15 March - Patron of Social Work and Social Workers.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2, 14-17).
The church gives honors in its saints the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and the outpouring of His gifts and charismas of the most diverse forms. They are the heroes of faith who lived in hope and charity. They fully manifested the love of Christ in others.
France in the late sixteenth century was the scene of one of the saddest times in its history. The Civil War in 1590 brought to the French misery, famine, disasters, diseases and epidemics. Rich and poor, large and small, all suffered from the situation. The struggle for survival led the inhabitants of Paris to seek alternative forms of food, not always salubrious: herbs, rats, etc... The History records that more than 50,000 people died of starvation.
The Marillac Family, of noble lineage of the High Auvergne, a mountainous region of central France, had as a representative the illustrious Luis Marillac. In the year 1590, Louis de Marillac, who was widowed and childless, got married Marguerite Le Camus. On August 12, 1591, Louise de Marillac was born, a frail girl who needed a lot of care. Miss Marguerite could not stand the hard labors of childbirth and comes to die hours later. Inconsolable, Luis takes his girl in her arms and with she shares their pain and love. Over the years, Luis, feeling the weight of loneliness and longing for better care to Louise, agrees to marry the sister of Marguerite, who had been widowed with four children. Aunt Antoinette, not wanting to have work with Louise, convinces Luis to take her to the care of Dominican sisters. There, our girl was educated in the faith, and was reading the lives of the saints who she found comfort. The economic situation of Mr. Luis was, like that of all France, greatly impaired, and to avoid spending, Louise is taken from the convent. So, she was given to the care of a widow, where the pension was cheaper. Louise is instructed by the widow and landlady, always obedient and zealous in both studies as in the works.
During that time she felt in his heart the desire to become religious. Honorius onorius argued that his poor health would not stand the rigors of a disciplinary monastery. A stroke of pain! Louise loses her father in early adolescence. Miguel, brother of Louis, became his guardian and took Louise to live in his palace. Everything was very luxurious and refined. Louise, though he loves his uncle, he felt embarrassed in the midst of such luxury. There was a big party at the court, one of the most luxurious banquets. The young Louise charmed everyone with her simplicity and beauty. Antoine Le Gras, noble gentleman, fell in love with her. Mr. Antoine seeking Mr. Miguel and exposes their intentions to marry Louise. Our young girl, although you want to follow the religious life, accepted the proposal and marriage to please his uncle. Louise was 22 when she married Antoine Le Gras, at St. Gervais in Paris. Shortly thereafter, the following year, was born the first son of the couple, who receives the name of Michel Antoine. Ms. Louise is all devotion to her beloved husband, her son, the house, and always found time for the poor and underprivileged.
Antoine always traveled widely in the service, and Louise was always tireless in visiting the sick, washing their wounds and brings food, clothes and all that was necessary. One day, after a long trip, Antoine brought home, after consulting his wife, seven children of a couple of relatives who had died. Mr. Le Gras became seriously ill, being forced to leave work at the court. So, Louise assumes all responsibility for the house and the husband's business. Another stroke of pain! Mr. Antoine Le Gras died, with 45 years of age on December 21, 1625. Louise is a widow aged 34. Counseled by the Bishop of Belley, he met Father Vincent de Paul, rough-looking man, but simple ways of strong character and extreme kindness. "We must never lose sight of the divine model! We must see Jesus Christ in the poor, the poor and see the image of Christ "was the first board of Father Vincent to Louise de Marillac. Louise was enchanted with the life and mission of Vincent de Paul. His son Miguel Antonio begins studies at the seminary and she will live in a rented house. Louise meets the noble ladies of society and they will form a large army of volunteers.
It was then that Father Vincent and Louise founded the Brotherhoods of Charity. Louise started to target them under the direction of Father Vincent. Many young girls wanted to join to the ladies of the confraternities of charity. Louise welcomed and taught to all, at his home in St. Victor Street.
In November 1633, Father Vincent gives a new meaning to the ladies. Thus began the company of the daughters of charity, making vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. The Daughters of Charity visited the prisoners, serve the helpless elderly, abandoned children, etc.; the action field was vast. It is known that the health status of people in that time was so difficult e precarious. The plagues and epidemics were frequent and deadly. Daughters of Charity were dedicated to the most suffered. The abandoned children were taken off the streets by Louise and she gave them to the care for wealthy families. Louise has initiated process of future custody and adoptions for a multitude of orphans. Louise visited the houses to meet the reality of future parents of those children.
Louise de Marillac, a tireless warrior woman of love and charity, she made of her life a pilgrimage through the streets of Paris and of world, always giving support, nurturing, educating and comfort to the poor. His son became a lawyer always working for the common good. The Daughters of Charity are scattered all over the world, serving in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, shelters for minors, sanatoriums, etc... always bringing the love and the will of St. Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac. On March 15, 1660, at age 69, Louise de Marillac says goodbye to his sisters and his life saying: “Be very careful, my daughters, with the service to the poor.”
St. Vincent, very old, could not attend the funeral of Louise. He died on 27 September of that year. “You know that the poor are our masters and master and we must love them with tenderness and respect them deeply”. May the example of love and gift of Louise de Marillac inspire us in doing good and help us achieve bliss. Saint Louise chose to defend the life from conception, accepting poor single mothers and pregnant women, elderly and sick people!
Therefore choose life you too!
Peace and Good!