St. Louise de Marillac

Shall I start with disclaimers first?

Who am I to write about, much less introduce, our Foundress?
At first thought there are so many other historians, musicians, sculptors, writers, poets and biographers among us that have portrayed her so very well in sundry ways. (I still hold on to that thought of “Who am I?”!) It is only after entering the Daughters of Charity that I grew to love this Louse de Marillac of a mysterious family of origin, of early formative years, of an unknown extended family and of yearnings to follow her heart’s deepest desires. I could say “…late have I loved thee” for want of recognizing her during my own early days in the Daughters of Charity. But then the days and the months and the years exposed me to these wise women who model Louse de Marillac so very well…. these Daughters of Charity as formators, as Spiritual Directors, as wise women figures who teach more by example than any words could convey: as Louise probably did. Given these living examples of Louise, I’ve probably learned even more about her from Grant Writing, Advancement initiatives,  Case Studies, Project research, Proposal preparations and anything else to further efforts to support those whom we serve…….. Our Poorest!

I’ve learned that Louise could never ignore her innate unyielding call to give herself totally to God……the whispers of her heart could not be ignored nor submerged. Given her own 16th century of birth this mystical little girl could have grown up uneducated, dependent upon her family’s situation, marry, have children and die. For Louise this could have been her life, but for her “Father’s” claiming her as his natural daughter but not his legal heir. His status allowed for her elite schooling among the nobility as she continued to listen to her heart’s yearnings.

Fast forward to 1635 and Louise is a widow! She meets Vincent de Paul (the rest is history!). So here’s where the Advancement initiatives come into play (what would Louise say?). Overwhelmed with orphans to feed, legend has it that Louise made and sold jam to cover the costs. As needs surfaced, Louise collaborated with others (Friend Raising and Fund Raising!). Legend also tells of Louise making wine out of untended grape fields (pretty creative!) as a new sources of income for growing expenses. Louise’s innate organizational skills with a keen sense of one’s talents were the catalyst in addressing her day’s challenges…so catalyzing that these skills continue for our today! And in the midst of all of this, Louise continued to be urged by the Charity of Christ Crucified in serving: our motto, our tag line for today’s Daughters of Charity.

So!  Lessons for us from Louise de Marillac for today………. Can you

1.    Listen to your heart?

2.    Seek out good advice?

3.    Use your God given talents?

4.    Follow those you serve as they show you what they need?

5.    Use your God given talents to make it happen?

6.    Listen to your heart?

Written by Sister Marge Clifford, D.C.