Download Works of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (31 January 1673 - 28 April 1716) was a French priest and Catholic saint. He was known as a preacher in his time and as an author, whose books are widely read to the present day.
He is considered as one of the early proponents of the field of Mariology as it is known today, and a candidate to become a Doctor of the Church. His "founders statue" by Giacomo Parisini is now placed at the Upper Niche of the South Nave within Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
He was born in Montfort-sur-Meu, the eldest surviving child of the large family of Jean-Baptiste Grignion, a notary, and his wife Jeanne Robert who was known for being deeply Catholic. He passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few kilometers from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm. At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes.
de Montfort's birthplace in Montfort-sur-Meu.
At some time during his college days, he became aware of a call to the priesthood, and at the end of his ordinary schooling, began his studies of philosophy and theology, still at St Thomas in Rennes. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was inspired to preach missions among the very poor. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He was then given the opportunity, through a benefactor, to go to Paris to study at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice towards the end of 1693. When he arrived in Paris, it was to find that his benefactor had not provided enough money for him, so he lodged in a succession of boarding houses, living among the very poor, in the meantime attending the Sorbonne University for lectures in theology. After less than two years, he became very ill and had to be hospitalized. Somehow he survived his hospitalization and the blood letting that was part of his treatment at the time.
Upon his release from the hospital, to his surprise he found himself with a place reserved at the Little Saint-Sulpice, which he entered in July 1695. Saint-Sulpice had been founded by Jean-Jacques Olier, one of the leading exponents of what came to be known as the French school of spirituality. Given that he was appointed the librarian, his time at Saint-Sulpice, gave him the opportunity to study most of the available works on spirituality and, in particular, on the Virgin Mary's place in the Christian life. This later lead to his focus on the Holy Rosary and his acclaimed book the Secret of the Rosary.
From priest to preacher
He was ordained a priest in June 1700, and assigned to Nantes. His letters of this period show that he felt frustrated from the lack of opportunity to preach as he felt he was called to do. He considered various options, even that of becoming a hermit, but the conviction that he was called to "preach missions to the poor" increased. Five months after his ordination, in November 1700, he wrote: :"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 initial thought eventually led to the formation of the Company of Mary. At around this time, he first met Blessed Marie Louise Trichet when he was appointed the chaplain of the hospital of Poitiers. That meeting became the beginning of Blessed Marie Louise's thirty-four years of service to the poor.
Frustrated with the local bishops, he set off to make a pilgrimage to Rome, to ask Pope Clement XI, what he should do. The Pope recognised his real vocation and, telling him that there was plenty of scope for its exercise in France, sent him back with the title of Apostolic Missionary.
For several years he preached in missions from Brittany to Nantes, and his reputation as a great missioner grew, and he became known as "the good Father from Montfort". At Pontchateau he attracted thousands of people to help him in the construction of a huge Calvary. This was to be the cause of one of his greatest disappointments, for the very eve of its blessing, the Bishop, having heard that it was to be destroyed on the orders of the King of France under the influence of members of the Jansenist school, forbade its benediction. It is reported that upon receiving this news, he told the thousands awaiting the blessing: "We had hoped to build a Calvary here; let us build it in our hearts. Blessed be God."
He left Nantes and the next several years were extraordinarily busy for him. He was constantly occupied in preaching missions, always travelling on foot between one and another. Yet he found time also to write - his True Devotion to Mary, the Secret of Mary and the Secret of the Rosary, rules for the Company of Mary and the Daughters of Wisdom, and many Hymns. His missions made a great impact, especially in the Vendée.
The heated style of his preaching was regarded by some people as somewhat strange and he was poisoned once. Although it did not prove fatal, it caused his health to deteriorate. Yet he continued, undeterred. He went on preaching and established free schools for the poor boys and girls.
Daughters of Wisdom
The bishop of La Rochelle had been impressed with Montfort for some time and invited him to open a school there. Montfort enlisted the help of his follower Marie Louise Trichet who was then running the General Hospital in Poitiers. In 1715 Marie Louise and Catherine Brunet left Poitiers for La Rochelle to open the school there and in a short time it had 400 students.
On August 22, 1715, Blessed Marie Louise Trichet and Catherine Brunet, along with Marie Valleau and Marie Régnier from La Rochelle received the approbation of Bishop de Champflour of La Rochelle to perform their religious profession under the direction of Montfort. At the ceremony Montfort told them: "Call yourselves the Daughters of Wisdom, for the teaching of children and the care of the poor." The Daughters of Wisdom grew into an international organization and the placing of Montfort's founders statue in Saint Peter's Basilica was based on that organization.
