Saint of the Day ~ March 15

SAINT LOUISE de MARILLAC (1591-1660), religious and foundress
Patron saint of social workers

Today, the Church honors Saint Louise de Marillac, a devoted wife who, after becoming widowed, spent the remainder of her years becoming the Mother Superior of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, and serving the needs of the poor and underprivileged.

Louise was born in France on August 12, 1591. She was educated by the Dominican nuns at Poissy. She desired to embrace the religious life herself, but, upon the advice of her confessor, she was encouraged to marry Antony LeGras in 1613, an official in the queen’s service. A faithful wife, she eventually found herself nursing her beloved husband through a long illness.

After Antony’s death in 1625, she met Saint Vincent de Paul who became her spiritual adviser, and she devoted the rest of her life working with him. She helped direct his Ladies of Charity in their work of caring for the sick, the poor, and the neglected.

In 1633, she set up a training center in her own home for candidates seeking to help in her work, of which she was Directress. Sister Louise wrote the formal Rule for the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1642, which received formal approval from the Vatican in 1655.

Sister Louise became the Order’s Mother Superior, and she traveled all over France establishing her religious sisters in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions dedicated to helping the poor and the neglected.

Mother Louise, as she was now known, worked zealously until her death in Paris on March 15, 1660, during which her Order had established more than forty convents throughout France. Since then, it has spread all over the world. Her remains lie incorrupt in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Rue du Bac in Paris, France.

She was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1934, and was declared Patroness of Social Workers by Pope Saint John XXIII in 1960.

We commemorate her feastday on March 15.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, evangelizo.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Holy Women ~ ministering to the underprivileged)

“Lord God, You teach us that the Commandments of Heaven are summarized in love of You and love of our neighbor. By following the example of Saint Louise in practicing works of charity, may we be counted among the blessed in Your Kingdom.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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