Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort was born in a little town in Brittany in 1673, the eldest of seventeen children. He was ordained a priest in 1700. Most of his priestly career was devoted to preaching against the heresy of Jansenism which had taken a strong hold in France. In his preaching he constantly taught devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He stressed the fact that she is the Mediator between God and men. In 1716, worn out by his constant labor, he was struck by a fatal illness. Just before he died, he cried out: "You attack me in vain; I stand between Jesus and Mary. I have finished my course. I shall sin no more."
For a long time after his death, De Montfort was almost forgotten. Then, about a century later, discussion of his virtues began. In 1853, Rome decreed his writings to be exempt from all error that could be a bar to his canonization. He was beatified in 1888 and canonized on July 20, 1947.
Sometime between his ordination in 1700 and his death in 1716, De Montfort wrote True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Secret of Mary. As he wrote he said, "If I thought that my poor blood could help to carry the truths that I write in my dear Mother's honor to the hearts of men, I would use it instead of ink to form the letters." But he foretold that the little book would not come to light for a long time. He said that the devil would "envelop it in the silence of a coffer, in order that it might not appear." He went on to prophesy that eventually it would appear and that it would be successful. These prophesies were fully realized. The manuscript was lost for 126 years, but the book is now widely circulated. Although St. Louis Marie lived and died long before the period covered by his book, he belongs in any study of the Blessed Mother to the world.
The True Devotion preached by St. Louis Marie was total consecration to the Blessed Virgin. We give her all our earthly possessions, all our thoughts, words and deeds. Mary exists only to honor God and to serve Him, so when we offer these things to Mary we really offer them to God through Mary. St. Louis Marie says that we should make ourselves slaves of Mary. He calls his devotion "the slavery of Jesus in Mary."
"God wishes that His Holy Mother should be at the present time more known, more loved and more honored than she has ever been," St. Louis Marie tells us. This statement helps to explain the many manifestations of the Blessed Virgin in the last centuries, and the increase in devotion to her. The manuscript of True Devotion was found in 1842. In the twelve years preceding its finding, there had been manifestations of the Blessed Mother at the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, at Blangy, and at the shrine of Our Lady of Victories in Paris. Four years later, our Lady was to appear to the children at La Salette. Twelve years later the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception was to be defined.
Three years after our Lady was to appear to Bernadette at Lourdes. In 1917 she appeared to the children at Fatima. Many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin have since been reported. Truly, it seems that God wants His Mother more known, more loved, and more honored than ever before.
Why does God wish this? "It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun and it is through Mary that is must be consummated. Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Spirit, in order that through her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served......." It was through Mary that our Lord came into the world the first time. It is through her that He will come back to the world. In order to accomplish this, Mary herself must become better known and better loved. St. Louis Marie then elaborates on why God "wishes to reveal and make known the masterpiece of His hands in these latter times:
"It is by her that souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life, that is Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But no one can find Mary who does not seek her, and no one can seek her who does not know her. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known."
Source: The Woman shall conquer. Don Sharkey.