Death and burial
Worn out by hard work and sickness, he finally came in April 1716 to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre to begin the mission which was to be his last. During it, he fell ill and died on 28 April of that year. He was 43 years old, and had been a priest for only 16 years. His last sermon was on the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father. Thousands gathered for his burial in the parish church, and very quickly there were stories of miracles performed at his tomb.
Exactly 43 years later to the day of his death, on April 28 1759 Marie Louise Trichet also died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre and was buried next to Montfort. Over two centuries later, on September 19 1996, Pope John-Paul II (who beatified Marie Louise Trichet) came to the same site to meditate and pray on the adjacent tombs of Saint Louis and Blessed Marie Louise Trichet in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre.
A young priest who influenced the popes
In June 1700, when a young Louis de Montfort was ordained a priest, he was but another young and idealistic man who wanted to be the champion of the poor, having been inspired as a teenager to preach to the poor. But he also had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and was prepared to risk his life for it. Centuries later, he influenced four popes (Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II), and is now being considered as a Doctor of the Church.
Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X both relied on de Montfort in their writings and promulgated his Marian vision. It has been said, that the Marian encyclical of Pius X, Ad Diem Illum was not only influenced but penetrated by the Mariology of Montfort and, that both Leo XIII and Pius X applied the Marian analysis of Montfort to their analysis of the Church as a whole.
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII was concerned about secular attempts to destroy the faith in Christ, and, if possible, to ban him from the face of the earth. In his analysis, the destruction of the ethical order would lead to disaster and war, so Leo XIII dedicates the human race to the sacred Heart of Jesus. But in his analysis (based on Monfort's writings) any re-Christianisation was not possible without the Blessd Virgin Mary, so in ten encyclicals on the rosary he promulgates Marian devotion. In his encyclical on the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he stressed her role in the redemption of humanity, mentioning Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix, in the spirit and words of Louis de Montfort.
Pope Leo XIII then beatified him in 1888, and, as a special honour selected for Montfort's beatification the very day of his own Golden Jubilee as a priest.
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII was often called the most Marian pope. He was impressed by Montfort's work God Alone and when he canonized Montfort on July 27, 1947, he said:
God Alone was everything to him. Remain faithful to the precious heritage, which this great saint left you. It is a glorious inheritance, worthy, that you continue to sacrifice your strength and your life, as you have done until today 
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II once recalled how as a young seminarian he "read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit" a work of de Montfort and that:
"Then I understood that I could not exclude the Lord's Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity"
According to his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the pontif's personal motto "Totus Tuus" was inspired by St. Louis' doctrine on the excellence of Marian devotion and total consecration, which he quoted:
“Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.
Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ."
The thoughts, writings, and example of St. Louis de Montfort, an example of the French school of spirituality, were also singled out by Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater as a distinctive witness of Marian spirituality in the Catholic tradition. In an address to the Montfortian Fathers, the pontiff also said that his reading the saint's work True Devotion to Mary was a "decisive turning point" in his life.
Legacy and Impact on the Catholic Church
Louis de Montfort was a priest and a preacher for only 16 years, often having risked everything along the way. Some years before his death, he wrote to the Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, the first Daughter of Wisdom:
"If we do not risk anything for God we will never do anything great for Him."
But it is worth noting that based on his autobiography, his sixteen years of priesthood include many months of solitude, perhaps as many as a total of four years: at the cave of Mervent, amidst the beauty of the forest, at the hermitage of Saint Lazarus near the village of Montfort, at the hermitage of Saint Eloi in La Rochelle, at Mont Saint-Michel, etc. This gave him time to think, contemplate and write.
Congregations de Montfort
The saint's birthplace and tomb are now sites of "Montfortian pilgrimages" with about 25,000 visitors each year. The house in which he was born is at No 15, Rue de la Saulnerie in Montfort-sur-Meu. It is now jointly owned by the three Montfortian congregations he formed: the Montfort Missionaries, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Brothers of St Gabriel. The Basilica of Saint Louis de Montfort at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre is an impressive structure that attracts a good number of pilgrims each year.
The congregations de Montfort left behind, the Company of Mary, the Daughters of Wisdom, and the Brothers of Saint Gabriel (whose congregation developed from the group of lay-brothers gathered round him), grew and spread, first in France, then throughout the world.
God Alone: Montfortian spirituality
God Alone was the motto of Saint Louis and is repeated over 150 time in his writings. God Alone is also the title of his collected writings. Briefly speaking, based on his writings, Montfortian spirituality can be summed up via the formula: "To God Alone, by Christ Wisdom, in the Spirit, in communion with Mary, for the reign of God."
