Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28: St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, C., O.P., Comm.

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Paul of the Cross.  In addition, we make a commemoration of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, confessor, of the Order of Preachers.  The feast is III Class and the ordinary office is prayed according to the rubrics.  At Lauds and Vespers, the commemoration of St. Louis M.G. de Montfort is made.

This feast appears to be a casualty of the 1961 calendar revision that the Order made, which “Romanized” the Dominican calendar and brought it into closer line with that of the Roman calendar.  Prior to the 1961 revision, today would have been the feast of St. Louis, and a commemoration would have been made of St. Paul of the Cross.  Indeed, that is how it is listed in my 1959 St. Dominic Missal and the 1955 English translation of the Martyrology.  The feast would have been the equivalent of a III Class feast.

From the Martyrology:
At the town of St. Laurent-sur-Sévres,, in the Diocese of Luçon, St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort, confessor, of the Third Order of Penance of St. Dominic. He was the founder of both the Congregation of the Missionary Priests of Mary, and of the Sisters of Divine Wisdom. Illustrious for his virtues and miracles, Leo XIII added his name to the roll of the Blessed.
 From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

Louis Marie Grignon, called de Montfort from the place of his birth, was born in Brittany of poor but pious parents of noble family, in the year 1673.  In his youth he delighted in inducing his little sister and her companions to recite the Rosary, encouraging them to the practice by small presents. After going through his studies at the Jesuit College at Rennes, he repaired to Paris for his theological course and entered the Seminary of Saint Sulpice. Here his entire disregard of human respect in his practices of piety drew upon him many painful and humiliating trials, whilst his perfect obedience secured him from every illusion.  Having been ordained priest, he returned to the west of France, and devoted himself to missionary labors. After a time he went on pilgrimage to Rome and entreated the Pope to send him to preach the Gospel in the East; but the Holy Father assured him that God called him, not to foreign missions, but to combat the errors of the day in his own country.

The remainder of his life was entirely consecrated to evangelizing the western provinces of France, where, in the space of twelve years, he gave more than two hundred retreats and missions. Wherever he preached he established the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary, making arrangements, if possible, for its daily recital. He had a great taste for drawing and painting, but, from a spirit of mortification, or for fear of distracting himself from the presence of God, he early made an entire sacrifice of this his favorite recreation. His great gift for poetry was wholly used in the service of his Divine Master, and many of the most popular hymns still used in France were written by him.

In 1710 he made his profession in the Third Order of Saint Dominic in the Convent of Friars Preachers at Nantes; and, like his holy Father, he continually strove to draw down the blessing of God on his apostolic labors by the practice of the severest penances. He was an object of hatred to the Jansenists, who at that time were insidiously spreading their errors in France. In many places they contrived to poison the minds of the Bishops against the servant of God by cruel calumnies, and sufferings and humiliations were his lifelong portion. On one occasion when, after fifteen months' labor, he had May 23 almost completed the erection of a gigantic Calvary at a place called Pontchateau in the diocese of Nantes, he was suddenly forbidden to proceed with the undertaking, found himself banished from the diocese, and beheld the work which had cost him so much labor destroyed by the hands of the militia of the district. In this bitter trial he saw nothing but the accomplishment of the holy will of God. "God be blessed," said he tranquilly; "God be blessed. I did not seek my own glory, but only the glory of God. I hope to receive from Him the same reward as if I had succeeded." At La Rochelle the Calvinists, irritated by the many conversions which the holy man had effected, attempted to poison him, and he suffered from the effects of the draught during the rest of his life.

Blessed Louis founded schools and hospitals, and everywhere labored for the restoration of the churches, which were at that time in a very dilapidated state. He established Missionaries to continue his work under the title of the Society of Mary, a Congregation of religious women called "Filles de la Sagesse" (Daughters of Wisdom), and a pious Association called "Brethren of the Holy Ghost."

Worn out by his labors and penances, the servant of God continued to devote himself to preaching till within a few days of his death, which took place on April 28, A.D. 1716, when he was only forty-three years of age. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee, A.D. 1888.


O God, you made your confessor, the holy Louis Mary, a wonderful preacher of the mystery of the cross and of the most holy rosary, and though him you implanted a new Order in your church; grant us by his intercession and merits, that through the life, death and resurrection of your only-begotten Son, we may obtain the rewards of eternal salvation.  Through the same…