From there, each time Louise’s life veered toward any kind of social normalcy, something would happen to block her, once again, from the comfort of fitting in. Unlike the focused life trajectories of her successful Catholic peers, Louise was all over the place.
In many ways — an unstable home life, failure to complete a Catholic education, absence of extended family support, roadblocks and confusion in her vocation — Louise’s early life lacked the basic hallmarks commonly ascribed to Catholic success. In the 1600s, it must have seemed like she was on the loser track for women.
And yet, the Lord assured Louise that despite all the difficulties and confusion, she was right where she was supposed to be.
Some well-intentioned biographers splice out Louise’s dysfunctional family problems, rejections and predicated social failures in an attempt to construct a sweeter, simpler saint story. But these revisions eliminate the integral details that testify to God’s personal providence in Louise’s life: We can trace each disappointment in her formative years to a strength in the ministry of her later years.
Perhaps, like St. Louise de Marillac, the places in our lives where we most feel like failures will be the tools that God uses to accomplish prolific good in the world.
Please read more about Louise's life and legacy in my latest over at FemCatholic!