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Saint Louis de Montfort

Saint Louis de Montfort
  • Century: 17th & 18th Century
  • Patronage: Ecumenism, Rejection
  • Feast Day: April 28th

St. Louis de Montfort was born on January 31, 1673.  He was a French Catholic Priest and Confessor.  He was known in his time as a preacher, and was made a Missionary Apostolic by Pope Clement XI.  He authored several classic Catholic books that influenced Popes.  He is best known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the practice of consistently praying the Rosary.  He is accredited as one of the early proponents of the field of Mariology as it is known today.  He is a candidate of becoming a Doctor of the Church.  His most notable works are “The Secret of Mary” and the “True Devotion to Mary”.  

He was born in Montfort-sur-Meu, and was the oldest surviving child of a large family.  His parents were known for being deeply Catholic.  He worked on his father’s farm, and at age the age of twelve, he entered the Jesuit College of St. Thomas Becket in Rennes.  It is here that he began his studies of philosophy and theology.  He became inspired to preach among the very poor.  Under the guidance of some of the Priests there, he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Soon through a benefactor he was sent to Paris to study at the renowned Seminary of St. Sulpice towards the end of 1693.  He was appointed as the librarian, so he had the opportunity to study spiritual writings, and especially the Christian life of the Virgin Mary.  

Louis was known for his veneration toward the angels.  He urged others to show respect and tenderness towards their guardian angels.  His devotion to the angels was propagated, through his Jesuit teachers, and from his desire to venerate pure spirits.  Also, there were many publications in his time on this practice.  He was ordained a Priest in June 1700.  He was assigned to Nantes.  Five months after his ordination he joined the Third Order of the Dominicans and asked permission not only to preach the Rosary, but to also form Rosary Confraternities.  His prayer was, “I am continually asking in my prayers for a poor and small company of good Priests to preach missions and retreats under the standard and protection of the Blessed Virgin”.  This led to the formation of the Company of Mary.  He became frustrated with the local Bishops and made a pilgrimage to Rome to ask Pope Clement XI what he should do.  The Pope recognized his real vocation, and sent him back to France under the title of “Apostolic Missionary”.  

For several years he preached in missions from Brittany to Nantes, and his reputation as a Missionary Preacher grew.   He then left Nantes, and the next several years were spent in preaching missions, always traveling on foot.  He also found time to write, “True Devotion to Mary”, “The Secret of Mary”, “The Secret of the Rosary”, and rules for the Company of Mary.  Just before writing True Devotion he became a Dominican Tertiary.  Someone poisoned him for his heated style of preaching, but it was not fatal.  He went on preaching and established schools for poor boys and girls.  The Bishop of La Rochelle, had been impressed with Louis’s work for sometime, and asked him to open a school for him there.  In a short time, they had over 400 students.  

In April 1716, Louis worn out by hard work and sickness came to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, to begin his last mission.  He became ill and died on April 28th of that same year.  He was 43 years old, and had been a priest for only sixteen years.  His last sermon was the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father.  Thousands gathered for his burial in the parish church.  Almost immediately there were reports of miracles performed at his tomb.  On September 19, 1996, Pope John Paul II came to his tomb to meditate and pray.  Pope Pius XII canonized St. Louis de Montfort on July 20, 1947.  

Practical Take Away

St. Louis de Montfort was born on January 31, 1673.  He was a French Catholic Priest and Confessor.  He was known in his time as a preacher, and was made a Missionary Apostolic by Pope Clement XI.  He authored several classic Catholic books that influenced many Popes.  He is best known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the practice of consistently praying the Rosary.  He is accredited as one of the early proponents of the field of Mariology as it is known today.  He is a candidate of becoming a Doctor of the Church.  His most notable works are “The Secret of Mary” and the “True Devotion to Mary”.  Truly – he set the example for each of us to have a personal relationship with Mary, the mother of our Lord.