March 15 is Saint Louise de Marillac’s feast day! Louise de Marillac was born on August 12, 1591, near Meux in France. In 1613, at the behest of her family, she married Antony LeGras, the secretary to the Queen Mother, Marie de Medici. Vincent de Paul became her spiritual guide and when her husband died in 1625 she devoted herself to charitable works.
Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul co-founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633 to help the poor. Due to the restriction of the cloister at the time on communal life for consecrated women, Louise and Vincent de Paul emphasized that the Daughters were not religious. The women took simple annual vows and lived in community in a secular nature. Although they lived and worked in the real world, Louise and Vincent de Paul stressed the Daughters be as dedicated and spiritual as consecrated women religious. Not only was the lifestyle unique in the church during the seventeenth century, so was the charism and mission of the community.
Louise de Marillac died on March 15, 1660. She was beatified in 1920 and canonized in 1934. St. Louise de Marillac is one of the spiritual patrons of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul.
Although we do not know the publication date of this prayer card, there are a few clues which allow us to surmise that it was probably published before Louise de Marillac was beatified in 1920 — and definitely before she was canonized in 1934.
- St. Vincent de Paul is represented with a halo, whereas Louise is not, indicating she is not a represented as a saint.
- The text refers to “Saint Vincent de Paul et Mademoiselle Legras.” The text does not include a title such as Blessed or Saint if she had been beatified or canonized at the time of publication.
- Also Louise de Marillac is referred to by her husband’s surname, Legras.
On the left is a religious medal of St. Louise. On the right is a medallion commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Louise de Marillac. The other side of the medallion is engraved with an image of St. Vincent de Paul.