Saint Louise de Marillac. Feast Day. 15th March. Louise was born in to a noble wealthy family in 1951 in Meux in the Picardy region of France. She received an excellent education at the” Royal Monastery of Poissy,” where her aunt was a Dominican nun. From the age of 15 she greatly desired to enter the cloistered life but due to her frail health her application was denied. When she was 22 she married Antoine de Gras and had one son called Michel. In 1621 her husband contracted a chronic illness and in 1625 he died. Louise suffered terribly with depression after her husbands death and was counselled by St Francis de Sales who encouraged her to pursue her religious vocation. Louise however had experienced a vision of her future spiritual advisor that came to light in the person of St Vincent de Paul. In 1629 Vincent de Paul invited her to assist him with the “Confraternities of Charity”, in the parishes of France. Louise was a passionate hardworking character totally dedicated to the needs of the poor and afflicted and in 1633 she set up a training school in her own home to educate young women and to address their needs . From this humble beginning developed the religious community of, “The Daughters of Charity”, which soon became established throughout Europe. In 1634 Louise took her religious vows and by the time of her death in 1660 the congregation had more than fifty homes in France. Louise was canonised in 1934 by Pope Pius XI and in 1960 Pope John XXIII declared her the patron saint of social workers.
Saint Patrick the Apostle of Ireland. Feast Day march 17th. Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain in 387 AD, his father was a Christian deacon and his grandfather a priest. At the age of 16 he was captured by Irish brigands who took him back to Ireland and sold him to a chief of Antrim. For six years he tended his masters sheep. During this time as a shepherd boy he experienced a life of great austerity and he grew stronger in his faith turning to prayer .A vision from God gave him courage to escape and flee back to his family in England. Here he began his clerical training spending several years in Auxerre in France. At the age of 43 Patrick was consecrated as a bishop, he knew in his heart that his true vocation was to convert a predominantly pagan emerald Isle to Christianity. In a vision he experienced it appeared that all the Irish children from their mothers wombs were holding out their hands to him . In 432 he was appointed successor to Palladius as Missionary Bishop of Ireland by Pope Celestine 1. In 454 he established his episcopal seat in Armagh ,which became the centre of Christianity in Ireland. During a period of 40 years he travelled through Ireland evangelizing and spreading the Good News of the Gospel, building many churches and monasteries. Patrick was fearless and relentless in his mission to destroy paganism . He is wildly associated with the shamrock as he often used it to explain the Holy Trinity to would be converts. Patricks most popular work is entitled ,” The Confession”. Tradition states that he died in Saul where he established his first Church , his body is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral in Down -Patrick in Ireland.
Saint Joseph , Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast Day. 19th March. Saint Jospeh was predestined by God to be the foster father of Jesus and spouse and earthly guardian of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most of what we know about him comes from the gospels of Matthew and Luke who describe him as an upright and just man. Despite his humble profession as a carpenter Joseph came from a royal lineage from the house of King David. Joseph plays an integral part in God’s plan for salvation of mankind as his heritage directly links Jesus with the Line of King David the line form which the old testament prophets declared that the Messiah would come. Although he is only Jesus foster father, It is because he and Mary are connected to this line that they have to travel to Bethlehem to comply with the Census and so the prophecy is fulfilled. After a vision from an angel which convinces him that Mary is carrying God’s Son Joseph remains loyal to God’s will for the rest of his life . Joseph is a loyal loving kind and gentle father his upmost concern is for the safety and provision of this special child entrusted to him on earth by God and it is to Joseph that the angel appears in St Matthews gospel to warn him to flee and seek shelter in Egypt with his family from the wrath of King Herod. It is believed that he died before the Crucifixion of our Lord . In 1870 Pope Pius 1X announced him as the patron saint of expectant mothers , virgins, fathers, unborn children , workers and immigrants. “Saint Joseph patron of the Universal Church watch over the Church as carefully as you watched over Jesus , help protect it and guide it as you did with your adopted son.”