St. Louise and Vincentian Care of the Sick

by | May 1, 2020 | Formation

This month, on May 9, we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac. The presentation at the end of this article takes a look at her experiences of caring for the sick and dying in France. In St. Louise’s letters we can see many parallels with our situation today– they were faced with the plague which spread across the French towns and countryside, crowded hospitals, and fear of sickness. Those who came forward to help alleviate the suffering were poor country girls (soon to become the Daughters of Charity)– doing similar work to some of those on the front lines of today’s coronavirus epidemic– and Ladies of Charity, who in addition to their hands-on work were in a position to be able to respond with money to fund solutions– just as today, some have been moved to generously donate and volunteer to tackle the effects of the epidemic.

Our founders and the early Vincentians offer many lessons:


Proper attitude

  • Thank God for your own good health and use it to serve the sick
  • Keep well for love of God and the poor
  • If you must suffer, make good use of it
  • A plague proved their charity
  • The strength to bear the fear of danger
  • Remain humble, keep going


  • Going out to find the Son of God in the sick
  • Charity+Mission (assist the sick both corporally and spiritually)
  • Sharing Faith and Hope with those who are sick
  • Bringing the Good News of Jesus to the dying
  • Accompanying those who have recovered

Taking Action

  • Do not fear the plague, Our Lord wants to use you
  • Practice charity all the days of your life
  • Pay attention to others who are suffering and address their needs

Organization and Leadership

  • Women came forward to meet a need
  • Sts. Vincent and Louise were brilliant organizers
  • St. Louise assembled and trained those willing to join her
  • A company of women, backed by women (Daughters of Charity financed by Ladies of Charity)
  • Vincentian collaboration (CM, DC, LOC)
  • Sharing best practices with the confraternities in different locations
  • Always evaluating and improving the work


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