Serving from the Heart

May you never take the attitude of merely getting the task done…

“As for your conduct toward the sick, may you never take the attitude of merely getting the task done. You must show them affection; serving them from the heart; inquiring of them what they might need; speaking to them gently and compassionately.” Louise de Marillac (Spiritual Writings, p. 773)

Louise de Marillac spent many years in active ministry directly serving those on the margins. She was an accomplished leader whose deep sense of compassion infused all her actions. Over the course of her life, Louise organized and administered a broad spectrum of works in healthcare, education, and social welfare. These works continue worldwide today through the efforts of the Daughters of Charity, the religious community of women she co-founded with Vincent de Paul.

In the tradition of Vincentian personalism, every day at DePaul we are presented with opportunities to serve from our heart and demonstrate acts of compassion. How do you see your work continuing this legacy?

Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac

Thursday, May 9, marked the Feast Day of St. Louise de Marillac, the Patron Saint of Social Work in the Catholic Church. Louise worked hand in hand with St. Vincent de Paul to care for the sick and poor in 17th Century France, and together they co-founded the Daughters of Charity, which is the largest order of Religious Sisters in the world today. Louise was a mother and wife; she had better hand writing than the Queen Regent of France; she was one of the pioneers of Social Work as we know it today, and above all, she saw the humanity and inherent dignity of every person that she met. Mission and Ministry invites you to learn more about St. Louise de Marillac and encourages you to think about how you can relate to this exemplary person 400 years after she left her mark on the world.


Vincent and Louise: A Model for Teamwork

When Louise de Marillac first discovered that Vincent de Paul had been assigned to be her new spiritual director, she stated, “It was repugnant for me to accept him.” While it is hard to know exactly what was behind Louise’s sentiments, it is clear that she was not pleased by the idea of working together with this Gascon peasant. However, as time went on, Vincent and Louise developed a deep and effective collaboration that would transform service to the poor and marginalized in seventeenth-century France and beyond. From a less than promising start, their friendship lasted 35 years, and their work together created a living legacy of which we are all part.

Think back to an instance when your initial perception of a work relationship changed over time. What did you learn from this experience?

A.2, Light, in Louise de Marillac, et al., Spiritual Writings of Louise De Marillac: Correspondence and Thoughts (New City Press, 1991), 1.