JESUS LIVING IN MARY:
HANDBOOK OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT
PILGRIMAGE

Summary
I.	Saint Louis Marie de Montfort and the pilgrimage tradition.
II.	Montfort’s major pilgrimages: 
	1.	Chartres: Notre-Dame de Sous-Terre; 
	2.	Saumur: Notre-Dame des Ardilliers: 
		a.	1700, 
		b.	1701, 
		c.	1706, 
		d.	1716; 
	3.	Loreto and Rome; 
	4.	Mont-Saint-Michel; 
	5.	Holy sites created or restored by Montfort. 
III.	Montfort’s motivations as a pilgrim: 
	1.	The grace of touching hearts; 
	2.	The search for God; 
	3.	Profound communion with Mary. 
IV.	Pilgrimages with Saint Louis Marie: 
	1.	Montfort’s tomb; 
	2.	Following Montfort’s steps; 
	3.	Lourdes; 
	4.	The pilgrimage from Saint-Pompain to Notre Dame des 		
		Ardilliers, Saumur. 
V.	A model pilgrim for today and the future.

I. SAINT LOUIS MARIE DE MONTFORT AND THE PILGRIMAGE TRADITION
Several statues show Saint Louis Marie de Montfort as a pilgrim on the 
road, his gaze seemingly fixed on the hereafter rather than the passing 
geography. He carries the knapsack and staff that are the hallmark of 
the pilgrim and, at the end of his staff, the crucifix blessed by Pope 
Clement XI; he holds the statuette of "his good Mother" in his left 
hand, and his rosary is at his side. Throughout his life, he retained 
the bearing of a pilgrim: he requested charity "for the love of God," 
and as soon as the object of his pilgrimage came into view, he removed 
his shoes and approached barefooted.
The word "pilgrimage" comes from the Latin peregrinus. The root word 
is per-agrare, meaning "to travel a distance." To be a pilgrim was to 
travel far, to go to a foreign country and sojourn there. Later, 
"pilgrimage" came to mean a journey to a holy place, with a religious 
purpose.1
The origins of pilgrimages can be traced back even beyond Christian 
antiquity. Cultural anthropology has revealed three stages of 
pilgrimage: a. the victory over space, wherein pilgrims must break the 
routine of their daily life and journey elsewhere to change themselves 
from within; b. the contact with a sacred place by means of the abrazo, 
or embrace of a stone or statue, or by leaving a souvenir of one’s 
passing (a votive offering, inscriptions on the walls, etc.); c. the 
encounter with the divinity and the hereafter, which the holy place 
brings to mind.2
We frequently see the words "way, road, path" in the Bible. The 
Semites habitually expressed spiritual realities with concrete terms. 
They used these words to describe mankind’s way of life, moral conduct, 
and religious bearing. Abraham, who left Ur in Chaldea, exemplifies the 
spiritual pilgrim on the way of perfection. Since Abraham, all men of 
faith have been pilgrims marching in the desert toward the promised 
land. We are the people of God on pilgrimage.
Jesus said, "I am the way" (Jn 14:6), and thus forced us to reevaluate 
all worship tied to a particular place. The first Christians referred to 
early Christianity as "the Way" (Acts 9:2; 18:25; 19:9, 23; etc.). 
Although the Mosaic law requiring three pilgrimages had been abolished, 
pilgrimage in the early Church developed into an act of spontaneous and 
private devotion. In the West, pilgrims were attracted to the tombs of 
the Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome; in the East, they traveled to 
biblical sites, to the tombs of martyrs and saints, and to the dwelling 
places of well-known monks.3
In the Middle Ages, an entire spirituality of pilgrimage developed. 
There were two categories of pilgrims: those who hoped to obtain a 
bodily cure through a miracle and those who hoped to gain salvation for 
their soul; it often happened that both purposes fused into one.
At the close of the sixteenth century, from 1692 to 1700, Saint Louis 
Marie resided at the seminary of Saint Sulpice in Paris. In the short 
book Practices of Slavery to Jesus in Mary, a publication of the 
seminary, it is stated: "Once each month, out of devotion, two gentlemen 
travel in the name of the seminary, on a pilgrimage to a church or 
chapel dedicated to the Most Blessed Virgin; if they desire, they may 
receive Holy Communion there, as may be observed in every pilgrimage one 
makes."4 Jean-Baptiste Blain reports that in the company of several 
seminarians who were chosen from among the most fervent, Louis Marie 
went every Saturday to receive Communion at Notre-Dame de Paris. There 
he loved to kneel before "his Good Mother."5
In the eyes of the directors of Saint Sulpice, three pilgrimages were 
especially important: Chartres, Notre-Dame des Ardilliers at Saumur, and 
Loreto in Italy. Saint Louis Marie made all three, and many more 
besides, placing him in the tradition of the great pilgrims. He could 
have composed the motto that Newman chose for himself and indeed 
illustrated much later: "I am a pilgrim." "A pilgrim of the infinite," 
wrote Father Morineau in his portrait of St. Louis Marie, "a sublime 
vagabond," whose pace was so quick that the world proved too confining 
for him. His steps led him to teach mankind the meaning of life.6

