Feast day: March 15
Canonized: March 11, 1934
Beatified: May 9, 1920
Louise was born into a wealthy French family in 1591, but all the money in the world could not stop sadness from touching her life. Her mother died when was young and her father died when she was a teenager. She was raised by her aunt, a nun, and Louise felt called to religious life, but she was discouraged from it. Instead, her priest arranged for Louise to marry a young man named Antoine LeGras, who could provide her with a comfortable life.
Luckily, Antoine and Louise grew deeply in love. God blessed them with a son. The couple’s joy turned to sorrow after Antoine became ill. Louise cared for him until his death, just 12 years after they were married.
Some time later, Louise met St. Vincent de Paul. He became her spiritual advisor. She spent the rest of her life helping him to care for the poor and others in need. He had many helpers, but he needed someone to train the volunteers and to organize their work. He later said that Louise was the answer to his prayers! Soon Vincent and Louise had begun the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Many women joined the order and Louise was elected the Superior.
Louise found true happiness in her work. She established hospitals, schools and orphanages all over France. By the time Louise died in 1660, 40 convents of the Sisters of Charity had been established.
Louise was canonized in 1934 and is today the patron saint of social workers. She encouraged her beloved nuns to treat the poor as if they were serving Christ himself. Like Louise, we, too, can show our love for Christ by finding practical ways to help people in need.