Life of Our Patroness

Saint Louise was born in Paris on August 12, 1591. As she grew up she heard a call to the religious life, but on the advice of her confessor, she abandoned her calling and married an official of the French court.

After only 12 years of marriage, her husband died. Louise was then 34 years old. Before her husband's death, she had met St. Vincent de Paul, and the two of them organized groups of women willing to help St. Vincent's Confraternities of Charity, which he had founded to eliminate misery and ignorance in country districts of France.

In 1633, St. Louise drafted a rule of life that developed into the rule of the Daughters of Charity order. In 1642, some of the women took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and in 1655, the Pope approved the religious community. This community of women, founded by St. Louise, has been involved in extensive social work for 300 years.

St. Louise and St. Vincent were life-long collaborators and died within months of each other; St. Louise on March 15, 1660, and Saint Vincent on September 27, 1660. Saint Louise was beatified in 1920 and canonized by Pope Pius XI on March 11, 1934. In 1960, the year Saint Louise Parish was founded, Saint Louise de Marillac was formally declared the Patroness of the Social Worker at a special celebration in Paris honoring the 300th anniversary of the deaths of Saint Louise and Saint Vincent.


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