UNBORN WORD of the day

St. Louise de Marillac and Unborn Jesus
October 10, 2009, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Saints, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus


The Sanctuary of St. Mary of  the Assumption in Altotting Bogenberg on a hill overlooking the Danube is the second largest and oldest pilgrimage site in Bavaria. . The special feature of the arc mountain church, the sculpture of the pregnant Madonna (window in the womb with baby Jesus)

In a previous post on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton we mentioned that both she and St. Louise de Marillac  had a devotion to Christ in the womb. (St. Elizabeth Seton formed her sisters in the Vincentian spirit according to the tradition of Louise de Marillac 1591-1660 and Vincent de Paul 1581-1660.) In that post, we highlighted some quotes from St. Elizabeth speaking of her devotion to Christ in the womb. In today’s post we would like to highlight St. Louise’s devotion.

In the book, Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac – Rules, Conferences and Writings, Vie Thorgren writes of St. Louise:  ” They remind us of the importance of the hidden years of Jesus’ life-hidden within the womb and hidden in a village noted only for its insignificance. As early as 1626, Louise began a daily practice of meditation on Jesus within the womb receiving his flesh and blood, which became the means of our redemption. Recognizing the fruitfulness of this meditation, she offered it as an enduring legacy to the Daughters of Charity.

In her Rule of Life in the world, St. Louise enumerates several devotional practices in honor of the Virgin Mary – one of these practices concerns Christ in the womb.

A quarter of an hour of prayer exactly at midday to honor the moment when the Incarnation of the Word took place in the womb of the Blessed Virgin.

In her own words, we learn from St. Louise herself,  of a personal devotional practice she had honoring the unborn Christ Child. St. Louise drew up a little rosary. She wrote to St. Vincent: “This little chaplet is the devotion for which I asked permission of your Charity three years ago as a personal devotion. I have in a small box a quantity of these little chaplets, along with some thoughts on this devotion written on a piece of paper, which with your permission, I wish to leave to all our sisters after my death. Not one of them knows it. It honors the hidden life of Our Lord in his state of imprisonment in the womb of the Blessed Virgin and congratulates her on her happiness during those nine months. The three small beads hail her under her beautiful titles of Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. That is the main thought behind the devotion. By the grace of God, unworthy as I am, I have continued this devotion since the time I mentioned, but I hope to discontinue it, aided by God’s same grace, if your Charity so orders. By means of this little exercise I intend to ask God, through the Incarnation of his Son and the prayers of the Blessed Virgin, for the purity necessary for the Company of the Sisters of Charity and for the steadfastness of this Company in keeping with his good pleasure.” Louise de Marillac, Spiritual Writings, L.303B

It seems that  St. Vincent had agreed to this devotional practice three years earlier but at this point he asked her to discontinue it. Even though St. Louise continued to believe that this was a devotion that Our Lady wanted her to practice – in holy obedience to St. Vincent she discontinued it.

She alludes to this in a letter: “I feel that I must tell your Charity that I was and still am sorry at having to abandon those little prayers because I believe that the Blessed Virgin wanted me to render her this small tribute of gratitude. But with her, I console myself by offering my renunciation to her and by resolving to please her in some other way and to serve her with greater fervor….” Louise de Marillac, Spiritual Writings, L.304

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[…] Monday March 15 is the feast day of St. Louise de Marillac. In an October 10, 2009 post entitled St. Louise de Marillac and Unborn Jesus – we talked about the chaplet that St. Louise developed to honor Unborn Jesus. In a book […]

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