 

II. MONTFORT’S MAJOR PILGRIMAGES
1. Chartres: Notre-Dame de Sous-Terre
Blain, a confidant of Louis Marie, described this pilgrimage to 
Chartres.7 The seminary at Saint Sulpice traditionally chose two 
seminarians each year "to travel on pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de 
Chartres. Montfort, on being chosen, received this happy commission with 
all the joy of his soul." So, in the summer of 1699, he made the 
pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Sous-Terre with his fellow seminarian 
Bardou. The journey took three days, which they spent alternately in 
silent meditation and in praying the Rosary. For meals, they requested 
bread in villages; they spent their nights in a barn. With Bardou, 
Montfort felt free to follow the impulse of his zeal. On the road, he 
"spoke of God to laborers and the poor whom he saw near and far, then 
rushed to catch up with his brother seminarian." His time in Chartres 
was spent in intense prayer. At the altar of Notre-Dame de Sous-Terre, 
"he received Communion in an excess of fervor and piety brought on by 
the grace of his surroundings. He persevered in prayer for six 
successive hours, on his knees, unmoving, as if in ecstacy." He spent 
the day in contemplative prayer, to the astonishment of his companion: 
"How is it that Grignion can converse with God for so long?"
2. Saumur: Notre-Dame des Ardilliers
Because de Foix, du Ferrier, and Olier—founders of Saint Sulpice 
seminary—had made a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers in 1641, 
this shrine of Our Lady was a favorite pilgrimage center for the 
seminarians of Saint Sulpice. Louis Marie de Montfort made this 
pilgrimage several times.
a. 1700. 
Just after being tapped to be a part of the community of missionaries 
directed by René Lévêque at Saint-Clément of Nantes, in September 1700, 
he traveled to Nantes. His journey took him to Saumur, to the holy 
sanctuary of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers.8 There, at the beginning of his 
priestly ministry, he prayed to Mary for the works that he planned to 
undertake.
b. 1701. 
At the beginning of October, Father de Montfort left Saint-Clément de 
Nantes for the General Hospital at Poitiers, responding to an urgent 
appeal by the bishop, Monsignor Girard. This was a new mission, and so 
he went to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers to request God’s mercy. He made a 
novena of prayers and distributed the money that Lévêque had given him 
to the poor who frequented the holy church, a concrete gesture of 
renouncement conforming to his missionary ideal.9
c. 1706. 
Father de Montfort returned from Rome, where Clement XI had invested 
him with the title Apostolic Missionary. His mission had been clearly 
defined: the Pope "enjoined him to apply himself to teaching Christian 
doctrine to the children and the people and to make the spirit of 
Christianity flourish once again through the renewal of baptismal 
promises."10 After a short stop in Poitiers to join Brother Mathurin, 
his faithful companion, he traveled to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers. He 
wished to entrust this new departure in his missionary life to the care 
of Mary and her sanctuary. He remained several days at Saumur. It was 
during this pilgrimage that he met St. Jeanne de la Noue, foundress of 
the sisters of Providence; he reassured her and encouraged her to 
persevere in her "extraordinarily austere" way of life.11
d. 1716.
 At the beginning of Lent 1716, thirty-three White Penitents of Saint 
Pompain proposed to Montfort that they make a pilgrimage on foot to 
Notre-Dame des Ardilliers de Saumur. Father Montfort agreed to their 
request and composed a highly detailed rule for them, indicating the 
objective of the pilgrimage and the means of accomplishing it: The 
Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Saumur made by the Penitents to obtain from 
God good Missionaries (PS).12 The two priests whom they had appointed to 
accompany them, Fathers Mulot and Vatel, were given the task of 
directing the pilgrimage. The purpose of the pilgrimage was clearly 
stated: "You will make this pilgrimage for the following intentions: 
Firstly, to obtain from God through Mary’s intercession good 
missionaries, who will follow the example of the apostles by complete 
abandonment to divine Providence and the practice of virtue, under the 
protection of Our Lady. Secondly, to obtain the gift of wisdom in order 
to know, love, and practice the truths of our faith and to lead others 
to Christ."
Montfort insisted that the thirty-three Penitents pray in common and 
that they always walk together as a group, except through villages, 
