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

Summary
I.	The Manuscript: 
	1.	Time and place of composition; 
	2.	Genesis: experience and tradition. 
II.	Nature and Structure: 
	1.	Prayer for missionaries; 
	2.	Rule of the missionary priests; 
	3.	Letter to the members of the Company of Mary. 
III.	The Company of Mary in the Triptych: 
	1.	Name of the institute; 
	2.	Apostolic community: 
		a.	“In the footsteps of the poor apostles”; 
		b.	Apostolic vocation; 
		c.	Aggregation and incorporation; 
		d.	Deviation from vocation; 
		e.	Community and mission.
IV.	Spirituality of the Company of Mary: 
	1.	Trinitarian perspective; 
	2.	Marian dimension; 
	3.	Priority and primacy of evangelization of the poor; 
	4.	Anthropological component; 
	5.	Vows and missions: 
		a.	Evangelical poverty; 
		b.	Apostolic obedience. 
V.	Conclusion.

The Montfort triptych1 groups together the three writings defined as the 
fundamental Rule of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort for the Missionaries 
of the Company of Mary: the “Prayer for Missionaries,” the “Rule,” and 
the “Letter to the Members of the Company of Mary.” It is a unique 
document, not only because of its particular structure, but more 
importantly because of its basic inspiration. There is nothing quite 
like it among the other religious constitutions of the seventeenth and 
the beginning of the eighteenth century.

 

I. THE MANUSCRIPT 
A 17 x 11 cm. chestnut brown leather binding covers Father de Montfort’s 
triptych manuscript. The text is comprised of three parts, which follow 
each other consecutively. The pagination is written in Montfort’s hand, 
showing that there was no doubt in his mind that it was a single 
document.2 The Montfort triptych does not include a title for PM, nor 
indeed for the entire manuscript. Those who saw it in its original state 
give no indication that it ever had a title. If it did have one, its 
wording would greatly help in interpreting the manuscript.3
1. Time and place of composition
Joseph Grandet, Montfort’s first biographer, was one of the people who 
actually read the triptych manuscript. In chapter seventeen of his 
biography he presents the beginning of PM, and at the end of the book he 
intimates that he would also have liked to include RM, but since it was 
too long he would publish it separately.4 Unfortunately, however, he 
never fulfilled that promise. Nevertheless, we owe the beginning of PM 
to Grandet,5 since in its present state the manuscript is missing the 
first two pages. He does not provide any other information on either the 
place or time of the writing of the triptych.
Grandet’s scanty information was added to by Father Charles Besnard, 
Superior General of the Company of Mary from 1755 to 1788. Besnard 
devoted nearly the whole of book five of his biography on Montfort to 
describe the genesis and development of the plan for the Company of 
Mary.6 Besnard’s writing provides us with a good framework from which to 
reconstruct the events that led Montfort to establish his company.
Saint Louis Marie fully developed his ideas for a company of 
missionaries between the second half of 1712 and the beginning of 1713. 
Besnard affirms that Montfort’s decision to found his institute came to 
fruition during a period of retreat: “Not content with offering his 
prayers and adorable Sacrifice [of the Mass] for the accomplishment of 
this great and holy work, he also fasted, made pilgrimages, joined his 
tears to his prayers, and even drew blood in the severe mortification of 
his flesh. It was during a retreat that he finally decided to actively 
pursue the formation of the new society, and to devise for it a Rule 
which would join intense reflection and study of sacerdotal perfection 
to a zealous undertaking of apostolic work.”7
Besnard indicates that it was during this retreat that Montfort quite 
suddenly made the decision to go ahead with his long-standing plans to 
institute the Company of Mary. However he had not as yet written the 
Rule. Saint Louis Marie decided to consult his Ordinary, Étienne de 
Champflour, the Bishop of La Rochelle,8 before proceeding to put his 
thoughts into writing. Besnard writes: “Though he had endeavored in many 
ways to know God’s will, if no mistakes were to be made there remained a 
still surer path. This was the path of obedience. And this was the path 
he chose to follow, beginning with the submission of his proposal to the 
judgment and decision of the bishop in the diocese where he resided. The 
bishop was Étienne de Champflour of La Rochelle, a very enlightened 
prelate who supported and was in favor of anything that seemed to him to 
contain the spirit of God. The Bishop was completely sympathetic to 
Father de Montfort’s views and he approved his project and promised to 
do all he could to facilitate the enterprise and assure its success.”9
We can date this meeting between Montfort and his bishop somewhere 
during the summer of 1712, before the resumption of missionary activity 
in the autumn period.10 However, even de Champflour’s explicit support 
did not hasten Montfort’s drafting of the Rule. It was as if he needed 
still more time to distill, through missionary experience, the idea that 
had matured in silence and prayer. For a variety of reasons, he delayed 
the composition of the Company’s Rule until the end of the mission 
season.11
In the autumn of 1712, Montfort began giving missions again. The first 
took place at Thairé, where the cross was erected on October 28. On 
January 1, 1713, the founder wrote a letter to his sister at 
Rambervilliers, in which he talked mostly about the theme of the cross 
