St. Louis-Marie De Montfort

St. Louis-Marie De Montfort was well known for writing and preaching on the importance of devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort

Feast Day 28th April

Louis Marie Grignion was born on 31st January, 1673, in the little town of Montfort-la-Canne, located in Brittany, France. Through the generosity of a benefactor he was able to study for the priesthood at St. Sulpice in Paris, having made the 200 mile journey there on foot. Even with the help of a benefactor, life was difficult in Paris and he lodged in a succession of boarding houses, living among the very poor. He was ordained a priest in 1700 at the age of 27.

Fr Louis had wanted to become a missionary in Canada, but he was advised to remain in France. There he travelled around the western part of the country from diocese to diocese and from parish to parish instructing the people, preaching, helping the poor, hearing confession, giving retreats, opening schools and rebuilding church buildings. He became known as “the good Father from Montfort”.

Nevertheless he encountered great opposition, perhaps the greatest being from the propagators of the Jansenist heresy (expounding a harsh moral rigorism), who were very active in France at the time. In contrast de Montfort preached tender confidence in Mary and union with her Divine Son. Consequently Fr de Montfort made a pilgrimage to Rome by foot, and asked the Pope if he was doing Gods will. He was told by Pope Clement XI to continue his missionary work in France and he sent him back with the title of “Missionary Apostolic”, but told him to always work under the obedience of the diocese authorities.

Fr Louis de Montfort founded two religious orders, the Daughters of Wisdom in 1703, begun with a number of poor and afflicted girls at the hospital of Poitiers, where he was temporary chaplain and the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (Montfort Fathers and Brothers) founded in 1715. The Brothers of St. Gabriel, a teaching order, also claim St. Louis de Montfort as their spiritual Father.

Worn out by hard work and sickness Fr Louis de Montfort died on the 28th April, 1716 at the age of 43. He had been a priest only 16 years. He left several writings, the most famous being the Secret of the Rosary, True Devotion to Mary and the Secret of Mary. These books were based on sermons that he had given when travelling around France.

St Louis Marie de Montfort has had a great influence on subsequent popes, most especially Leo XIII, St Pius X, Pius XII and St John Paul II. He was canonized a Saint in 1947 and is now being considered as a Doctor of the Church.

“Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ." (TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY, no. 120)

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