where they were to travel in twos. In particular, the rule recommended 
mutual charity, frequent silence, mortification, and complete obedience 
to their designated superior. The chapter on mortification bluntly 
states: "Unless they are prevented by sickness they try to fast during 
the whole pilgrimage." 
We should note "the day’s time-table." Montfort planned every detail. 
Upon their arrival in Saumur, the Penitents were to march two by two, 
feet bare; at the hour of Mass and Offices, they would refrain from 
singing so as not to disturb the ceremonies; at other times, their 
superior was to request permission from the sacristan to recite the 
Rosary. They were all to take Communion on the first day and the 
following day, "provided they have not committed any serious sin."
In this famous rule, the favorite devotions of Montfort are revealed, 
together with some of his prayers and hymns. The effort he demanded for 
an entire week from thirty-three lay people is quite astonishing.
On their return, Father de Montfort himself made one last sojourn to 
pray at Notre-Dame des Ardilliers with several brothers: Mathurin, 
Jacques, and Gabriel. After this pilgrimage, he journeyed to Saint-
Laurent-sur-Sèvre for his last mission. His "holy pilgrimage" on earth 
ended on April 28, 1716.
3. Loreto and Rome
At Poitiers, Father de Montfort had encountered a climate of opposition 
that threatened to obstruct his missionary activity and render all his 
work useless. Dismissed by his bishop, he decided to travel to Rome and 
request the advice of the Pope to see where God called him next. It was 
a long journey. He traveled in poverty; he gave away the coins in his 
pocket and required the same of his companion en route. He ate and 
lodged "as Providence led him."
On his way, he took the opportunity to stop and pray at a place 
frequented by pilgrims: the Holy House of Loreto. Happy to follow the 
example of his masters at Saint Sulpice, he prayed and meditated at 
length on the mystery of the Incarnation, the foundation of his 
spirituality. He remained there fifteen days.
Rome marked the last stage of his long pilgrimage. As soon as he saw 
the dome of St. Peter’s basilica, "he prostrated himself, his face 
pressed to the ground. When he arose, he removed his shoes and traveled 
the final distance barefoot."13 Montfort was granted an audience with 
Clement XI on June 6. He admitted to having been seized with an 
extraordinary respect in the presence of the Pope, believing he saw 
Jesus Christ himself in the form of his Vicar. This interview gave 
Montfort the answer to his questions and a definitive direction to his 
career. As a memento of this pilgrimage, he carried back with him his 
indulgenced crucifix, attached to his pilgrim’s staff.14
4. Mont-Saint-Michel
Saint Louis Marie was named an Apostolic Missionary by Clement XI. From 
Rome he returned to France, sought out Brother Mathurin at the abbey of 
Ligugé, and made a retreat of eight days at the parish house of clerical 
friends near Poitiers. When he finished his retreat, his plans were 
decided: he would commit his new missions to the protection of the Most 
Holy Virgin Mary and the Archangel Saint Michael. With Brother Mathurin, 
he went to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers and, passing by Angers, proceeded 
on to Mont-Saint-Michel.
The two pilgrims arrived there on September 28, 1706, the eve of the 
feast of the archangel. To this unique setting, an incomparable 
encounter of nature and art, Montfort came to live, as it were, a 
soldier’s vigil at the foot of Saint Michael. The next day, the feast 
day, he spent in prayer. Since his days at Saint Sulpice, the missionary 
had nourished a special devotion to the holy angels. Now he required the 
aid of Saint Michael, the conqueror of Satan and patron of France, the 
apostolic field conferred on him by the Pope. At Mont-Saint-Michel he 
drew the apostolic strength to make him invincible in spiritual combat.
5. Holy sites created or restored by Montfort
The saint made all of his journeys on foot, traveling from parish to 
parish, from Rennes to Paris, Paris to Nantes, Nantes to Poitiers, and 
so on, living like a pilgrim. He himself created, or restored, various 
sites of pilgrimage: in 1705 at Montbernage in Poitiers, the sanctuary 
of Mary, Queen of All Hearts; in 1707 at Montfort-sur-Meu, the chapel of 
Our Lady of Wisdom, and at la Chèze in Brittany, the chapel of Our Lady 
of the Cross; in 1710, the chapel of Mary, Our Lady Queen of All Hearts, 
at Nantes and the Calvary of Pontchâteau; in 1711, at La Garnache, the 
chapel of Our Lady of Victories; in 1712, Our Lady of Good Help in the 
church of Sallertaine; in 1713, the chapel of Our Lady of All Patience 
at La Séguinière, near Cholet.