and did not mention the Company project.12 At the beginning of 1713, he 
preached a mission at Courson, and this was followed by other missions 
not mentioned by his biographers. The season finished with a mission at 
La Séguinière where his friend and collaborator, the Irishman Peter 
Keating, had been installed as parish priest.13
Thus Montfort, during the interval between the autumn-winter missions 
of 1712 and the spring of 1713, was able to breathe life into the 
project he had been thinking about for such a long time. Whenever the 
parishes where he preached were close enough to his Saint Eloi hermitage 
at La Rochelle, he would always take the opportunity of going there for 
a few days. It appears that the plan for the new missionary congregation 
was drawn up during these intermittent periods of solitude during 
missions. The plan was definitively completed by the end of June, 1713, 
when he left for Paris.14
However, later passage of Besnard’s seems to allude to a definitive 
version of the text which Montfort prepared before he met with the 
superiors of Holy Spirit seminary in Paris, in July of 1713. He writes: 
“He described his plan and also read them the Rule that he had devised 
for those of their students, and any others, who might care to join him 
in order to follow the same vocation. His project was warmly applauded 
and all the priests and directors agreed to help him in the formation of 
students capable of sustaining and perpetuating his good work. As a 
result of this declaration, which can be regarded in some ways as a kind 
of contract, Louis Marie wrote these words at the beginning of RM: 
‘There is a seminary in Paris where young clerical students who are 
called to the mission in the Company receive academic and spiritual 
training to prepare them to become members.’ To make sure the readers 
would remember these words he included them a second time in the body of 
the work.”15
The structure of the manuscript points to successive drafts attempting 
to integrate the three parts. Unfortunately, we do not have any record 
of this activity, but it probably happened during the period between the 
summer of 1712 and the summer of 1713.
2. Genesis: experience and tradition
The basis of the triptych is rooted in the many experiences of Father de 
Montfort; his personality, the spiritual and pastoral directions of the 
Church and of society in his time, and, especially, the living tradition 
of popular missions.16 In fact, the triptych was written in the course 
of parish missions then actually being preached by the saint.
The incomparable thematic richness of PM reflects the complex motives 
that inspired it and form its base: they matured throughout Montfort’s 
life. The mission theology formulated in PM was probably influenced by 
the thought of Thomas Aquinas as well as of Bérulle. The fundamental 
elements of the institution, already expressed by Montfort from December 
1700 (“a small and poor company of itinerant missionaries, giving 
themselves up to Providence, and under the standard and protection of 
Mary” [L5]), become focused in PM. The project becomes more and more 
precise as the elements of his original intuition are further distilled: 
the missionaries of the Company of Mary will not be tied down to any one 
place, but they will be always available and free to fly at the breath 
of the Spirit wherever their action against the reign of Satan, and in 
support of the reform of the Church, may be needed. Always vitally 
important are the “priests all aflame” with the love of God (PM 17), 
following in the steps of the apostles (RM 2).
Certain of these elements are also found in J. J. Olier’s (1608–1657) 
original conception of the seminary of Saint Sulpice.17 In his view, the 
seminary was an “Apostolic House,” in which everything is directed 
towards reproducing the spirit of the Twelve Apostles; the members of 
the house were to be filled with zeal to spread the Church of Jesus 
Christ throughout the world. The seminary is therefore called the 
“smallest portion” of the Church; it does not belong to any particular 
diocese and it does not receive any benefits, so that its members may 
realize the ideal of the priest animated by the interior fire of the 
Holy Spirit. Fundamentally, Olier’s and Montfort’s texts converge in the 
idea of an apostolic company characterized by its lack of fixed roots in 
any one place, the total availability of its priests, and its devotion 
to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Various passages from Olier’s writings 
correspond so well with Montfort’s thinking, particularly in PM, that 
one has to conclude that Montfort relied considerably on Father Olier. 
Montfort’s originality consisted most of all in the transfer of the 
“Apostolic House” into a vibrant company of apostolic missionaries 
destined to renew Christianity among Christians. De Fiores further 
clarifies: “while Olier plans formation of priests for his day, Montfort 
‘projects’ his missionaries towards the future and the reform of the 
Church in the context of the end times.”18
PM employs a series of images taken from military language: “a troop 
of nimble deer,” “a battalion of bold lions” (PE 18). The final section 
(27–30) is particularly rich in examples: How is it that scarcely one 
soldier lines up under your standard? . . . Let all the worthy priests . 
. . those still in the fight . . . come and join us. Vis unita fit 
fortior, with the cross as our standard let us form a strongly 
disciplined army drawn up in lines of battle. Let us make a concerted 
attack on the enemies of God who have already sounded the call to arms” 
(PE 28–29); “a chosen company of soldiers” (PE 30).
