The Catholic Defender: Saint Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort Louis de Montfort – patron of preacher
Saint of the Day: He was born in 1673, 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; Pope John Paul II chose it as his episcopal motto.
Louis de Montfort is well known today because of the popularity of his Total Consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary. What is not as well-known is his connection with the Dominican Order.
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 a diocesan priest in 1700.
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
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.
In True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort prophesied that the army of souls consecrated to Mary will be Her instrument in defeating the Devil and his Antichrist. As Satan gains power in the world, so much more shall the new Eve triumph over him and crush his head.
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.
St Louis Marie de Montfort is probably best-known for his devotion to our Blessed Lady. However, his particular spirituality is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and is truly Christocentric.
Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947, and his liturgical feast is celebrated on April 28.
Like Mary, Louis experienced challenges in his efforts to follow Jesus. Opposed at times in his preaching and in his other ministries, Louis knew with Saint Paul, “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7). Any attempt to succeed by worldly standards runs the risk of betraying the Good News of Jesus. Mary is “the first and most perfect disciple,” as the late Sulpician Father Raymond Brown described her.
Even as a seminarian in Paris, Montfort was known for the veneration he had toward the angels: he "urged his confreres to show marks of respect and tenderness to their guardian angels." He often ended his letters with a salutation to the guardian angel of the person to whom he was writing: "I salute your guardian angel". He also saluted all the angels in the city of Nantes, a custom that, it appears, he repeated when he entered a new village or city
The three voices quoted hereafter highlight the importance of rediscovering the rosary for all Christians. The rosary leads into the mystery of God; the Luminous Mysteries, more specifically, are a spiritual pathway into God's own light.
He prayed to St. Michael The Archangel to obtain from him the grace to win souls for God, to confirm those already in God's grace, and to fight Satan and sin". These occasions gave him time to think, contemplate and write.
He was known in his time as a preacher and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI.
under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, canonized Montfort on 20 July 1947
During his years preaching missions, Louis met a woman named Marie Louise Trichet, with whom he founded the Daughters of Wisdom, an order of religious sisters who tended to the poor. After meeting Louis and founding this order with him, Marie would spend the remainder of her life serving the poor, until her death in 1759. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993.