28th April 2016 sees the three hundredth anniversary of the death of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716).
This great saint and devotee of the Blessed Virgin died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in the Vendée region of France while preaching a parish mission there, carrying out his preferred form of priestly ministry, in which he had been confirmed and encouraged by Pope Clement XI himself during a pilgrimage to Rome in 1706.
Though, at his death, he had completed barely 16 years of priesthood, during that time he had preached more than 200 parish missions, using his own innovative services and ideas to bring the ordinary people closer to God.
In all his missions, and in all that he preached in other ways (parish retreats, etc.), he taught and encouraged the form of devotion to the Blessed Virgin that he called ‘the perfect devotion to Mary’, because it brings Christians most closely into relationship with Jesus Christ, our Redeemer:
‘Total Consecration of oneself to Jesus through Mary’
This is the teaching of his best-known writings: ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin’ and ‘The Secret of Mary’, teaching which has influenced so many people, not least Pope St John Paul II, who often acknowledged his debt to St Louis Marie, and even took his own motto, ‘Totus Tuus’, directly from Montfort himself.
Among other writings of the Saint are: ‘The Love of Eternal Wisdom’, ‘The Secret of the Rosary’, ‘A Letter to the Friends of the Cross’, as well as more than 160 hymns, set largely to popular tunes of his day, which were intended as teaching vehicles for a simple people that was his main audience, and other occasional works (rules for various groups, and quite a number of personal letters, which give us a taste of the man and his life).
St Louis Marie founded 2 religious congregations to carry on his own work: the Company of Mary and the Daughters of Wisdom (Sisters of ‘La Sagesse’), and from his inspiration and the small group of the Company of Mary, arose, later, the Brothers of St Gabriel – a congregation of teaching Brothers, who have done particularly well in Asia (India, Thailand).
Also, do not miss:
33 Day Consecration to Jesus Through Mary, Inspired by St Louis Marie de Monfort.
Compiled by John Pridmore and Niall Slattery