 

III. MONTFORT’S MOTIVATIONS AS A PILGRIM
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort is justifiably considered a great pilgrim. 
He appears to have traveled many thousands of miles on foot. Why did he 
make so many pilgrimages? We can discern from his writings some of the 
motivations that led him to undertake his numerous journeys.
1. The grace of touching hearts
In 1708, toward All Saints’ Day, Montfort preached at Bréal, in 
Brittany. The parish priest, Father Hindré, was astonished at his 
success and expressed his surprise. Montfort confided, "Sir, my dear 
friend, . . . I have made more than two thousand leagues on pilgrimage 
to ask from God the grace of touching hearts, and He has answered my 
prayer."15
When leaving for Rome, he revealed the missionary motive behind his 
journey in a letter to the townspeople of Montbernage: "I ask you all, 
in general and individually, to follow me with your prayers on the 
pilgrimage which I am going to make for you and many others. I say, ‘for 
you,’ because I am undertaking this long and difficult journey in 
dependence on the Providence of God to obtain from him through the 
prayers of Mary, your perseverance. I say, ‘for many others,’ because I 
bear in my heart all the poor sinners of Poitou and elsewhere, who are 
sadly placing their salvation at risk. They are so dear to my God that 
he gave all his blood for them and would I give nothing? He undertook 
such long and arduous journeys for them, and would I undertake none? He 
went so far as to risk his own life and wouldn’t I risk mine too?" (LPM 
6).
His pilgrimages were missionary in character, as his travels always 
were: "I am a hunter of souls / For my Savior Jesus" (H 91:2). Even 
during his pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Chartres, he was prone to wander 
off the road to evangelize. Later he wrote: "I’ve taken on a vagabond 
spirit / To save my poor neighbor" (H 22:1).
Montfort’s pilgrimages were characterized not only by their missionary 
goals but also by their apostolic style: he traveled without any money, 
abandoning himself totally to Providence. On his return from Rome, a 
priest asked him, "Why didn’t you travel by horse?" And the pilgrim is 
supposed to have simply replied, "The apostles never traveled by 
horse."16
Like the pilgrims of the Middle Ages, Montfort considered pilgrimage a 
path of penitence, but he added his own apostolic intentions. The trials 
of the road, with the sweat and physical exhaustion; the sun, the rain, 
and the cold; the difficulties of finding lodging and shelter; the 
various attitudes of the people he encountered: these basic elements of 
a pilgrimage held enormous penitential value for Montfort. And at the 
conclusion of his journey, he presented his fatigue as an offering, a 
prayer: "St. Augustine . . . tells us, ‘The one who does not mourn in 
this world like a stranger and a pilgrim will not rejoice in the world 
to come as a citizen of heaven’" (FC 25).
In PS, he again describes this spiritual attitude of the penitent, 
calling on the Penitents to fast and to walk barefoot at times. Always a 
missionary, he offers up his repentance in order to carry out the work 
of the Gospel: "Oh my God, for your Gospel, / I wish to suffer from town 
to town . . ." (H 22:13).
Ever faithful to himself, Father de Montfort counsels obedience during 
a pilgrimage as the best penance: "I roam throughout the world / Like a 
lost child . . . / All of my worth / Comes from my obedience" (H 91:1). 
This hymn, which depicts the life of the "good missionary," also depicts 
Father de Montfort, pilgrim of the Absolute, a pilgrim who takes part in 
this form of popular religion while maintaining great fidelity to the 
