Mary – Vincent, Louise, and Us

Mary – Vincent, Louise, and Us

As we celebrate the feast of the Assumption, we can ask what is the connection between Mary, St. Vincent, St. Louise and us. The most obvious connection is that we are followers of Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor. At another level, we can ask more specifically what Mary meant to St. Vincent and Saint Louise as they followed Christ the Evangelizer. And what can she mean to us who seek to follow Christ the evangelizer of the Poor today.

In a study of Marian spirituality and the Vincentian charism noted researcher Fr. Corpus Delgado offers many insights. Some of them might be quite surprising especially when it comes to the feast of the Assumption.

[Read the full text at our partner site We are Vincentians Marian Spirituality and the Vincentian Charism.

Mary for Vincent, Louise and the Vincentian Family

First some context. The era of Vincent de Paul was characterized by the reaction of Catholics to the reformers. Therefore, there were multiple and often exaggerated expressions of devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Vincent – In the more than eight thousand pages of his letters and conferences, we find about two hundred references to the Virgin. Vincent de Paul only speaks about the Virgin in passing and then in a moderate manner. Yet, Vincent clearly proposed Mary as a model: You should take the example of the Blessed Virgin (CCD:IX:72) because the Blessed Virgin, better than anyone else, fathomed the essence [of virtue] and showed how to practice them (CCD:XII:110).

Louise – In contrast to Vincent, we find many references to Mary in Louise’s correspondence and writings … at times these references are developed very systematically.

It is most probable that Louise did not know her mother … she always looked upon Mary as her only mother. Louise entrusted that which she most cherished to the Blessed Virgin, her only Mother: her son and the Company of the Daughters of Charity. She wanted the Company to be consecrated to Mary and to view Mary as its only Mother.

The Vincentian Family – We could say that the history of the Vincentian Family could not be understood without this reference to the Immaculate Virgin of the Miraculous Medal.

At the time of the apparitions to St. Catherine Labouré, the Congregation of the Mission, as well as the Company of the Daughters of Charity and the Confraternities of Charity, were practically dispersed and more or less fragmented. The Miraculous Medal and its Marian spirituality are decisive in understanding the rebirth of former Vincentian foundations.

Several groups belonging to the Vincentian Family have rooted themselves in these apparitions to St. Catherine Labouré: Vincentian Marian Youth, the Association of the Miraculous Medal and groups that have arisen from these.

Frederick Ozanam (1813-1853) died on the feast of the birth of Our Lady, a feast for which he had great devotion throughout his entire life. He himself carried the medal and took an interest in communicating the conversion of Ratisbonne through the intercession of the Virgin of the Medal. He established the day of the Immaculate Conception as a feast for the Conferences.

The Constitutions of the Daughters of Charity and of the CM, the Statutes of the Vincentian Marian Youth and the Association of the Miraculous Medal, as well as the practices of other groups, show us the value of the experience of Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal as a source of Marian Spirituality in the Vincentian Family

Pope Francis is well known for his devotion to Mary

Some questions

    • Have I ever consciously reflected on the impact of Mary on our Vincentian Family?
    • Have I noticed that Pope Francis visits Marian Shrines in every country he visits?
    • Am I aware of the depth of his teaching on Mary as the Star of the New Evangelization?


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