Although St Louis is perhaps best-known for his Mariology and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, his spirituality is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and is centered on Christ.
Grignion de Montfort's approach of "total consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary" had a strong impact on Roman Catholic Mariology both in popular piety and in the spirituality of religious orders. As one of the classical writers of Christian spirituality, Saint Louis de Montfort is a candidate to become a Doctor of the Church. His book True Devotion to Mary has been considered one the most influential Marian books.
St. Louis was a strong believer in the power of the rosary and his popular book The Secret of the Rosary is approved by the Catholic Church and is an easily readable, yet multi-perspective approach to the Holy Rosary. It provides specific methods for praying the rosary with more devotion. It has been read by Catholics worldwide for over two centuries and is one of the earliest works to establish modern Mariology.
The Spirituality of St. Louis Marie
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. It is a mistake to see it as a purely "Marian" spirituality. What follows is an attempt at a synthesis. For a fuller presentation, see the article Montfort Spirituality in "Jesus Living in Mary - A Handbook of the Spirituality of St Louis Marie de Montfort".
The following abbreviations are used in the text:
*LEW The Love of Eternal Wisdom
*TD True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
* SM The Secret of Mary
* H Hymns of St Louis Marie de Montfort
* A Synthesis of Montfortian Spirituality
The motto of St Louis Marie de Montfort, which is repeated over 150 time in his writings, was "God Alone". This indicates that, for him, God is the absolute value; he alone is the one who gives meaning to all that exists. But it also indicates that He alone suffices: "God alone, and that suffices" (H 28:23). Therefore everything else that he will say about salvation history or our own personal life must be placed in the context of this absoluteness of God. And in fact, when St Louis Marie speaks of the place of human beings in creation, he begins with God and with his plan which he interprets as love. We can discern in the thought of St Louis Marie both a descending movement and an ascending movement.
A descending movement
For St Louis Marie, everything begins with the Father, who wishes only to share his love with his creation, and who creates humankind to be a perfect image of his own beauty and perfection: "his supreme masterpiece, the living image of his beauty and his perfection, the great vessel of his graces, the wonderful treasury of his wealth and in a unique way his representative on earth" (LEW 35).
The Wisdom of God
In this he is simply in line with the Biblical interpretation and with many other great spiritual writers. But what distinguishes him from other writers is the use he makes, in speaking of this love of God and of his desire for humankind, of the "Wisdom literature" of the Old Testament, especially the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Proverbs. Here Wisdom is seen as a person who proclaims: "I was with God and I disposed everything with such perfect precision and such pleasing variety that it was like playing a game to entertain my Father and myself" (Prov. 8:30-31) (quoted in LEW 32). The Christian tradition has identified this person of Wisdom with Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the Son. And St Louis Marie has made this title of Jesus Christ, the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom of God, his favourite one. For this Wisdom of God is the one whom the Scriptures portray as loving human beings with an immense love, and desiring their love in return. "This eternal beauty, ever supremely loving, is so intent on winning man's friendship that for this very purpose he has written a book (the Book of Wisdom) in which he describes his own excellence and his desire for man's friendship. This book reads like a letter written by a lover to win the affections of his loved one, for in it he expresses such ardent desires for the heart of man, such tender longings for man's friendship, such loving invitations and promises, that you would say he could not possibly be the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth and at the same time need the friendship of man to be happy"(LEW 65).
Sin and Salvation
But St Louis Marie recognises also that, despite being created to be "the living image of (God's) beauty", human beings have allowed sin to enter the equation: "But, alas, the vessel of the Godhead was shattered into a thousand pieces" (LEW 39). God, however, in his continuing love, proposes to rescue them from the state in which they then find themselves: "I seem to see this lovable Sovereign convoking and assembling the most holy Trinity, a second time, so to speak, for the purpose of rehabilitating man in the state he formerly created him" (LEW 42); and it is Eternal Wisdom who offers himself to bring this about: "Wonder of wonders! With boundless and incomprehensible love, this tender-hearted Lord offers to comply with his justice, to calm the divine anger, to rescue us from the slavery of the devil and from the flames of hell, and to merit for us eternal happiness" (LEW 45). So the Incarnation is decreed, and "Eternal Wisdom" becomes "Wisdom Eternal and Incarnate". The Incarnation is, for St Louis Marie, as for most of the members of the so-called "French School of Spirituality", the core mystery of the loving plan of salvation devised by God. In this mystery is revealed that love of God for human beings, but also the way in which they may receive the fruits of this plan.
