Born on 30 Jan. 1673 in Montfort-sur-Meu, near Rennes, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was a Catholic priest, a tireless missionary, whose evangelical witness was required in the face of the well-meaning circles of his time, penetrated by the error of Jansenist theories. Beatified in January 1888, he was canonized and became a saint on July 20, 1947. He is celebrated on April 28.
The life of Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort is that of the long wandering of a priest consumed by the love of God and the Virgin Mary. Rejecting the conveniences of his time, poor among the poor, he traveled the roads of the kingdom, always on foot, with only his breviary, his rosary, his statuette of the Virgin, and his discipline. His steps led him from his native Brittany (we can still visit his birthplace in Montfort-sur-Meu) to Paris, then to Poitiers, Nantes, Normandy, Brittany again.
His life’s work was made up of success (he was adored by the peasants, beggars, the sick, sinners, prostitutes) and disappointments: he made a scandal of the clerical and bourgeois circles of his time, attracted, even convinced by Jansenism. Far from accepting the comfortable life conferred on him by his status in the clergy, he took the teaching of the Gospel literally and shook up the established order, without worrying about the consequences. With his rags and his ruined shoes, he preached on the roads, converted the poor, the beggars, faced the drunkards, the debauched, and the bandits. As soon as he spoke, his ugly physique was forgotten, so much that people were caught by this warm, passionate convincing voice. A hermit in his own time, he took advantage of his solitude to write the documents that make up his work today. For educational purposes, he composed many hymns on top of common existing secular melodies, making them easy to remember.
In Nantes, in Poitiers, he was dismissed several times, as he put so much effort into the passionate exercise of his mission to save souls. So much so that he ended up going to Rome (on foot) to meet the Pope, Clement XI. Was he to announce the reign of God in another country? No, the pope sent him back to France as an apostolic missionary.
The last four years of his life were dazzling with faith and holiness. He converted the Vendée by increasing missions, processions, and communication to the populations, a living faith that has been transmitted until today in the west of France. He died at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre on 28 April 1716 at the age of 43.
Several biographies of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort have been written (see the bottom of the article, in the section “Getting to Know Grignion de Monfort”).
The saint’s faith is entirely turned to Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to whom he had devoted himself thus: “I choose you this day, O Mary, in the presence of the whole heavenly court, for my mother and my queen. I give you and consecrate, in all submission and love, my body and soul, my inner and outer goods, and the very value of my good deeds past, present and future, leaving you with a full and complete right to dispose of me and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to your good pleasure, to the greatest glory of God, in time and eternity. ”
“Totus tuus”, “I am all yours, Mary.” Saint John Paul II made the saint’s words of consecration to the Virgin his papal motto. His Marian spirituality was entirely inspired by that of Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
Indeed, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort is today considered one of the modern masters of Marian theology. His devotion is Christocentric: it is by establishing ourselves in Mary that we will find Jesus. Becoming slaves of love for Mary becomes a way of life. “The saint’s Marian thought,” wrote Saint John Paul II, “is rooted in the Trinitarian mystery and in the truth of the Incarnation of the Word of God.”
A request to this effect was submitted by Bishop François Garnier, bishop of Luçon. Before such a proclamation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith must give its consent, for the Church incorporates the teaching of the 32 doctors of the Church whom it has recognized to date.
The Society of Mary, known by its Latin name SMM, Societas Mariae Montfortana, today brings together some 800 missionaries in 32 countries. With a look of predilection for the poorest, they fit into the most disadvantaged circles of the countries to which they are sent. Always on the road, they live on Providence.
Originally called the Brothers of the Holy Spirit, it is a male congregation of pontifical right, devoted mainly to the education of young people, especially children with disabilities. Today, 1200 brothers work in 33 countries and 15 religious provinces.
A Congregation founded by Marie-Louise Trichet (Marie-Louise of Jesus) whose vocation had been revealed during the visit of the saint to the hospital of Poitiers. First in charge of the sick poor, she then founded charity schools for the education of poor children. In 2005, there were 2,000 nuns working on five continents. 680 in France, in 66 communities. Marie-Louise Trichet was beatified on May 16, 1993.
For three centuries, the Society of Jesus, the Brothers of Saint Gabriel, and the Daughters of Wisdom have formed the great Montfortian family.
Three essential documents reflect the Marian theology of the saint: the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, The Love of Eternal Wisdom (various publishers) and The Secret of Mary
The Complete Works of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort are published in the original French by Editions du Seuil. They can also be found in various English translations from different publishers in different countries, so the exact titles can sometimes differ. The original works include:
The “Livre d’Or” (Golden Book) also includes the main writings of the saint, namely the main works above as well as the Burning Prayer and the Letter to the Friends of the Cross. It also includes spiritual elements, consecration, inner practice, prayers and the Fraternity of Mary Queen of Hearts.
Tips for praying the rosary: The Secret of the Most Holy Rosary to Convert and Save Yourself (Original: Le Secret Admirable du Très Saint Rosaire pour se convertir et se sauver), from Editions du Seuil.
Quote about the Rosary: “The Rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, our Redeemer, who loves his Mother so much.”
The novena in the storm in honor of Notre-Dame, mediator of all graces and of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, is not strictly speaking a writing of the saint, but it takes from it the Litanies and the Prayers.
Many books and biographies are devoted to the life of the saint. These include:
Four short films are available on the Internet from the website of the Brothers of Saint-Gabriel:
A short film was shot in 2013 thanks to the Nantes Heritage Society and screened in 2014 at the cathedral of Nantes.