Louise was a young widow who lived in Paris at the same time as Vincent de Paul. She belonged to the nobility, but her experience of personal rejection by her family as a child born outside of marriage, made her particularly sensitive to the suffering of others. Vincent sought her help in organising the Confraternities of Charity and in responding to the needs of people who were stricken by poverty, famine and war.
Louise had a profound conviction of God’s love for her and for His people. This love urged her to bring her extraordinary administrative ability to the relief of every kind of human suffering. Together with Vincent, who became her lifelong friend and collaborator, she founded the Daughters of Charity. These were soon nursing the sick poor in their homes and in hospitals, as well as taking care of older people and abandoned children. They also went into the prisons to bring food and medicine and a word of comfort to the galley slaves, and they even went on to the battlefields to nurse the wounded soldiers. Louise promoted free education for girls, the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients and the distribution of tools and seed and other means of livelihood, to war refugees.
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