Co-foundress of the Daughters of Charity
A partner with St. Vincent de Paul to provide loving service to the poor.
“Love the poor, honor them, as you would honor Christ.”
She was a valiant and inspired leader of the Daughters of Charity, the first community of non-cloistered sisters that numbered more than 50,000 around the world at the time of her death (1934).
Born out of wedlock, educated by her widowed father who died when she was 15. She married the secretary to the household of the French queen even though she felt a calling to the vocation of religious life. He was struck with an illness and she nursed him until his death, and then devoted her life to God.
Father Vincent de Paul agreed to be her spiritual director and they formed one of the greatest religious partnerships in history. Vincent and Louise formed the Daughters of Charity to provide full-time care and loving service to the poor.
The Daughters of Charity were engaged in work in the world, not in a cloistered convent. This was a remarkable achievement at that time. She did not want the order to become “institutionalized” like other congregations. She traveled all over France establishing hospitals, orphanages and other institutions.
The sisters never hesitated to leave spiritual obligations to serve those in need. In leaving off from prayers, or even to the Mass, to help the poor, they felt they were going from “God to God.”
“The daughters are used … for the salvation and comfort of the neighbor.”
Source: All Saints, by Robert Ellsberg