These phrases of themselves hardly indicate an influence stemming from 
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Company of Jesus. In fact, 
Saint Ignatius’ use of the word “company” was very vague and undefined, 
until a year before his death. In its most primitive sense, what was 
meant by “Company of Jesus” was simply companions of Jesus.19 In fact, 
being “armed” in the Company of Jesus has a direct relationship to 
“going to war for God under the standard of the Cross.” Ignatius does 
not have any military intentions, but he wants to indicate the depth of 
the involvement in the Reign of God and total abandonment to it. The 
Cross becomes its own standard, and the service of its members is 
obedience to Christ and to his Vicar on earth, the Pope. 20
Military terminology in Montfort’s writing, therefore, corresponds to 
the then prevalent demand for boldness on the evangelical front; this 
was a characteristic of other religious and apostolic institutions and 
was typical of the age of Counter-Reformation. However, this recourse to 
military metaphor should not be seen as a kind of apostolic aggression. 
The saint’s use of military terms is based on the model of the archangel 
Saint Michael (PM). As Michael shouted: “Who is like unto God,” so too 
the missionaries must proclaim that God is king. Michael also serves as 
an example of the boldness and courage of missionaries in the face of 
the opposition with which historically the announcement of salvation is 
greeted (RM 60–61). However, there is a strong ignatian influence on the 
concept of the vow of obedience in relation to the very mission of the 
Company of Mary (RM 19), and to the community life of its members.21
It is impossible to ascertain with any certainty from RM whether there 
was a material dependence on the constitutions of other congregations of 
the time. However, there are certain analogies between the text of RM 
and that of other missionary communities. Montfort himself referred 
explicitly to the Congregation of the Mission of Saint Vincent de Paul 
(cf. RM 7, 66) and to Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Company of Jesus (cf. 
RM 15, 19, 66).22
Sections of the allocutio, “To the Members of the Company of Mary,” 
echo Man of Prayer by Jacques Nouet, especially 5–11, which are linked 
to the theme of the voluntary or evangelical poor.23 The theme of 
voluntary poverty was at the heart of a burning debate on the poverty of 
priests, which greatly upset the ecclesiastical and monastic communities 
of the time. The result of this debate was that “the seventeenth 
century, except for notable exceptions, appeared to scorn the value of 
voluntary poverty; with the decrease in mystics it had fallen out of 
favor, and it was not approved by the clergy itself.”24 Montfort was 
therefore proposing that his associates take on a way of life—voluntary, 
evangelical poverty—that was counterculture, clearly going against the 
grain of society.

 

II. NATURE AND STRUCTURE
The triptych as such was first published in 1932, for the collection, 
Vade-mecum du montfortain (Handbook for the Montforts), published by H. 
Huré, then father general of the Company of Mary.25 In the presentation 
of the booklet, extracted from his circular of May 31, 1931, he sums up 
the aim of the edition: “to present the Rule of our holy Father in a 
pocket volume, with the ‘prayer for missionaries’ as preface, and the 
allocutio as conclusion.”26 It was clearly grasped that the three parts 
formed a coherent whole since their pages were “numbered 
consecutively.”27 Similarly, the Complete Works (1966), present the 
triptych as a trilogy.28
The publication of the three parts as a single work is due not only to 
the unity of the manuscript itself, but, more profoundly, to its single 
basic theme: The Company of Mary. It follows that the reading of the 
text should be done considering the Trilogy as a whole, not as three 
distinct works.
Constitutions appeared in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries as 
new orders and congregations were founded; they were generally presented 
as large and complex collections of norms and ordinances in which 
everything was defined and prescribed with minute and prolific 
prescriptions. Montfort’s Rule of the Daughters of Wisdom (1715), easily 
fits into this category. Moreover, to facilitate the smooth running of 
the institution, constitutions also specified the aim of the institute 
concerning its government, the rights and duties of each member 
according to his standing and his function, etc. The triptych is, 
strangely enough, much closer to various Rules of Medieval origin, whose 
principal role was to propose an ascetic code of life within the context 
of the spiritual life; they contained only general precepts of a 
disciplinary nature inherent to the observance of the “regular life.”
The Montfort triptych can be classified as one of the great 
contributions to the tradition of popular missions, for it stands above 
all else as a universal model for apostolic life. The legal or normative 
aspect is not dominant; the text of RM is subordinate to and framed 
within the spiritual and mystical dimension of PM and LCM. The net 
result is a kind of “template rule” for those who choose an apostolic 
form of life.29
1. Prayer for missionaries
Grandet tells us that the first part of the triptych is a “fervent and 
eloquent prayer.”30 Besnard prefers to call it “a kind soliloquy that he 
placed at the head of the document.”31 Picot de Clorivière says that 
“each word is a burst of flame.”32 Closer to our time, the oratorian W. 
Faber,33 in the preface to the first English edition of TD, written in 
1862, says: “Since the Apostolic Epistles it would be hard to find words 
that burn so marvelously as the twelve pages of his prayer for 
Missionaries” (TD edition 1946, ix).
What is most striking about PM is its fire-like spirit, which burns 
from beginning to end. It is not a literary artifice; neither is it what 
some today would term a result of a “spiritual high.” Rather, it is one 
of those rare cases in which writer and text are completely fused. It 
could be said that in this composition Montfort reaches the height of 
his spirituality. It is as if a fiery volcano burst forth burning magma 
that solidified into words.
