Today, the Church celebrates St. Louise de Marillac.
It is appropriate on this Mother’s Day weekend that we honor and recall the life of this wife, mother, teacher, nurse, social worker, mentor, and spiritual leader.
During this pandemic, many of you might relate to one of St. Louise’s vocations. All are proving to be even more valuable than we could have imagined just a few months ago.
In the suffering that you may be experiencing, St. Louise again serves as a model to draw hope and inspiration.
St. Louise’s life was always challenging. She did not have a stable home life, she faced rejection (including to religious life), and her husband died from ill-health when she was only 34, leaving her a widow. Many of her family members would also be persecuted and/or fall ill.
It was through this suffering where she found her life’s purpose- to serve God in others, especially the poor.
St. Louise’s legacy is great, but what she is most known for is the community that she and St. Vincent de Paul founded in the Daughters of Charity.
St. Vincent said this about the Daughters:
“Your convent 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; your enclosure, obedience.”
Founded in 1663, there are currently over 14,000 Daughters serving in more than 90 countries, addressing needs of food, water, sanitation and shelter, besides their work with health care, HIV/AIDS, migrant and refugee assistance, and education.
Talk about legacy!
Look what happens when you follow God’s dream for you- just imagine all the prayers you can answer by being true to yourself and faithful to God’s call for you.
St. Louise said the following to her fellow Daughters, “Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honor them my children, as you would honor Christ himself.”
This is a mandate for us all.
As we journey through this strange and difficult time in human history, might the same be said of us- that we responded to the suffering within and outside our homes with creativity, passion, faith, and love- that we served and honored all in our midst.
Allow this suffering to transform you.
Pay attention to how God is calling you into service. In that service, find God in every individual that you encounter.
Let these words from St. Louise’s serve as prayer today:
“We must often abandon ourselves to Him, show Him our hearts filled with trust and gratitude: and try, from time to time, to whisper prayers to Him”
St. Louise de Marillac, pray for us.