Saint Louise de Marillac (1591-1660). Louise was born and raised in Paris, during a time when great social strife had befallen the city. The gap between the rich and poor was ever increasing, with more and more families and children suffering without the basic necessities of living. At that time, nearly one in six citizens would die of poverty-related conditions or diseases. Louise felt drawn to change that, but her road to ministry would be a long one.
Born the illegitimate daughter of Louis de Marillac, Louise never knew her mother was passed away shortly after her birth. Her father graciously raised her, demonstrating great love for her, despite societal opinion. Due to family relations, Louise grew up interacting with members of the aristocracy, specifically the royal court of Queen Marie de Medicis, receiving a formal education and instruction in deportment. When her father remarried, Louise’s new stepmother refused to recognize her, and she was sent to be schooled at the royal monastery of Poissy. The education Louise received was among the finest available at the time, and she demonstrated a keen mind and intellect, especially in practical and organizational tasks. Her intellect was only surpassed by her dedication and commitment.
Louise put her energies into maintaining a household and being a mother with the same intensity that she had pursued her studies. When her husband fell ill and became bedridden, she spent her days nursing him, and tending to her beloved son, who had also developed medical issues. Through her caretaking, Louise came to love her husband very much, and after a period of year, when she was 32, was devastated by his death. Not knowing where else to turn, Louise looked to God who had been her comfort throughout her life.
“the time would come when I would be in the position to make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and that I would be in a small community where others would do the same," Louise sought out a new spiritual director, Saint Vincent de Paul. Together, these two pious saints would lastingly change the world.
Under his direction, Louise regulated her own life, creating a Rule of the World, which scheduled her service to others, prayer and contemplative time, and management of household duties. Like with many things in her life, Louise required an outside direction to temper her zeal for service and prayer, lest she damage her own frail health. Louise began a ministry to the poor of Paris, taking four young poor women into her home, and teaching them to serve those in need. These were the first sisters of the Company of the Daughters of Charity, founded when Louise was 44 years old. She instructed her new charges, "Love the poor and honor them as you would honor Christ Himself." Saint Vincent, recognizing her intelligence, ability to get things done, organization, and zeal for service to the Lord encouraged and supported her Daughters of Charity, and extension of his own service organization the Confraternities of Charity. "Your convent," Saint Vincent said to Louise, "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."
Saint Louise continued her work and direction of her sisters until the day of her death at age 68. She said to her sisters, “Take good care of the service of the poor. Above all, live together in great union and cordiality, loving one another in imitation of the union and life of our Lord. Pray earnestly to the Blessed Virgin, that she might be your only Mother.” Her incorrupt body lies in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Rue du Bac, Paris. Her work continues today, as her order and those that came after it, continue their missions of service.
"When all the poor in the world are no longer poor, when all the hungry are fed, and all the naked clothed, when the sick and the dying, and the abandoned babies, and the orphans, and the outcast, and the lonely and forsaken are all gathered in heaven, until that day, there will always be Daughters of Charity."
"If you completely entrust everything to the guidance of Divine Providence and love the most holy will of God, this will contribute greatly to your peace of mind and heart. In fact, this is one of the most essential practices I know of for growth into holiness.”
Loving and compassionate God, we celebrate with great joy the faith and works of our patroness St. Louise de Marillac. Instill in us the fire of her love, the tenacity of her belief, and the tenderness of her care for the most abandoned. Draw us together into the light of your presence and help us to trust in the power of your Spirit, leading us to ever closer to you, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Year 2: Day 74 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humble and contrite hearts of repentance.
Requested Intentions: For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C); For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); End to suffering for sick brother; reconciliation of estranged family (E); End to husband’s addiction; Improved relationship; strength (M); Successful God-centered marriage; Sacramental life (M); Healing, successful relationship (S); For successful marriage (A); For a husband’s freedom from addiction (C); Freedom from pain and illness for a friend (M); Financial freedom (J); Successful passing of occupational examination (S); Healing and conversion, sale of house (L); Occupational success for employee and colleagues (J); Employment for a son (C); Successful attainment of an important appointed position (J); Recovery from cancer for a friend (Z); For a family’s freedom from sin (M); For a daughter with Diabetes (A); Healing of a father following stroke (S).
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."