Renew our first fervor

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

  Renew our first fervor
St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660)

Louise was born out of wedlock.  She never knew her mother who died when Louise was very young and her father was Louis de Marillac, of a prominent family in the French aristocracy at the time of Queen Marie de’ Medici. When Louis re-married, his new wife did not accept Louise in the family and she was send to be educated in a monastery near Paris where her aunt was a Dominican nun She was educated in the arts and humanities, spirituality, management as well as herbal medicine.  She had inclinations to the religious life in her teens but when she was 22 years old, her uncle arranged a marriage for her. The couple had a son but her husband developed an illness which lasted the rest of his life and through which Louise nursed him.  During this time, St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was a spiritual counselor to her. In her family life she was also active in the local parish and took a leadership role in the Ladies of Charity, an organization of wealthy women dedicated to assisting persons oppressed by poverty and disease. 
Around this same time, St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) was active in organizing “Confraternities of Charity”- aristocratic ladies of charity who helped him nurse the poor and look after neglected children.  St. Vincent became acquainted with Louise and the more he experienced her talents, the more he realized that she was the perfect person to solicit workers and to manage and teach those who worked in the Confraternity.  It morphed into a religious community, but that was never what St. Vincent had in mind.  He told her:  “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."  Under the guidance of St. Vincent, St Louise drew up a rule for the Sisters (Daughters) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  Much later it became approved as a religious congregation. 

The daughters of Charity
were the first sponsors of
Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago
Saint Joseph Hospital opened at Dickins and Burling Streets in 1972.  It 1964, the St. Joseph Hospital relocated onb Lake Shore Drive in a modern facility.  St. Joseph Hospital merged with Columbus and St. Anthony Hospitals, sponsored by Catholic Health Partners 1996 (later Resurrection Health Care 2001 and currently Presence Health Care (2011).

Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honor them as you would Christ himself.”
St. Louise de Marillac

“Souls that are truly poor and desirous of serving God should place their trust in the coming of the Holy Spirit within them believing that, finding no resistance in them, He will give them the disposition necessary to accomplish the holy will of God which should be their only preoccupation.”
St. Louise de Marillac

Renew then… your first fervor. Begin by a true desire to please God, recalling that His Providence has brought you to the place where you are established and has united you so that you can help one another to grow in perfection
St. Louise de Marillac

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