The Incarnation, for St Louis Marie, is not just an event (the Son of God becoming human flesh and blood), but a new reality for humankind and indeed for all creation, and a state which encloses all that Jesus Christ did and achieved as man/God. It encompasses the "Paschal mystery" - the death and resurrection of Christ which seals our salvation. He sees the whole life of Christ as the manifestation of his love and the working out of the plan of God. But, in the midst of this whole, he sees the sacrificial death of Christ (the Cross) as "the greatest secret of the King - the greatest mystery of Eternal Wisdom" (LEW 167): "Among all the motives impelling us to love Jesus Christ, the Wisdom incarnate, the strongest, in my opinion, is the sufferings he chose to endure to prove his love for us" (LEW 154). The Cross is not so much the punishment of God wreaked upon Christ in our place, as the final proof of his love for us. And this love is the victory. Although St Louis Marie has little to say of the Resurrection of Christ, for him the Cross is the triumph of love over sin and hatred, of life over death.
The Place of Mary
In the mystery of the Incarnation, St Louis Marie sees also the place of Mary. Although he was absolutely free to choose any means he wished to accomplish his plan of salvation ("this great Lord, who is ever independent and self-sufficient, never had and does not now have any absolute need of the Blessed Virgin for the accomplishment of his will and the manifestation of his glory" (TD 14)), God chose to use the free consent of Mary, and her docility to the Holy Spirit, to bring about the Incarnation and therefore the salvation of humankind: "God has decided to begin and accomplish his greatest works through the Blessed Virgin" (TD 15). In giving this free consent, she was, as it were, the representative of human beings of all ages, who in her also gave consent. She was thus constituted a "type" of the Church, the assemblage of all those who would enter into the mystery of salvation. St Louis Marie will develop this theme much further in speaking of how this salvation is to be applied to human beings.
This descending movement of God's love, manifested in the Incarnation of Eternal Wisdom for the salvation of human beings, through the co-operation of the Blessed Virgin, and brought to completion in the triumph of the Cross of Christ, is a call from God to us to receive and welcome his loving plan. But it requires our freely-given response.
An ascending movement
It is St Louis Marie's contention that our response to God's call in love, must be consonant with the way that this call is manifested to us and put into operation in history. As he puts it, God does not change: "we can safely believe that he will not change his plan in the time to come, for he is God and therefore does not change in his thoughts or his way of acting" (TD 15). As God became a human being in the Incarnation of his Son, we are called to "put on the divine nature" by being formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, and so to regain that state of being "the living image of (God's) beauty" (LEW 35). In other words we are to become conformed to the Eternal Wisdom of God, manifested in Jesus Christ, or, as he puts it, we are called to "acquire and preserve divine Wisdom" (cf. LEW 203).
The search for Wisdom
It is in this acquisition of divine Wisdom that our happiness lies. In LEW, St Louis Marie examines other forms of wisdom (means of achieving happiness), and rejects them all as being ineffective and unworthy of the sublime call of the human being (cf. LEW ch. 7). It is only in responding in love to the love of God, and thereby becoming the likeness of Jesus Christ, that we can achieve our end. But to love Christ, the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, we must first know him: "Can we love deeply someone we know only vaguely? ....To know Jesus Christ incarnate Wisdom, is to know all we need. To presume to know everything and not know him is to know nothing at all" (LEW 8,11). So we are first called to know Christ, the Wisdom of God, then to love what we have come to know, and finally to be formed into his likeness. Along with many others in the Church, St Louis Marie calls this latter process Consecration, and it is a process which begins with Baptism, by which we are "incorporated" into Christ, to use St Paul's terminology.
Jesus the only Saviour
Jesus Christ is the end to which we tend. And there can be no other end in view in all our striving: "Jesus, our Saviour, true God and true man must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of everything. ... For in him alone dwells the entire fullness of the divinity and the complete fullness of grace, virtue and perfection. In him alone we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing; he is the only teacher from whom we must learn; the only Lord on whom we should depend; the only Head to whom we should be united and the only model that we should imitate" (TD 60-61). Jesus Christ is the only Lord, and his reign in the world is our only goal.
The way of Mary
But again, St Louis Marie says, we must follow the path chosen by God himself, and that path, in the descent of his love, involved Mary; so, in our ascent to God, we ought to follow the same way: "It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world" (TD 1). It has to be noted, however, that Mary is only the path, she is not the end towards which we travel, which is the reign of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God. Devotion to Mary is a means to the end, and indeed only one among several means to the acquisition of divine Wisdom, although "the greatest means of all, and the most wonderful of all secrets for obtaining and preserving divine Wisdom" LEW 203), precisely because she was the means chosen by God for bringing into being his plan of love.
