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St. Louise de Marillac,
a committed woman
Part 1: the education of poor children
Louise de Marillac was
drawn to poor country
girls whom no one was
concerned about
educating.
As an example of the thinking at the time, in
his last testament Cardinal Richelieu stated
that girls’ education was useless and even
dangerous because it might divert them from
their domestic responsibilities.
But Louise wanted this activity to be
continued after she left, and so she would
look for some woman who was able to carry
on with this task of educating the girls.
Louise would attempt to gain the support of the pastor of
the village. For example as Vincent once wrote to Louise:
“...with regard to Germaine*, M. du Coudray tells me that
he has begun to speak about her to the pastor, to M. Belin,
and to the schoolmaster, and that none of them is
adverse to the proposal he has made to them. We shall
see what will come of it.” (CCD:I:87)
*One of the young women Saint Louise employed in the schools
When Louise visited the
Confraternities she always found
time to gather the girls together and
instruct them.
Louise wanted the Sisters to be
teachers: to learn how to read
and write and to receive
further formation that would
prepare them to be teachers.
Despite Vincent’s lack of
enthusiasm for this project,
Louise sent the Sisters to the
Ursulines for the more
specialized formation.
After the establishment
of the Company of the
Daughters of Charity, one
of Louise’s primary
concerns was to prepare
teachers for girls.
The purpose of these schools was clearly expressed
in the response that the Councilor to the King gave
to Louise:
“...we grant you the necessary license and permit
you to operate a school. This you shall do in the
Saint-Lazare area of the Saint-Denis district on the
condition that you teach poor girls only and do not
accept others; that you educate them in good
morals, grammar and other pious and honest
subjects.” (SWLM:51 [L.41]).
Small schools
administered by the
Daughters of Charity
The rules for teachers and the
Daughters who ministered in the
rural areas were very explicit: gather
together the girls who are taking
care of the animals, at a time and in
a place that is convenient for them,
and teach them about the faith.*
*La Compañia de las Hijas de la Caridad en
sus Orígenes: Documentos, Editorial CEME,
Santa Marta de Tormes, Salamanca, 2003.
p. 440
In the rural villages, the
Sisters were to approach
those girls who, because of a
lack of time or a lack of
opportunity, were unable to
go to school.
Louise told the Sisters that they should be
concerned about each one of the girls and
that they should come to know the values
and the abilities of each girl.
Respect for the person was to be revealed in
the way that the Sisters engaged in their
ministry as teacher.
Louise wanted to provide the girls
with a sound formation that would
prepare them for life.
Source:
“Louise de Marillac, a committed woman”
[This article appeared in Volume II of En tiempos de San Vicente de Paúl … y hoy,
Editorial CEME, Santa Marta de Tormes (Salamanca) Spain, 1997, p. 257-272. The
above cited work was translated from the French by Martín Abaitua, CM (Au temps
de St. Vincent-de-Paul… et aujourd ‘hui), Animation Vicentienne, 16, Grande rue
Saínt-Michel, Toulouse, France … this work is not attributed to any one author but it
is stated in the Introduction that the articles were written by various authors].
Images: Depaul Image Archive

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St. Louise de Marillac and Poor Children

  • 1. St. Louise de Marillac, a committed woman Part 1: the education of poor children
  • 2. Louise de Marillac was drawn to poor country girls whom no one was concerned about educating. As an example of the thinking at the time, in his last testament Cardinal Richelieu stated that girls’ education was useless and even dangerous because it might divert them from their domestic responsibilities.
  • 3. But Louise wanted this activity to be continued after she left, and so she would look for some woman who was able to carry on with this task of educating the girls. Louise would attempt to gain the support of the pastor of the village. For example as Vincent once wrote to Louise: “...with regard to Germaine*, M. du Coudray tells me that he has begun to speak about her to the pastor, to M. Belin, and to the schoolmaster, and that none of them is adverse to the proposal he has made to them. We shall see what will come of it.” (CCD:I:87) *One of the young women Saint Louise employed in the schools When Louise visited the Confraternities she always found time to gather the girls together and instruct them.
  • 4. Louise wanted the Sisters to be teachers: to learn how to read and write and to receive further formation that would prepare them to be teachers. Despite Vincent’s lack of enthusiasm for this project, Louise sent the Sisters to the Ursulines for the more specialized formation. After the establishment of the Company of the Daughters of Charity, one of Louise’s primary concerns was to prepare teachers for girls.
  • 5. The purpose of these schools was clearly expressed in the response that the Councilor to the King gave to Louise: “...we grant you the necessary license and permit you to operate a school. This you shall do in the Saint-Lazare area of the Saint-Denis district on the condition that you teach poor girls only and do not accept others; that you educate them in good morals, grammar and other pious and honest subjects.” (SWLM:51 [L.41]). Small schools administered by the Daughters of Charity
  • 6. The rules for teachers and the Daughters who ministered in the rural areas were very explicit: gather together the girls who are taking care of the animals, at a time and in a place that is convenient for them, and teach them about the faith.* *La Compañia de las Hijas de la Caridad en sus Orígenes: Documentos, Editorial CEME, Santa Marta de Tormes, Salamanca, 2003. p. 440 In the rural villages, the Sisters were to approach those girls who, because of a lack of time or a lack of opportunity, were unable to go to school.
  • 7. Louise told the Sisters that they should be concerned about each one of the girls and that they should come to know the values and the abilities of each girl. Respect for the person was to be revealed in the way that the Sisters engaged in their ministry as teacher. Louise wanted to provide the girls with a sound formation that would prepare them for life.
  • 8. Source: “Louise de Marillac, a committed woman” [This article appeared in Volume II of En tiempos de San Vicente de Paúl … y hoy, Editorial CEME, Santa Marta de Tormes (Salamanca) Spain, 1997, p. 257-272. The above cited work was translated from the French by Martín Abaitua, CM (Au temps de St. Vincent-de-Paul… et aujourd ‘hui), Animation Vicentienne, 16, Grande rue Saínt-Michel, Toulouse, France … this work is not attributed to any one author but it is stated in the Introduction that the articles were written by various authors]. Images: Depaul Image Archive