A somewhat classical style34 is softened by a conversational format 
filled with words and images from the Bible, and in particular from the 
Psalms. The Prayer is a montage of symbols and figurative 
representations. PM is an authentic mystical creation. Even a cursory 
glance at the triptych shows the incredible level of spiritual 
perfection that Montfort’s inspiration attained.
The Trinitarian structure itself raises this urgent plea to the very 
heights of the Trinity. With the emotional repetition of questions and 
of key terms such as “Liberos,” there is a more and more intense build-
up in the prayer imploring the Trinity to grant Montfort’s plea for a 
company of missionaries, the Company of Mary.
The prayer is both revelation and recall: revelation in the sense of a 
subjective mystical enlightenment, i.e., an intuition of the truth 
through a depth of contemplation; recall in the sense of a remembrance  
of biblical themes like the repetitive, mysterious beat of Psalm 73:2: 
“Memento Domine Congregationis tuae quam possedisti ab initio,” which is 
written into the structure of the prayer. This theological recall is to 
show that the Company of Mary is on the same level as the other marvels 
of the Lord, the God of all history: “Renew your wonders and perform 
other miracles” (Si 36, 5; PM 3). In the same way the “Memento” of PM 
has a salvific content. The request for redemptive intervention on the 
part of God is answered by the sending of the Company, a sign of 
salvation in action. Again “from the beginning” (PM 1), ties the Company 
to God’s “mercy of times past” (PM 4). The Company is His “divine 
purpose” (PM 26).35
PM, a true literary and vocational masterpiece, was created in an 
ecstatic moment of contemplation in which all of Montfort’s thinking 
about the Company was clarified. The result is a kind of synopsis of 
everything he wanted to say about the Company of Mary. 36
2. Rule of the Missionary Priests
Grandet is flatteringly appreciative of RM:  “It is very fine and quite 
perfect, but as it is so long we will do an abbreviated analysis of 
it.”37 However, as we know, Grandet only published the text of PM. 
Besnard is just as flattering when he calls RM “a very beautiful work 
that admirably conveyed the apostolic spirit.”38
Perhaps more than his predecessors, it was the Jesuit, Picot de la 
Clorivière, who discerned that RM, far from being limited because so 
short, was open to all necessary modifications depending on time and 
place. “Some regret that Saint Louis Marie did not go into detail; 
however, he intends to write no more than an outline concentrating on 
the essential structure which is always to be animated by PM and LCM. If 
anything else would be needed, it could be added later, either by him or 
his successors. He believed that the inner covenant, engraved on the 
hearts of the members by the Holy Spirit, would have more power than all 
the rules that he could have given, and that would be enough for those 
apostle-like men who would form the future company.” 39
As Clorivière consulted the works of Grandet and Besnard, who only 
give a simple resume of Montfort’s original Rule,40 it is only natural 
that he also saw RM as a simple essay. A rather strange exception to the 
prevalent understanding of RM is the opinion of the Promoter of the 
faith, Andrea M. Frattini, who in Posito super scriptis (1815), writes:  
“In the second part [of the Triptych] there is a fully developed Rule 
for missionaries, as much in what regards their particular conduct, as 
in what regards the work of holy missions.”41 As he did not have the 
same stereotypes to refer to, Frattini’s opinion differs from other 
preconceived judgments. The Jesuit Giovanni Ferrone (1794–1876), in a 
view expressed to the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regular Clergy, 
defines the character of the Company of Mary as being “sui generis” and 
qualifies Father de Montfort’s Rule as “very simple.”42
In the twentieth century, the hagiographer Mgr. Laveille, inspired in 
his turn by Pauvert, introduced a more positive tone: “Nothing more 
supple than this Rule exists.”43 More recently, Cardinal Tisserant 
called the text “an outline of a Rule.”44 Father Le Crom, a Montfort, 
deplores the lack of detail in what concerns the problems of government; 
on the other hand he does say that Montfort believed more in experience 
than norms, recalling a similar statement made by Louis Marie to his 
friend Blain.45
Montfort did not write RM for an institution or congregation in the 
accepted sense. Rather, he had in mind a team of itinerant missionaries 
engaged for nine months of the year in preaching parish missions and 
retreats. The Rule should therefore not be viewed as if it applied to an 
established community with an organic structure of government containing 
highly specific roles and a series of rigorous and punctual practices. 
When the Rule is seen in this way, the project does appear to be no more 
than an outline or draft. What the Rule actually does is to present the 
criteria for the apostolic life of an itinerant community whose 
lifestyle is both modeled on the preaching of parish missions and 
actually spent in preaching parish missions.
3. Letter to the members of the Company of Mary
The last section of the triptych, the Allocutio, is entitled “Letter to the 
Members of the Company of Mary.” It is an exhortation on voluntary poverty 
expressed as abandonment to Providence and as apostolic detachment.
Father de Montfort closely ties together abandonment to Providence and 
the mission of the Company of Mary. The character of the Company is 
based on the salvific mission that God the Father entrusted to His Son, 
a mission in which the apostles participated, and through them the 
missionaries of the Company of Mary.46
In LCM Saint Louis de Montfort’s vision of the poverty of the Company 
of Mary is highly radical. Not only does LCM bring to the fore the 
lifestyle and mission of the Company, but it also makes clear the 
specific though not exclusive character of the institute in the Church. 