institutional Church. We have seen how, a few weeks before he died, he 
traveled on a pilgrimage to ask for missionaries and the gift of Wisdom 
(PS).
2. The search for God
The pilgrimage is also a search for God in Jesus Christ, a search he 
expresses with his entire being. He sings this ardent hymn: "Seek, my 
feet, seek / The sovereign beauty; / Run quickly, draw near, / Make my 
pain end / The pain of love. / Jesus is my love / My night and my day" 
(H 54:12).
The existence of a true pilgrim is characterized by a new vitality 
which deepens his sense of God, and thus of prayer. He knows he is on 
the pathway to God, because here below there is no lasting city (H 
13:14). Montfort writes: "A Friend of the Cross is one who is holy and 
set apart from the things that are visible, for his heart is raised 
above all that is transient and perishable, and his homeland is in 
heaven; he travels through this world like a visitor and a pilgrim" (FC 
4).
Montfort’s spirit, being solicitous of God, demanded this alertness. 
Pilgrimage expressed his march toward Christ. He was a pilgrim 
throughout his life, with prayer in his heart and on his lips. In PS, he 
is describing his own spiritual approach to prayer when he says that the 
pilgrims must engage in "continual prayer" on their journey. On the 
other hand, he himself would stop at length to pray at sites of 
pilgrimage along his way.
His heart and his voice sang on the pilgrim’s road: "When I travel, / 
My staff in my hand, / Feet bare, without belongings, / But also without 
sadness, / I walk in great ceremony / Like a king in his court" (H 
144:1). When he travels this way, his whole bearing is completely 
captured by those two words that he so often used to close his hymns: 
"God Alone."
A pilgrimage, with the cadence of walking, enabled Montfort to find 
the words and the rhythm for his hymns. His pilgrim’s soul was a singing 
soul. "Sing and walk," wrote St. Augustine, in a sermon on the Easter 
season. Whenever the two men stopped on their route, Brother Mathurin 
would write what Montfort had composed as he walked. Several hymns were 
thus the products of his travels, and a number of them expressed the 
spiritual poverty of the pilgrim, such as the "New hymn for the poor in 
spirit" (H 144) and "The holy voyage" (H 162).
3. Profound communion with Mary
For Montfort, the pilgrimage was also an opportunity to experience a 
profound union with Mary. His friend Jean-Baptiste Blain thus described 
his departure for Paris at the bridge of Cesson, near Rennes: "His eyes 
always returning to heaven, his heart at Saint Sulpice, the constant 
invocation of Mary on his lips: thus did he take leave of Rennes."17
He often considered pilgrimages a gift that he offered unstintingly to 
the Virgin Mary. In SM, he suggests that a pilgrimage would be one way 
of offering to Our Lady each year the homage that is due her (SM 62).
Montfort was sensitive to the efficacy of signs and symbols. He 
preached Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary with all his being, with his 
words and his writings, in his way of life and his travels, even in his 
dress. He moved through towns and countryside with "his rosary, his 
staff complete with the Cross, his striking and unforgettable features—
his great aquiline nose, his large mouth, the look of fire in his long, 
oval-shaped face—his ravaged, tireless body, and his powerful voice."18 
Saint Louis Marie was a true pilgrim of God.
The intense desire and search for God, constant prayer, penitence, and 
obedience to Mary: these qualities form the spiritual profile of the 
eternal pilgrim such as Montfort. Indeed, we see in him the four means 
of obtaining Wisdom that he describes in LEW 181-222.

