri due anni, rimanendogli accanto fino alla morte santa (1626), della quale lei parlava come di una grande grazia del Signore.

L’incontro con Vincenzo de’ Paoli

Fu certamente la Provvidenza, che non lascia niente al caso per realizzare i propri progetti di salvezza, a far incontrare Luisa con Vincenzo (intravisto, senza capire di chi si trattasse, in quella famosa illuminazione del 1623).

Avvenne nel 1624, durante gli ultimi due anni della malattia del marito. Lei 33 anni, lui 43, famoso in tutta la Francia, che trattava con re, regine, ministri e grandi personaggi. Una coppia che avrebbe funzionato molto bene per il Regno di Dio e che sarebbe rimasta unita indissolubilmente e animata visibilmente dall’unico e indistruttibile e comune amore per il Signore Gesù.

Luisa sarebbe diventata la vera compagna di Vincenzo per le opere di carità sociale. Le fu vicino con molta discrezione, con molta saggezza e anche tenerezza spirituale, rasserenando il suo spirito col richiamo continuo all’amore di Dio per ciascuno di noi e quindi anche per lei (per farle vincere il suo moralismo, gli scrupoli e il ricordo dei propri errori). La invitava sempre ad esser lieta, semplice ed umile, le ricordava continuamente l’importanza della “santa indifferenza” davanti a quello che Dio avrebbe voluto per lei. Lei stessa avrebbe trovata la strada e la missione che Dio voleva. Un po’ di pazienza. Anche Dio ha i suoi tempi per agire e per far capire il suo progetto.

Il Cristo non era vissuto trent’anni nell’oscurità di Nazaret prima della missione? Anche Luisa poteva e doveva aspettare.

Intanto conosceva sempre di più l’opera e la metodologia di Vincenzo con i poveri. E il miracolo avvenne. Arrivò proprio il giorno in cui Luisa intuì il proprio compito o meglio la missione nella Chiesa.

Lei, Luisa de Marillac, di madre sconosciuta, orfana a 11 anni del padre, una suora mancata, una giovane donna maritata per interesse, madre di un figlio che dava e aveva problemi... sarebbe diventata la “Madre dei poveri”. Grazie a Dio (e a Vincenzo, mandato da Dio) una trasformazione totale. Naturalmente comunicò l’intuizione a Vincenzo. Era proprio quello che aspettava. Le rispose: “Sì che acconsento, mia cara damigella, acconsento sicuramente. Perché non dovrei volerlo io pure, se Nostro Signore vi ha dato questo santo sentimento?... Possiate essere sempre un bell’albero di vita che produce frutti d’amore!”. E così sarà veramente per Luisa, per tutta la vita e per tanti poveracci che incontrerà e aiuterà.

L’opera maggiore (che continua ancora oggi) che questa santa “coppia di Dio” ha fatto insieme è stata la fondazione delle Figlie della Carità, nel 1633. Un Istituto religioso, diretto da loro due insieme per 27 anni fino al 1660, quando morirono entrambi a poca distanza di mesi.

Fu una vera rivoluzione per la Chiesa (uscire fuori dai conventi e per di più donne), perché andava al di là dai soliti schemi mentali e gabbie organizzative ecclesiali vigenti fino a quel tempo. Vincenzo e Luisa a tutti chiedevano quello che potevano dare: ai re e regine, ai borghesi e alle dame dell’alta società francese, ai nobili ricchi e ai ricchi non nobili. Alle figlie chiedevano di essere “serve dei poveri”, come se essi fossero i veri padroni. Ma tutto questo Luisa lo chiedeva dicendo o scrivendo “In nome di Dio, sorelle... siate molto affabili e dolci con i vostri poveri. Sappiate che sono i nostri padroni...”. E questi poveri erano i derelitti, gli abbandonati, i senza dimora, i malati, i pazzi, i galeotti, bambini trovatelli, feriti di guerra e altre categorie affini a forte disagio sociale.

Era un’assistenza piena di amore e di carità, che nessuna ideologia o anche filosofia illuminista poteva inventare o giustificare ma solo l’amore di Dio. Ed era un lavoro che le Figlie della Carità, quelle suore grigie che Napoleone “sognava”, facevano, e sempre faranno, “in nome di Dio”.

Autore:
Mario Scudu sdb


Note: Il Martyrologium Romanum ha posto la data di culto al 15 marzo, mentre la Congregazione della Missione (Lazzaristi) e la Compagnia delle Figlie della Carità la celebrano il 9 maggio.

SOURCE : http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/31600


Statue de Sainte Louise de Marillacéglise Saint-Paterne, Thibouville (Eure, France)


Voir aussi : http://www.lejourduseigneur.com/Web-TV/Chroniques/Chroniques-des-Saints/De-G-a-L/Sainte-Louise-de-Marillac-1591-1660

http://www.cassicia.com/FR/La-vie-de-sainte-Louise-de-Marillac-Fete-le-15-mars-No_513.htm

A Heroine of Charity, by Kathleen O’Meara : https://catholicsaints.info/a-heroine-of-charity/