For Saint Louis Marie, the very concept of an apostolic way of life 
transcends any exclusively individual needs. The very title stresses the 
strong community dimension, as do the terms “company” and “associates”; 
so much so that communitarianism becomes a characteristic of the entire 
Montfort foundation. The authenticity of the apostolic nature of the 
itinerant group is realized through poverty: solidarity with the people 
to be evangelized and trusting openness to loving Providence.
In LCM the law of poverty becomes liberty; self-affirmation no longer 
exists; the gift of self to others is a way of life; total adherence to 
the salvific plan of God is a requirement. Apostolic poverty is total 
availability, which translates the demands of metanoia even to the 
structural level of government, to the control of property, and, most 
especially, to the demands of mission. From this perspective, LCM always 
remains an upsetting, challenging, and prophetic document for the 
Company of Mary.

 

III. THE COMPANY OF MARY IN THE TRIPTYCH
1. Name of the institute
Montfort adopted the word “company” (from the medieval Latin: cum pane = 
“those who share the same bread”; in this case, those who share the same 
mission) with full recognition of its institutional and spiritual spinoffs. The 
use of the word “company” for missionary institutes was widespread in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Generally, however, the term usually 
referred to groups of diocesan missionaries—mission teams—like those under the 
Dom Jean Leuduger, which operated on a strictly regional level.
Montfort, in adopting “Company of Mary,” no doubt based it on the 
names currently in use during that time. However, his Marian option 
reflects an evident spiritual and missionary choice, which finds in PM a 
profound theological justification. The members belong to Mary and she 
to them.
2. Apostolic community
a.   “In the footsteps of the poor apostles” (RM2). 
Throughout the history of the Church the “Apostolic College” has often 
been depicted as a kind of premier religious institution or community. 
Those who did not find it sufficient to live the evangelical counsels on 
a personal level often endeavored to establish a religious community, 
citing the “apostolic community” as their example. This was a 
characteristic of the promoters of a poorer, purer, more holy and 
missionary church: if the Church becomes like the apostles, it will 
respond more faithfully to Christ’s message.
Montfort did not concern himself with theoretical claims. For him, the 
model of the poor apostles was an authentic example of behavior, a 
recall of the radical demands of following Christ and of the community 
that it engendered. He formally prescribed in RM a missionary life “in 
the apostolic style.” In the ecclesiastical language of the seventeenth 
century, both missionaries and preachers were usually called 
“apostolic,” but this qualification had two distinct meanings.
When applied to a missionary, it signified that his powers emanated 
from the highest Church authority; the “apostolic missionary” was 
therefore theoretically someone who had received approval and ultimately 
“special powers” from the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the 
Faith. However, several French bishops believed that the missionaries 
they sent into their diocese were invested, by their authority, with 
powers and duties that were rightfully theirs by fact of apostolic 
succession.
The second meaning of “apostolic” referred to a way of preaching 
commonly employed by a popular missionary, which had therefore become 
particular to him.
The two meanings clearly reveal the importance of the relationship to 
the Twelve Apostles. Whenever someone in Montfort’s time wanted to talk 
about missionary activity, the “apostolic” attribution indicated that 
the missionary, like the apostles, had been sent to announce the Gospel.
b.   Apostolic vocation. 
Montfort believed that an apostolic life was primarily a calling which 
took its initiative from God Himself: “The priests who enter must be 
called by God to preach missions in the steps of the Apostles who were 
poor” (RM 2). Therefore the vocation of the Company of Mary clearly does 
not equate with a generic call to the priesthood, for it was based by 
Montfort on the perception of a real apostolic fitness. The founder thus 
demanded a definite, clear, and conscious choice from those who were 
“called by God to preach missions” in the company and to “receive 
academic and spiritual training to prepare them to become members” (RM 
1). He excluded anything that might compromise the apostolic dynamism of 
the institution and anything that would even remotely transform the 
candidates into “habitatores quietis” (RM 2). It followed that the 
suitability of the candidate for the missionary vocation demanded a 
clearly apostolic choice of life. Montfort warns of this in an 
imperative: “He must.”
c.   Aggregation and incorporation. 
The missionary groups of the time were formed through the membership 
of its occasional and regular collaborators. Montfort even uses 
“associates” in the title of LCM. They formed the core on which Montfort 
counted for the evangelical efficacy of his missionary community.
Two different levels of membership are evident in RM: aggregation and 
incorporation.
With regards to the conditions of aggregation: before being admitted 
to the Company, the candidates had to return any benefices and they had 
to cede their inheritance to their relatives or to the poor (cf. RM 5). 
Personal money had to be deposited “into the purse of Providence” (RM 
17). These conditions of Montfort are in line with the criteria for the 
suitability of candidates to the apostolic vocation (RM 2).