 

IV. PILGRIMAGES WITH SAINT LOUIS MARIE
1. Montfort’s tomb
Upon Montfort’s death, his own tomb became a place of pilgrimage. "Each 
day, more and more of the faithful would arrive in Saint-Laurent-sur-
Sèvre; some had traveled a great distance, and most of the pilgrims 
proclaimed that their prayers had been answered. Several cures were 
attributed to the Servant of God."19 The tomb of Saint Louis Marie de 
Montfort and the tomb of Blessed Marie Louise of Jesus still attract 
both individual pilgrims and groups. Each year, at the beginning of 
October, a large regional pilgrimage to the Basilica of Saint-Laurent-
sur-Sèvre is organized. Since 1989, the mother house of the Montfort 
Missionaries has received pilgrims during the summer. The pilgrims 
arrive not merely from different regions of France but from other 
countries as well.
2. Following Montfort’s steps
It is becoming more and more customary for members of the Montfort 
Congregations, and others who live Saint Louis Marie’s spirituality and 
are thus part of the extended Montfort Family, to make a pilgrimage not 
only to his tomb but to the places where Father de Montfort spent his 
life: his birthplace at Montfort-sur-Meu and its surroundings, Rennes, 
Dinan, La Chèze, Pontchâteau, Nantes, Vallet, Mervent, Saumur, Poitiers, 
La Rochelle. They come not out of curiosity to see the old stones and 
walls and houses that attract so many others but because these places 
evoke Montfort’s life and make his message speak even more eloquently to 
contemporary men and women. These ten-day-or-more pilgrimages, 
especially when lived in the context of prayer and study of the texts of 
Montfort, often conclude with the perfect renewal of the baptismal vows.
3. Lourdes
Since 1949 an immense Montfort pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, takes 
place every year at the end of April, around April 28, the feast day of 
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. Approximately 10,000 people, including 
more than 800 sick people, take part; 1,800 volunteers, 1,200 stretcher 
bearers, many nurses, and 40 doctors serve the sick. Montfort 
Missionaries from all over the globe—renewing Louis Marie’s love for 
pilgrimages—regularly conduct pilgrimages to Lourdes, where a large 
statue of Saint Louis Marie adorns the walk leading to the upper 
basilica.
4. The pilgrimage from Saint Pompain to Notre-Dame of Ardilliers, Saumur
As mentioned above, Montfort several times went on pilgrimage to Saumur. 
In 1712 he wrote a "rule" for the thirty-three who made the pilgrimage 
to Our Lady of Pity of Ardilliers at Saumur, asking them to pray for 
vocations to his Company of Mary. Since 1982 a group of Brothers of St. 
Gabriel, with other members of the Montfort family, retrace Montfort’s 
route in order to recapture the same spirit, the same faith, and the 
same supplication. As much as possible, the directions Saint Louis Marie 
gave for the pilgrimage of 1716 are observed. Like Montfort, they make 
the pilgrimage on foot from Saint Pompain to Notre-Dame des Ardilliers, 
with the goal of "obtaining true missionaries and Wisdom through Mary." 
The words of Father Montfort give them encouragement: "I am sure . . . 
they will obtain from God through the intercession of his Blessed Mother 
great graces not only for themselves but for the whole Church of God" 
(PS 13). They travel two by two, without choosing their walking 
companions, alternating between prayer, silence, and conversation.
On their arrival in Saumur, a large group of friends welcomes them and 
joins the celebration that concludes the pilgrimage. 

 

