Category Archives: Louise de Marillac

The Death of Vincent and Louise

The year 2020 marks 260 years since the deaths of both founders of the Daughters of Charity, Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac.  Louise had had bouts of serious ill health for much of her life, but the year 1660 saw her receive unction – or last rites – twice in the same year.  In her final days, she met with the earliest members of the Daughters and with the lay members of the Vincentian family at the time, the Ladies of Charity.  The priest who was by her bedside reported her last words; when he issued his apostolic pardon, she responded simply with “Yes.”  She died mid-day on March 15, 1660.

Vincent was ill himself at this time, so ill that he could not be at Louise’s side as she lay dying.  For the last months of his life, he was confined to the Paris Motherhouse of the Vincentians on Rue de Sèvres.  In July, he managed to give two conferences to the Daughters of Charity on the virtues of their foundress.  Unable to talk at length, Vincent instead let the assembled Daughters talk of Louise’s ability to raise her mind to God, to never complain of her ailments, of supporting sick Sisters, her willingness to perform the tasks that others would consider work for servants, her love and concern for the members of her community, and, of course, her humility in her service to the poor. 

Before Vincent began to move to the matter of electing Louise’s successor, he added a final admonishment to the Daughters:  “Courage!  Dear Mademoiselle Le Gras will help you.  She has been present for all that we’ve said.”

In Louise’s las months, when she had heard of Vincent’s illness, she sent him notecards with some of her home remedies.  By August, he could no longer make it to the chapel for Mass, either as a celebrant or congregant, even on crutches.  At last, after members of his community pressed and pressed him, he finally allowed himself to be carried to Mass each day.

On September 26, 1660, Vincent received his last rites and blessed the priests of the Vincentians and the Daughters of Charity for the last time.  He passed away on the morning of the 27th seated in a chair by his fireplace.

Representation of Saints Vincent and Louise around the deathbed of Sister Marguerite Naseau, the first to enter the community of the Daughter of Charity. Image painted by an early Daughter

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Birthday of Louise de Marillac

Louise de Marillac

Louise de Marillac (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Today we mark the birthday of St. Louise de Marillac, born in Paris on August 12, 1591.

Learn more about Louise in this article from the Vincentian Encyclopedia.

Read our past blog posts on St. Louise.

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Feast of Louise de Marillac

Louise de Marillac

Louise de Marillac (image used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Today, we mark the feast day of St. Louise de Marillac, who died March 15, 1660.

“In the name of God, my dear Sister, reflect often that it is not enough to have good intentions or for our wills to be inclined to do good solely for the love of God because, when we received the commandment to love God with all our heart, we also received a second commandment which is to love our neighbor.”

(Louise de Marillac to Anne Hardemont, November 13, 1653. L.383 – Spiritual Writings of Louise de Marillac: Correspondence and Thoughts, edited and translated by Sr. Louise Sullivan, p. 434-435)

Links to related content on our blog:
Louise’s first letter to Vincent de Paul

Louise’s Pentecost Experience

Series of posts from 2013 with accounts of Louise’s canonization in 1934


Filed under Feast Days, Louise de Marillac