Montfort uses the expressions “before entering the Company” (RM 5) and 
“enters the Company” (RM 17). He foresaw here a stage of aggregation, a 
period of “candidacy” before the more final and definite incorporation 
into the company: “If before or after making his vows, one of the 
missionaries” (RM 18); Montfort thereby implies the possibility of being 
temporarily associated—aggregated—while awaiting permanent membership, 
which involved taking simple vows: “To be accepted as permanent members 
of the Company, they must, first, in the presence of the Superior, make 
simple vows of poverty and obedience for one year. These vows are 
renewable annually. Then, if, at the end of an unbroken five-year period 
spent in the Company, they themselves feel they are truly called by God 
to belong to the Company and are judged to be so called, they take the 
two vows of poverty and obedience in perpetuity” (RM 8). It is clear 
from this that Montfort demanded at the pronouncement of first vows the 
intention of a final commitment.
In order to leave the Company after having taken final vows, it was 
sufficient to obtain a dispensation from the bishop. Montfort also 
covered dismissal from the institute in the case where “one of its 
members, even after final vows, should his behavior become an occasion 
of scandal, rather than edification, in spite of the steps taken to 
correct him” (RM 8), as well as in the case of express disobedience (cf. 
RM 25).
d.   Deviation from vocation. 
Once he had established the apostolic mission of the Company, Montfort 
outlined the ecclesiastical functions that were to be considered as 
“subtle temptations”: the missionaries were not allowed to be curates or 
parish priests, or teachers in colleges or seminaries (cf. RM 2). These 
interdictions are more strictly formulated in RM 9.
The subtle temptations are given more space. Montfort was faced with 
the situation of “several good communities which were established in 
recent times by the holy inspiration of their founders for the purpose 
of preaching missions” and which, “under the pretext that they could do 
more good,” truly deviated from their original goal. “Some turned to 
educational work, others to the training of priests and clerics. If they 
still give a few missions, these are only incidental and unplanned.” 
Paragraph 2 of RM reflects how completely conscious Saint Louis Marie is 
of the fact—based on the historical experience of his time—that 
following “in the steps of Apostles,” far from being an empty 
anachronism, is a guarantee of institutional identity. This must not be 
distorted by simple solutions that distance the Company from its 
original inspiration; this would inevitably cause the institute to lose 
its significance, meaning that it would no longer be the “sign” that it 
is meant to be in the life of the Church; it would lose its raison 
d’être.
The last part of the text elucidates the basic idea that Montfort 
holds most dear. The distortions that so many communities experienced 
resulted from losing some of “the holy inspiration of their founders,” 
they were transformed into “habitatores quietis,” and spent “years that 
are entirely sedentary.” It is this mentality of being rooted and 
settled that the founder wanted to avoid at any price.
e.   Community and mission. 
Mission was the goal of the community, but it was also an integral 
part of the communal and institutional life. In fact, mission is seen by 
Montfort as not only a pastoral task, but the very form of the 
community. The mission life is not by accident and in passing. Rather, 
the Montfort community cannot exist without mission, or exist 
independently of it: the mission is not extrinsic to the community, but 
is rather part of its very being. The mission—as modeled by Montfort in 
his preaching of parish missions and retreats—is not only the result of 
a pastoral choice but is the space, or better still, the form of the 
community’s realization and expression.
Community life expressed in community apostolate (the mission) and in 
community prayer is clearly the rule of the founder, both in the course 
of missions and during the summer “rest” (RM 28-35; 67-78). However, 
communal life, in the strict sense of the term as applied typically to a 
settled or monastic community, is periodic according to RM: it comprises 
the summer months from July to September, when they continue to perfect 
themselves for the next round of itinerant preaching. Montfort clearly 
takes a stand against all forms of settled life that would undermine the 
necessary apostolic force of the community. Any kind of stability is 
perceived as institutional fossilization and implies the failure of the 
community. Montfort’s desire for a rootless, mobile community 
(“instabiles”) ever ready to pull up stakes and move on to where 
Providence calls, reflects his missionary ideal.
This concept of the Company is clearly stated in RM 12. Dealing with 
the restrictions on fixed property it is one of the longest and is 
perhaps the most casuistic of all the passages. Once the basic criteria 
had been formulated, “Within the realm of France, the Company will own 
two houses and never more than two,” Montfort waived this rule only in 
the case of some benefit accruing from other houses that the Company 
eventually might receive from divine Providence; he specified, however, 
that these houses must belong to the local bishop.
This idea of a company whose structure is subordinate to its mission 
is decidedly prophetic, in the sense that the organization of the 
Company depends on its mission: the ordo societatis is legitimized by 
the ordo missionis.
The company Montfort planned is therefore opposed to monastic 
stability and to a priesthood in the service of a settled community. It 
is a dynamic mission band which has as its house not the monastery but 
the world to be evangelized. The company must, then, be free from 
attachments such as the benefit system in order to devote itself 
exclusively to the prophetic service of the Word. These characteristics 
disclose the true identity of the Company within the Church.47

 

IV. SPIRITUALITY OF THE COMPANY OF MARY
The spirituality of the Company of Mary can be said to flow from the 
triptych. Without tackling the subject ex professo, Montfort presented 
certain constituent elements of this spirituality in this triple work. 
