LOUIS – MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT
“The Man Who Walked with God”
(January 31, 1673 – April 28, 1716)
St. Louis de Montfort was born on January 1673 in a small hamlet called Montfort. His parents named him ‘Louis’ His mother was a pious woman who worked hard to educate and bring up the large family. From his early age he was devoted to Blessed Virgin Mary. At the age of eleven, he went to Rennes to study in Jesuit Institution. After 8 years of study, he left for Paris to study at St. Sulpice seminary to become a priest. On his way he crossed a bridge called ‘Cesson’ and took a radical decision never to be attached to any worldly possessions or material goods and to live a life of total dependence on God. He gave away everything to the poor and even exchanged his clothes with a beggar. He felt that ‘God alone’ was his father and Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother. He paid his fees by watching over dead bodies at night. He was ordained a priest in 1700 overcoming a lot of difficulties and problems.
Throughout his life he worked with the poor, orphans, destitute, widows, lepers and the sick. He lived the Gospel radically and challenged the rich who refused to share their wealth with the poor and the needy.
He started many schools for the poor and the youth. Worn out by his apostolate, weakened by his life of poverty and attempts of his life, he collapsed during a mission at Saint – Laurent – Sur – Serve and died on April 28, 1716 at the age of 43. People acclaimed Montfort a Saint followed by the church. Pope Pius XII canonized Montfort of July 27, 1947. Three congregations trace their foundation to St. Louis de Montfort. They are: Daughters of Wisdom, Company of Mary, Brothers of St. Gabriel. They continue the work and mission of Montfort all over the world.
In the beginning of 19th Century Fr. Gabriel Deshayes re-founded and gave a new impetus to the Brothers of St. Gabriel.