Louise de Marillac, St.

views updated


Cofounder of the Daughters of Charity; b. probably at Ferrières-en-Brie, near Meaux, France, Aug. 12, 1591;d. Paris, March 15, 1660. Although she was a member of the powerful de Marillac family and well educated, she led an unhappy childhood as an introspective, melancholy girl of poor health. She was married to Antoine Le Gras on Feb. 5, 1613; in October of the same year, she gave birth to her only child, Michel, who was to cause her much heartache. She was widowed on Dec. 21, 1625. At some earlier time she had come under the influence of St. vincent de paul, who was her spiritual director. By 1629 her interior life was firmly established, and Vincent started her in exterior work by sending her to make an inspection tour of the Confraternities of Charity that he had established in the provinces. To better care for the poor, Louise assembled a few country girls in her own home in Paris in 1633, where she trained them in piety and in the service of the poor. Thus began the Daughters of Charity. Louise devoted the rest of her life to the formation of the Daughters of Charity and to the supervision of the works entrusted to her by Vincent: the care of foundlings, galley slaves, aged persons, poor children, and the insane, as well as other charitable activities. Her body now rests under an altar in the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity, Paris. Having been beatified on May 9, 1920, she was canonized on March 11, 1934, and on Feb. 10, 1960, was named patron of all those who devote themselves to Christian social work.

Feast: March 15.

Bibliography: Letters of St. Louise de Marillac, tr. h. m. law (Emmitsburg, Md. 1972). Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac: Rules, Conferences, and Writings, ed. f. ryan and j. e. rybolt (New York 1995). a. richomme, Sainte Louise de Marillac (Paris 1961). j. calvet, Louise de Marillac: A Portrait, tr. g. f. pullen (New York 1959). m. d. poinsenet, De l'anxiété à la sainteté: Louise de Marillac (Paris 1958). m. flinton, Sainte Louise de Marillac: L'Aspect social de son oeuvre, (Tournai 1957) tr. by Flinton as Louise de Marillac: Social Aspects of Her Work (New Rochelle,N.Y. 1992), bibliography. p. coste, Life and Works of St. Vincent de Paul, tr. j. leonard, 3 v. (Westminster, Md. 1952). e. charpy, Petite vie de Louise de Marillac (Paris 1991); Spiritualité de Louise de Marillac (Paris 1995). l. sullivan, The Core Values of Vincentian education (Niagara University, N.Y. 1994). k. b. lafleur, Louise de Marillac (Hyde Park, NY 1996).

[m. a. roche]

About this article

Louise de Marillac, St.

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article


Louise de Marillac, St.