The full picture of what can be called the spirituality of the Company 
must also take in more clearly the vital aspects of Wisdom, Mary, 
Consecration, the Cross, Providence, End Times, and Reign, which should 
be studied in the articles under those titles.
1. Trinitarian perspective
The mission of the Company is born from the Trinity as a prolongation of 
the Triune God’s own salvific mission. Montfort’s theological option, 
deeply entrenched in the theology of the Word Incarnate of the Bérullian 
School, is reflected in the structure of PM which reveals the salvific 
functions of the Persons of the Trinity. Thus, the founder developed a 
Trinitarian theology of salvation applied to the mission of the Company 
and its members. What he is talking about here is a particular flow of 
movement, coming from the Trinity and going toward the Trinity, through 
the historical mediation of the Company of Mary.
2. Marian dimension
In Montfort’s historical and salvific “remembering,” Zalmon mountain 
(cf. Ps 68:14) appears as a symbolic representation of the Virgin (PM 
25). In connection with this symbol, Saint Louis Marie interprets Psalm 
68 as God’s search for a dwelling place and also man’s search for a 
home. The mountain rises high as the symbol of the function of Mary in 
the history of salvation, predestined as she is to be the dwelling place 
of her Company. “The link established by Montfort between Mary and the 
Company appears in all its glory: in this way a dwelling place for ‘the 
poor missionaries, entirely dependent on Providence’ (PM 21), is 
assured. Such a space becomes a memorial, a guarantee of the divinity’s 
presence as well as a magnetizing center. . . . Like the temple of 
Jerusalem, a center of attraction for all people; the devotion to Mary—a 
new sanctuary for the Lord of all armies; it universalized the mission 
of these followers of the apostles and placed it in the sphere of the 
present Kingdom, already here and yet to come (PE 22).” 48 The 
missionaries live on the top of the mountain that rises high above the 
others, the holy mountain of Mary.
Protagonist after the Trinity, Mary brings about the renewal of the 
Church through its apostles. Jesus Christ himself will give to his 
Mother a company to renew the world through Mary, and the time of grace 
will come to a close (PM 6).
It then becomes clear that the specific name, Company of Mary, is not 
a mere attribution but a much more deliberate act of belonging to Mary. 
The Company is a gift from God the Son to Mary: Da Matri tuae liberos. 
This secures the Marian component of the Institute: through Mary the 
Company takes its place in the history of salvation to renew the Church. 
This living “in Mary” expresses itself in all aspects of the Company; 
the saint who stipulates so few regulations in RM does insist that, 
“Every day they will say all fifteen decades of the Rosary and also the 
Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin at a convenient time. The purpose of 
these heaven-sent devotions is to call down the blessing of God on 
themselves and their ministry. They experience daily the efficacy of 
these prayers” (RM 29). 
3. Priority and primacy of evangelization of the poor
As so many of the missionaries of his time, he too states: pauperibus 
evangelizare misit me Dominus (Lc 4, 18; cf. RM 2). Evangelization (RM 
2) and catechism (RM 79-91), oriented towards the renewal of Christian 
spirit in Christians themselves (RM 56), enjoy an absolute primacy in 
relation to what is called today sacramentalization: non misit me 
Dominus baptizare sed evangelizare (1 Co 1, 17).
The role of converting magical and sociological Christianity to 
Christianity lived consciously and in a responsible way is a task 
assigned by Montfort to his Company. For this to happen, he insisted on the 
solemn renewal of baptismal promises; this was a personal involvement with 
the intention of a lifelong, on-going conversion.
The poor and the marginalized, that is, the groups of humanity 
desperately in need of support, are the ones to whom the announcement of 
salvation is to be made. In announcing the Gospel to the poor and giving 
them preference, the Company of Mary would model itself on the example 
of Christ, and in this way fulfill the Church’s mandate. The Company is, 
therefore, to detect the signs of the times, and to fill in the pastoral 
gaps that have resulted in the marginalization of certain of God’s 
people.
4. Anthropological constituent
PM 6–12 opens with the citation from Gn 30:1: “Da Matri tuae liberos, 
alioquin moriar: give me children or let me die” (PM 6).
The Saint uses the Latin word liber (plural: liberi) meaning “free” 
and also “sons”. This term is explained by Montfort who gives it a 
particular weight in the expression: children and servants. In fact the 
word liberos, as intended by the Saint, explains the double situation of 
missionaries: free (PM 7–10) and at the same time slaves of Jesus in 
Mary (PM 11–12).
The terminology also clearly indicates a significant double aspect of 
the word “consecration”: the missionaries are consecrated to Mary as 
children and servants in order to live more intensely consecrated to 
Christ, thereby becoming men totally free to announce the Gospel.
In this central part of PM, the originality of Montfort concerning 
devotion to Mary in the mission context is evident. He understands 
consecration as a path of interior liberty. The profile of the person 
consecrated in view of living within a Marian mission band discloses two 
types of freedom: freedom from everything and everyone that would impede 
living in the footsteps of the apostles; and freedom for total service 
to others in the apostolic life envisaged by Montfort.
