St. Louise de Marillac was born on August 15, 1591, near Meux, France. She received her education at the Dominican convent at Poissy, Although she discerned a calling to religious life, after discussing it with her spiritual confessor, she decided to marry Antony LeGras instead, in 1613.
After Antony’s death in 1625, Louise began to think again of entering religious life. She met St. Vincent de Paul, and he became her spiritual director. Through his guidance, she formed a group of women dedicated to serving the sick, poor, and neglected.
In 1642, Louise wrote the formal Rule for the Daughters of Charity, and they received approval from the Vatican the following year. She then began traveling around France, forming convents and instituting Daughters as workers in hospitals, orphanages, and anywhere else they could help the poor and neglected.
St. Louise died in 1660 in Paris. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1934, and was named the patron saint of social workers in 1960.