St. Vincent de Paul
Vincent de Paul was born at Pouy, in the Landes, France on 24th April 1581, and was ordained a priest on 25th September 1600. Working first in pastoral ministry in Paris, he later accepted a position of chaplain in the household of the de Gondi family from whence he came to devote himself to the alleviation of the lot of the poor. To that end, he established the Congregation of the Mission to which was also entrusted the formation of the clergy. Along with Louise de Marillac he founded in 1633 the Company of the Daughters of Charity. Vincent died in Paris 27th September 1660, and was declared a saint on 16th June 1737.
Pope Leo XIII named him Patron saint of all works of charity.
Vincent had a gift for integrating service with a profound prayer life. He found and served God in the poor, the sick and abandoned people in the city and in the countryside. Vincent knew how to draw other people into his projects and made them his co-workers.
St. Louise de Marillac
Louise de Marillac was born on 12th August 1591, probably in Paris. Her marriage on 5th February 1613 to Antoine Le Gras, ended prematurely with his death on 21st December 1625, and she was left with their only child, Michel. In 1624 she had taken Vincent de Paul as her spiritual director, and it was under his guidance that she gave herself, after Antoine’s death, to the service of the poor and the visitation of the Confraternities of Charity. Together on 29th November 1633, they founded the Company of the Daughters of Charity, and thereafter the care and training of the Sisters became Louise’s life work.
Louise died on 15th March 1660, and was canonised on 11th March 1934. On 10th February 1960, Pope John XXIII proclaimed her as the patron saint of all Christian social workers.
She was a wife, mother, teacher, nurse, social worker and co-founder of the Daughters of Charity. She was an organiser, a radical thinker who lived her life intensely and enthusiastically. Louise herself knew suffering and through a life of deep faith she was able to find and treasure Jesus Christ in the broken spirits and bodies of the destitute people she served.
Friendship with St Vincent de Paul
Vincent and Louise worked together as a team. Vincent provided the original vision of service of poor people, a vision shaped by the love of Jesus Christ. Louise helped transform that vision into reality. They have inspired thousands of people through the ages to offer a caring compassionate face in Christian ministry. Today countless individuals and groups all over the world continue to be influenced by their example and spirit.
“You have no time to devote than that of service of the poor.
[Louise de Marillac]