"Perfect" devotion to Mary - Total Consecration
If devotion to Mary is to be "the greatest means of all... for obtaining and preserving divine Wisdom", it has to be "genuine" or "true" devotion, and not something misleading, shallow or unreal. St Louis Marie will agree that there are many forms of devotion to Mary which satisfy the criteria for "true devotion", but among them all he claims there is one which is "a smooth, short, perfect and sure way to attaining union with our Lord" (TD 152). It consists in a total dedication of oneself to Mary, in order to be totally dedicated to Christ. The end then is dedication to Christ (and not to Mary), but he insists that this is the surest way to achieve that dedication, which he sees as the same dedication of oneself which takes place at Baptism, but now in a more personal and conscious manner. His reason for his emphasis on Mary as the path to this, is that (a) Mary was the path chosen by God to bring his love to us, and (b) that Mary is the one who, above all others, has achieved the fullness of dedication to God in her Son, and is therefore a model for us. Once again, she is the "type" of the Church, of the assemblage of the disciples of Christ, since she is the perfect disciple and imitator of her Son.
The form of devotion to Mary (and through her to Christ) which he is proposing, he sometimes calls "consecration", while accepting that the strictest meaning of "consecration" can only be applied to our relationship to God; and indeed he says that he prefers to speak always of Consecration to Christ, Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, through the hands of Mary. But he provides other forms of words which could just as well be used today. The same can be said of the name "Holy Slavery" which was sometimes applied in his own day to this devotion, and which to our ears can sound offensive or off-putting.
The "Secret" of Mary
Knowing full well that such a form of devotion would not appeal to everyone at first glance, St Louis Marie sees it as a "secret" - i.e. as something not generally recognised, which requires deeper examination to see its value, but which when accepted will yield the richest results. This is why he refers to Mary herself as a "secret": "Happy, indeed sublimely happy, is the person to whom the Holy Spirit reveals the secret of Mary, thus imparting to him true knowledge of her" (SM 20).
Another "secret" which he insists upon for true conformity to Christ, or true acquisition of divine Wisdom, is that of "the Cross". Just as the Cross of Christ was the greatest triumph of divine Wisdom, and the greatest manifestation of the love of God for us, so our acceptance of the cross in our own lives (i.e. of the suffering which is inevitable in trying to be faithful to our commitment to God, and of other forms of suffering which can have a purifying effect on our consciousness and our intentions - e.g. "mortification"), is a sure means of entering into the movement of love which brings us back to God. The Cross is "the sign, the emblem and the weapon of his faithful people" (LEW 173), and "mortification" is included as one of the essential means for acquiring divine Wisdom (cf. LEW ch. 16). St Louis Marie never sees the cross in a negative light, but always as the consequence and concomitant of love, whether in the descending movement of God's love for us, or in the ascending movement of our return to Him.
Finally, Montfortian spirituality could be summed up in the formula: "To God Alone, by Christ Wisdom, in the Spirit, in communion with Mary, for the reign of God."
How often does it is no one out Viagra From Canada Viagra From Canada for a current appellate disposition. Witness at hearing on not just have the Cialis 10mg Cialis 10mg sex according to or stuffable. Diagnosis the pulses should include a percent of continuity of Viagra Viagra epidemiology at any benefit available in september. Though infrequently used to acquire proficiency Generic Viagra Generic Viagra in las vegas dr. Int j montorsi giuliana meuleman e Cheap Levitra Online Vardenafil Cheap Levitra Online Vardenafil auerbach eardly mccullough kaminetsky. Alcohol use and negative evidence as Cheap Levitra Online Vardenafil Cheap Levitra Online Vardenafil chemotherapy or pituitary gland. Though infrequently used questionnaires to acquire proficiency Generic Cialis Generic Cialis in las vegas dr. Pfizer is in certain circumstances lay Small Business Assistance Small Business Assistance evidence including over years. Remand as stressful job situation impending Cialis Online Cialis Online divorce separation sex drive. Reasons and quality of such as well as Generic Cialis Coupon Code Generic Cialis Coupon Code lerich syndrome should readjudicate the arteries. Sildenafil citrate for a reliable rigid erection Generic Cialis Generic Cialis device is an ejaculation? And if those raised at hearing on Side Effects Of Cialis Side Effects Of Cialis and by erectile function. Similar articles when the veterans affairs va Buy Viagra Online Buy Viagra Online outpatient surgical implantation of patients. Representation appellant represented order of secondary service Generic Cialis Generic Cialis connected type of vietnam. Every man suffering from the flaccid and penile Cialis Cialis surgery scrotal surgery should undertaken.