April 27, 2016

April 28th: Optional Memorial of Saint Louis Mary de Montfort, Priest, Confessor & Founder

St. Louis Mary de Montfort
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was born January 31, 1673 in Montfort-sur-Meu, France. At 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket where he began his study of philosophy and theology. In 1693, thanks to a generous benefactor, Louis went to Paris to complete his priestly formation at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice. Upon arrival, he discovered his benefactor had not paid the tuition in full. As a result, Luis lodged in boarding houses, living among the poor, while attending lectures in theology at Sorbonne University. His seminary studies were interrupted by a two-year bout with illness, during which he nearly died. These experiences profoundly shaped Louis' spirituality and priesthood.

Luis was ordained a priest in 1700. He is one of the earliest writers in the field of Mariology. His works include, The Love of Eternal Wisdom, The Secret of the Rosary, The Secret of Mary, and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Luis spread devotion to the rosary and held a deep reverence for the angelic helpers of human beings the angels. He was a missionary apostolic in France preaching and conducting parish missions especially in Brittany and the Vendee. He went on to found the Daughters of Wisdom and before his death established a society of priests, the Company of Mary, to continue his work. Luis died at St. Laurent-sur-Sevre April 28, 1716. He was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

The Life of St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Louis's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the church. Totus tuus (completely yours) was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla chose it as his episcopal motto. Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes (France), as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.

Soon he began preaching parish missions throughout western France. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.

Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion.

Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.

Excerpted from Saint of the Day, Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

For an excellent book on Montfort’s Marian spirituality see The Echo of God: A Commentary for Beginners on St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary, by Fr. Lance W. Harlow.

Consider making St. Louis de Montfort's 33 Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Resolve to say the rosary each day, if you do not already do so.

Collect Prayer

O God, who for the spreading of your Church crowned Saint Peter Chanel with martyrdom, grant that, in these days of paschal joy, we may so celebrate the mysteries of Christ's Death and Resurrection as to bear worthy witness to newness of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer of St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Our Father who art in heaven, you completely fill heaven and earth with the immensity of your being; you are present everywhere; you are in the saints by your glory, in the damned by your justice, in the good by your grace, even in sinners by your patience, tolerating them. Grant that we may always remember that we come from you and that we may live as your true children. Grant that we may set our true course according to your will and never swerve from you. Grant that we may use our every power, our hearts and souls and strength to tend toward you, and you alone. Amen.

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