V. A MODEL PILGRIM FOR TODAY AND THE FUTURE
Today the meaning and power of going on pilgrimage appear to have been 
rediscovered. Some thought it would disappear after the upheavals of the 
1960s, but in fact the opposite has happened. The number of pilgrims 
traveling to Lourdes, Rome, Jerusalem, and other cities has increased. 
More than twenty million pilgrims travel through Europe each year. 
Guadalupe alone receives a similar number. John Paul II has said that 
pilgrimage is "a key to our religious future." And Raïssa Maritain, 
quoted by her husband Jacques, wrote, "Our great spiritual need today is 
to contemplate our paths."20 She meant that our everyday lives are a 
path to God. All men and women are pilgrims who search for some meaning 
in their lives; who question themselves, look within themselves and 
beyond themselves; who search for truth, and look for places, simple or 
grandiose, which seem to them to carry a message. Life’s pilgrimage is 
the journey to the Promised Land, Jesus. A pilgrim’s journey to a holy 
site, with all its hardships, joys, penances, is a summary of life’s 
journey to God. The pilgrimage not only summarizes this life but, made 
with sincere prayer, calls down God’s blessings so that the pilgrim will 
arrive safely and for all eternity in Jesus, the Holy One of God.
Saint Louis de Montfort’s way of perfection is nothing less than a 
Marian pilgrimage into the blazing light of God Alone. His four means of 
attaining union with Wisdom characterize the pilgrimage: the Christian 
sets out with an intense desire to know God, to march on with a prayer 
in his heart and on his lips, and to practice mortifications by 
accepting joyously the difficulties of the journey.
"‘Leave all things and you will find all things by finding Jesus 
Christ, incarnate Wisdom,’" wrote Saint Louis Marie (LEW 202). His 
missionary life is marked by renunciation of all else to follow the way 
of Christ. His pilgrimages are so filled with grace, for they are always 
Marian. As John Paul teaches, "The Blessed Virgin Mary continues to ‘go 
before’ the people of God. Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith 
represents a constant point of reference for the Church, for individuals 
and for communities, for peoples and nations, and, in a sense, for all 
humanity" (RMat 6).
So that we may be pilgrims throughout our lives, Saint Louis Marie 
exhorts us to fix our gaze on Jesus Christ: "He is our model of living, 
/ Let us imitate his feelings, / Try to follow him, heart to heart / In 
his steps and in his movements" (H 144).
F. Garat, E. Guil

 

Notes:
(1) A. Solignac, Pélerinages, Introduction (Pilgrimages, 
Introduction), in DSAM 12/1 (1984), 890. (2) Cf. A. Dupront, Pélerinages 
et lieux sacrés (Pilgrimages and Sacred Places), in Encyclopédie 
universelle (1972), 12:729-734. (3) Cf., for example, J. Henninger, H. 
Cazelles, M. Join-Lambert, Pélerinages dans l’ancien Orient (Pilgrimages 
in the Ancient Near East), in Dictionnaire de la Bible, suppl. 7 (1966), 
567-589; S. De Fiores, Itinéraire spirituelle (Spiritual Itinerary), in 
Dictionnaire de la vie spirituelle (Dictionary of the Spiritual Life), 
Cerf, Paris 1983, 549-564; Fr. John, Le chemin de Dieu. Etude biblique 
sur la foi comme pélerinage (The Way of God: A Biblical Study on the 
Pilgrimage of Faith), Taizé 1983. (4) The manuscript of this work, which 
is in the archives of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, is attributed to the 
Sulpician A. Brenier (1651-1714), founder of the Sulpician residence 
where Louis Marie Grignion was a student from 1695 to 1700. (5) Blain, 
101. (6) B.-M. Morineau, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort 
Flammarion, Paris 1947, 9, 12. (7) Blain, 98-101. (8) Le Crom, Un apôtre 
marial, Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) (A Marian 
Apostle: St. Louis Marie de Montfort), Librarie, Mariale, Pontchateau 
1942, 85. (9) Ibid., 97. (10) Besnard I, 102. (11) Ibid., 104. (12) The 
Rule has come to us through Grandet, with some minor differences, and 
through Besnard (cf. OC 814). (13) Le Crom, Un apôtre marial, 160. (14) 
Grandet, 95-100. (15) Besnard I, 151. (16) Cf. Grandet, 101. (17) Blain, 
18. (18) G. Rigault, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, in Les 
Traditions Françaises (The French Traditions), Tourcoing 1947, 48. (19) 
Le Crom, 376. (20) J. Maritain, Le paysan de la Garonne (The Peasant of 
the Garonne), Desclée de Brouwer, Paris 1966, 340.

 


Taken from: Jesus Living in Mary: Handbook of the Spirituality of St.
Louis de Montfort (Litchfield, CT: Montfort Publications, 1994).
Provided courtesy of the Montfort Fathers © All Rights Reserved.

 

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