Roman Catholics will honor on Tuesday, March 15, the memory of the venerated patron saint of social workers – Saint Louise (Santa Luisa) de Marillac, who co-founded with Saint Vincent de Paul, a congregation known as the Daughters of Charity.
Feast masses and novenas in honor of the French nun will be offered in several Catholic churches around the world, including the Philippines.
Church leaders encourage the faithful to take inspiration from the guiding principle of St. Louise, “Love the poor and honor them as you would honor Christ Himself.”
Born in France on August 12, 1591, St. Louise was known as a compassionate, pious, and deeply religious woman. A great devotee of the Blessed Mother, she took her religious vows at the age of 43.
Together with her spiritual mentor, St. Vincent de Paul, they founded the Daughters of Charity, which was granted Papal approval in 1655. The order has since spread all over the world caring for the sick, the poor and neglected in hospitals, orphanages, elderly hospices, battlefields, prisons, schools, institutions for the mentally ill, and relief centers.
St. Louise died on March 15, 1660 in Paris, France and was canonized by Pope Pius XI on March 11, 1934. In 1960, then pope, now Saint John XXIII, declared her as the patron saint of social workers. Many devotees also look up to St. Louise as the patron of the sick, widows, and those experiencing problems with their children.
Her major shrine is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, France.