We celebrate three important events this month: Mother’s Day, the Feast of St. Louise de Marillac and Memorial Day. 

Let us honor these days by thanking God for the people who have given their lives for others whether it be our mothers, St. Louise, or the men and women who have defended our liberty.

Mother’s Day

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, we wish all mothers in our Vincentian Family a most Happy Mother’s Day.  On this day we celebrate the unconditional love of mothers to their children and children’s love for their mother’s.  “Love always, protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” (1 Cor. Ch 13)

We acknowledge the tremendous impact mothers have on their children.  Let us gratefully admit the fact that none of us can give back to our mothers, in the same measure, all the sacrificial love that they have given us. 

On Mother’s Day as we honor and pray for our earthly mothers, let us also be reminded of our heavenly Mother, Mary. 

Let us ask God’s blessing on all mothers: Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers.  Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.  Grant that we, their sons, and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound love and respect.  Likewise, bless all mothers who have gone to their eternal reward.  Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

St. Louise de Marillac

What a fitting month to celebrate the feast of St. Louise de Marillac, as she too was a mother.  On May 9, we celebrate the life of St. Louise.  The Vincentian Sisters of Charity, who merged with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the corporate sponsor of Vincentian Collaborative System, are able to trace their history back to St. Louise.

Born near Meux, France on August 12, 1591, Louise lost her mother when she was still a child and her beloved father when she was 15.  Louise was a member of the powerful de Marillac family and was well educated.  In 1613, she married Antoine Le Gras (secretary to Queen Marie de Medicis of France), by whom she had a son, Michel.  Widowed in 1625, she had already chosen Vincent de Paul as her spiritual guide, and he encouraged her to undertake charitable works.  She trained girls in the spiritual life and taught them to assist in visiting, feeding, and nursing the needy.

In 1633, Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity with Louise as their superior.  Because they were neither enclosed nor called nuns, their concept pioneered in bringing women into religious service outside the cloister. Indeed, the congregation was the first non-cloistered religious institute of women devoted to active charitable works. Louise traveled throughout France, establishing her community members in hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions.  At her death on March 15, 1660, the congregation had more than 40 houses in France.  Six months later Vincent de Paul followed her in death.  Louise de Marillac was canonized in 1934 and declared patroness of social workers in 1960.

Memorial Day

With Gratitude and Honor, by J. Veltri, SJ

Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend, we remember and give thanks for those who have given their lives in the service of our country.  When the need was greatest, they stepped forward and did their duty to defend the freedoms that we enjoy, and to win the same for others.

O God, you yourself have taught us that no love is greater than that which gives itself for another.  These honored dead gave the most precious gift they had, life itself, for loved ones and neighbors, for comrades and country—and for us.

Help us to honor their memory by caring for the family members they have left behind, by ensuring that their wounded comrades are properly cared for, by being watchful caretakers of the freedoms for which they gave their lives, and by demanding that no other young men and women follow them to a soldier’s grave unless the reason is worthy, and the cause is just.

Let us ask God: Holy One, help us to remember that freedom is not free.  There are times when its cost is, indeed, dear.  Never let us forget those who paid so terrible a price to ensure that freedom would be our legacy. Though their names may fade with the passing of generations, may we never forget what they have done.  Help us to be worthy of their sacrifice.  O God, help us to be worthy.  Amen.