St. Louis Marie de Montfort
Louis Marie de Monfort was born on January 31, 1673 at Montfort, France. He was very devoted as a child to the Blessed Sacrament, paying a visit to the church before and after school each day from the time he was twelve. He studied with the Jesuits at Rennes and joined a society of young men who attended to the needs of the poor in the hospitals, reading them edifying books. He traveled by foot to Paris for his course in theology, giving his good clothing to the poor in exchange for theirs and vowing to live on alms. He was ordained at twenty-seven and initially was chaplain at a hospital. In 1705, he began preaching retreats, traveling from village to village. He was a very gifted preacher and many were converted through his obvious love of God. Followers of Jansenism, a harsh heretical trend of thought which affected many Catholics, were not pleased with his success and some Jansenists persecuted the popular preacher, going so far as to put poison in his soup. He suffered poor health for the rest of his life from this attack. Despite all opposition Father de Monfort succeeded in founding two religious orders, the Daughters of Wisdom and the Company of Mary— a group of missionary priests, during the year before he died. The two orders he founded numbered only a few members at his death on April 28, 1716, but grew steadily and are still in existence; the Company of Mary is now called the Monfort Missionaries. Many years after his death, one of his priests found his manuscript True Devotion to Mary, which outlines the beautiful devotion of consecrating oneself entirely to the Blessed Mother. The manuscript was published and is now considered a spiritual classic. De Monfort also wrote the classic Secret of the Rosary. St. Louis Marie de Monfort was canonized in 1947.