St. Louis de Montfort

montfort 02

King Louis XIV

River Mur at Montfort  village

Montfort’s Birthplace

Cesson bridge in Rennes

The Sulpice Seminary

Poitiers Hill

Madame de Montespan

Mont Valerien

Rue de  Pot de fer

Brother Mathurin

Loreto

Loreto

Pope Clement XI

Saint Giuseppe Maria Tomasi di Lampedusa

Mt. St. Miehae

Street of Dinan

Ponchateau

Mervant Grotto

montfort 22

Cesson bridge in Rennes

Cesson bridge in Rennes

Cesson bridge in Rennes

Cesson bridge in Rennes

Life of Fr. Montfort

Situation in France at that time

  • France was a super power in Europe and ruled by King Louis the XIV.

  • There were a lot of wars during the reign of Louis XIV.

  • Jansenism spread in France.

  • There was caste system.

Family situation

  • They (the Grignion) lived in Montfort-la-Cane.

  • Their ancestor could be traced back to 1610 A.D. 

  • Mr. Grignion was from a middle class family, a lawyer by profession.

  • The Grignion was quite a big family with four sons and six daughters.

Louis’ birth

  • He was born on 31st January 1673 and was baptized a day later.

  • He was raised up by a nurse named Mother Andre and after two and a half year, he returned to live with his family.

  • His father taught him the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing & Arithmatic); and his mother taught him the 4th R (Religion).

  • He helped his parents to look after his brothers and sisters.

  • The family moved to live at Bois-Marquer, a village near Montfort la Cane. 

  • He was closed to his mother and consoled her during difficult times with his father.

  • His mother came from a noble family in Rennes.

Chapter II

Joining St. Thomas Becket  College in Rennes.

  • In 1684 he went to study at St. Thomas Becket College, Rennes – a Jesuit College with about three thousand students.

  • He stayed with his uncle, Fr. Alain Robert till his family moved to Rennes in 1686.

  • He was very devoted to Our Lady and his favourite statue of Our Lady was “Our Lady of Miracles” at St. Saviour Church.

  • There were about four hundred students in his class and he was a good student, getting many rewards and he stood the first in his class.

  • There were many good Jesuit teachers who influenced him in many good ways. 

  • He had few closed friends such as John Baptist Blain who wrote his biography and Claude Poullart des Places who founded the Holy Spirit Congregation and promised to send him missionaries.

  • He loved painting and sculpture.

  • He felt called to be a priest and entered the Seminary at Paris in 1693.

Chapter III

Seminary life in Paris

  • Miss de Montigny found a benefactress who promised to pay for his seminary expenses at Paris.

  • He was inspired by Genesis 12:1, to leave everything and to trust in the providence of God.

  • He walked from Rennes to Paris as a pilgrim.

  • In Paris first, he stayed at Fr. Barmondiere community (1693-94) when Fr. Barmondiere died, he was accepted in Fr. Boucher’s community (1694-95) before being admitted into the Little Seminary.

  • When he was with Fr. Barmondiere, he took classes at Sorbonne University; there was a famine in France and his benefactress abandoned him so he had to go to earn money by watching dead bodies.

  • During the stay with Fr. Boucher, he got so sick that they thought he would die; he regained his health and was accepted in the Little Seminary.

Chapter IV

The Little Seminary (1695-1700)

  • There were many types of Seminaries in St. Sulpice compound.

  • He was taught the spirituality of St. Sulpice.

  • He loved to read good spiritual books, especially about Mary, Jesus, etc.

  • They tried to change his “singularity” by putting him under the care of Fr. Brenier for six months.

  • They gave him special duties as a Librarian and then sacristan which he did very well.

  • He made pilgrimage to Chartes before the ordination in 1700.

Chapter V

After ordination

  • Montfort was ordained on 5th May 1700 by Bishop Flamanville.

  • He had a desire to become a missionary in mission land but his superior did not agree to his idea.

  • They kept him as a professor at the Seminary for a few months.

  • He went to Nantes with Fr. Leveque to learn to teach Catechism to the villagers.

  • He met Madamme de Montespan who knew the Bishop of Poitiers, at Fontevrault; she advised him to go see that Bishop.

  • The Bishop consulted Fr. Leschassier, his spiritual director, who endorsed Montfort to work in Poitiers.

  • The Bishop appointed him chaplain of the poor house in Poitier in 1701.

  • He tried to reform the poor house in many ways.

  • March 1702, Bishop Girard died.

  • Montfort setup an association “Wisdom” consisting of poor girls.

  • Marie Louis Trichet followed him as the first Daughter of Wisdom by working at the poor house.

  • She was invited to work at the poor house in order to test her vocation.

  • She received grey habit on 2nd February 1703.

  • Opposition arose against him at the poor house so, he left the place.

Chapter VI

Montfort went to Paris

  • In Paris he stayed at La Salpetriere, a poor house, with about five thousand poor people.

  • He helped forming the poor spiritually and helped consoling them.

  • Other workers did not like his way of working and dismissed him after five months.

  • He stayed in a recess at Pot-de-Fer street in a very poor situation but God compensated him by giving him the gift of prayer.

  • In this place he studied by borrowing books from the nearby Jesuit Novitiate and gave talks to the Holy Spirit seminarians.

  • He wrote “The Love of Eternal Wisdom”.

  • The Archbishop of Paris asked him to settle the problem at the Hermitage at Valenain.

  • In 1704 the poor at Poitiers asked the Bishop to send him back to stay with them.

  • He went back to the poor house in Poitiers and also preached to the people around Portiers.

  • Bro. Mathurin followed him in 1706.

  • The Bishop sent him away from his diocese because many people did not like him and complained to the bishop.

Chapter VII

Pilgrimage to Rome.

  • He walked to Rome with a Spanish student as his only companion in order to get permission from the Pope to work in mission land.

  • They stopped at Loreto before reaching Rome.

  • He had an audience with Pope Clement XI, with the helped of Fr. Thomassi, the pope’s confessor.

  • The Pope conferred the title “Apostolic Missionary” on him and told him to work submissively under the Bishops in France.

  • He walked back to Poitiers to get Bro. Marthurin, then, they walked to Dinan to join Fr. Leuduger and learnt about missionary work.

Joining the group of Mr. Leuduger in Dinan

  • He was working with the group following them from village to village in 1707.

  • The priests in the team got jealous of him because people praised him in many ways.

  • At Moncontour, he made collection during a preaching on death which other priests accused him of going against the rule of the group, so they asked him to leave.

  • He went and made retreat at the hermitage of St. Lazare with Bros. Marthurin and John.

  • People came to know about him and he started preaching to them. In the end the bishop sent him away.

Chapter VIII

At Nantes

  • He came to work in Nantes at the invitation of Mgr. Barrin.

  • Mgr. Barrin first asked Montfort to work with the Jesuits in order to test him.

  • Montfort then formed his own team for giving mission in different parishes in Nantes – his work was successful.

  • He had a gift of changing peoples’ hearts. ท่านมีพรสวรรค์ในด้านเปลี่ยนจิตใจผู้คน

  • He organized people to build Calvary at Ponchateau which took almost fifteen months to finish, from 1710-1711.

  • The authority ordered it to be demolished and Montfort accepted all these as the will of God.

  • From 1710-1711 he went to stay at Cour Cathuit; to set up a hospital for the incurables.

  • There was big flood in Nantes at that time and he pioneered to help the victims of the flood.

Chapter IX

La Rochelle and his death (1711-1716)

  • From 1711-1716 he went to La Rochelle, preaching missions and establishing charitable schools.

  • He was poisoned by his enemy but he took the antidote in time.

  • He worked in cooperation with Bishop Chamflour and other priests.

  • In 1712 he wrote the “True Devotion to Mary”.

  • In 1713 he went to Paris to the Seminary of the Holy Spirit to get vocation and then he journeyed on to Rouen to talk with his friend, Fr. Blain.

  • He called Sr. Marie Louise from the poorhouse in Poitiers to work at the girl charitable school in La Rochelle that he had founded.

  • He set up charitable schools for the Brothers to take care.

  • He underwent operation at the hospital in La Rochelle during this period.

  • He died of pneumonia while preaching mission at St. Laurent-sur-serve on 28th April 1716 and was buried there.

The summary of the last will of Montfort.

  1. Bury my body in the cemetery and my heart under the step of the altar of the Blessed Virgin.

  2. Give my furniture and mission books to the 4 Brothers namely, Bros. Nicolas, Philippe, Louis and Gabriel. (These were 4 professed Brothers at the time of Montfort’s death)

  3. Give the statues of Calvary and the cross to the Sisters of the Incurables at Nantes.

  4. Give 135 pounds to Nicolas of Poitiers.

  5. If Bros. James, John and Mathurin wanted to leave, each should receive 10 crowns from the common fund. (These were Brothers without vows.)

  6. Give 2 pieces of land given by the wife of Lieutenant of Vouvant to the Brothers of the Holy Spirit for charitable schools.

  7. Give 3 banners to Our Lady of Patience, 4 to Our Lady of Victories and each banner to every parish of Aunis where the rosary is still being said.

  8. Give my six volumes of sermons to Fr. Bouris and my four volumes of the “Catechism for country people” to Fr. Clisson.

  9. Give whatever is left over from the fund to Fr. Vatel.

  10. Pay to the printer whatever I owe.

  11. Fr. Mulot will be the executor of my will.

Further information about the will of Montfort.

  1. The will was written by Fr. Rene Mulot at the dictate of Fr. Montfort on his death bed on the 27th of April 1716.

  2. There were 2 witnesses for the will namely, Fr. Rene Felix Rougeau, Dean of St. Laurent and the curator of the parish by the name of Francis Friault.

  3. Fr. Montfort signed the will by his own hand.