5. Vows and missions
In RM Montfort adopted simple vows of poverty and obedience. The 
qualification “simple,” in the context of the seventeenth century, is 
synonymous with private.49 However, the phenomenology (so to speak) of 
the vow and the responsibilities that derive from it are very fluid.50 
Montfort opted for what was then the current custom, in order to insure 
the possibility of an episcopal dispensation for someone who would leave 
the institute or for someone the community expels. However, he explains 
the demands of the vows for those living an apostolic life in terms of 
the purest evangelical radicalism. 
The very strong link between vows and mission makes it understood that 
vows are not a religious option tacked on to the apostolic commitment. 
Rather, the apostolic life demands the vows with the view of a total 
commitment to the cause of mission in the Company.
a.   Evangelical poverty. 
Poverty for St. Louis de Montfort is an expression of apostolic 
detachment and its roots are found in following the example of Jesus who 
from his riches made himself poor.51 The apostle loves the company of 
the voluntarily poor Christ, so that the follower of Jesus can also 
minister to the poor. This is also the reason for Montfort calling his 
Institute the “Company of the voluntarily poor” (RM 18).
Montfort delved more deeply into this view of apostolic detachment in 
the second part of LCM by quickly examining the message of the 
Beatitudes, a theme evident in LEW.52 We come into contact here with a 
strong point in Montfort’s teaching: he demands total self-emptying, 
surrendering the “centrality of the self.” With this in mind, he lists 
practices to maintain this “rich treasure of your poverty and this great 
realm that you have conquered.” If missionary life provides material 
security denied to so many of the poor, the effort towards generous 
service must be even greater. The practices are the concrete expression 
of voluntary poverty, willingly accepted, and freely offered, so that 
freedom may grow, and with it total renunciation for the Kingdom of God.
b.   Apostolic obedience. 
Obedience for Montfort means that both the demands of the community 
and of the mission interpenetrate. The style of apostolic life remains 
unaltered whether the missionaries are giving a mission or whether they 
“have completed their mission schedule and return to enjoy the rest 
which divine Providence provides for them and counsels them to take” 
(RM 35;cf RM 78).
The style of life of the Montfort community entails the 
complementarity of community in mission and community of mission. It 
follows that the relationship between authority and mission is 
interdependent. As has been emphasized, the mission of the Company 
cannot be confined to a pastoral method. Mission rather is the 
fundamental form of the community. Thus a superior’s authority must be 
perceived in the context of a community in mission, which is the 
definition of the Montfort community. The mission itself and those it 
serves thus becomes the center of authority, and not something merely 
internal to the community.
“Each member must faithfully discharge the duties entrusted to him and 
will not, unless directed to do so by obedience, pry into the work of 
another in order to find out what he is doing or how he is doing it” (RM 
23). Montfort sets forth here the missionary’s personal responsibility 
to carry out his duties faithfully. The missionaries form a group: “vis 
unita fit fortior” (PM 29). However, Montfort does not exclude but, on 
the contrary, urges dialogue, which implies some individual 
responsibility: “They are, however, permitted to state openly and 
straightforwardly the reasons they may have for omitting or for not 
undertaking what is commanded” (RM 27). In this the founder is within 
the thinking of the traditional teams and communities involved in parish 
missions. An understanding between the mission band and the superior of 
the mission is the guarantee of the good order of the Company. This 
dimension of the dialogue is made clearer in the Rule of the Daughters 
of Wisdom (1715), which in relation to the text of the Rule of the 
Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary (1713), shows the evolution in 
the founder’s thought with regard to the authority-obedience 
relationship: “They may, and often should, present their reasons for 
doing or not doing a certain action” (RW 50). The incidental “and often 
should” emphasizes a precise duty and not a mere permission. Far from 
demanding a purely passive obedience, Montfort on the contrary pushes 
for personal responsibility.

 

V. CONCLUSION
The originality of the Montfort triptych consists in the combination of 
three texts in a single document, which by virtue of their contents and 
literary genre, fulfill the following functions:
1. The spiritual and theological foundations of the true mission of 
the Company of Mary are clearly enunciated in the PM as explained above.
2. The structural dimension of the community’s apostolic ministry—
popular missions—and its spirituality of following Christ in evangelical 
radicalism (apostolica vivendi forma and vows in view of the mission), 
as well as submission to the Spirit and to Mary (as outlined in TD and 
SM) are all placed in the Rule of the Missionary Priests of the Company 
of Mary.
3. LCM proposes once again a fundamental dimension of the apostolic 
spirituality so dear to Montfort: the voluntary poverty of the 
missionary. Service for the reign of God demands this as a sign of an 
apostolic vocation for evangelization of the poor.
The triptych constitutes a rule of apostolic life which remains to 
this day a valuable support and guide to authentic evangelization. In 
the grace shared by the founder with his Company, resounds the voice of 
the Spirit, who calls for a sequela Christi in which “the truth will be 
a Company.”53
P. L. Nava

 

Notes:
(1) The name “Montfort triptych” has officially been used in the 
Company of Mary since 1975 cf. The Montfortorian Today, Rome 1975, 3). 
(2) The manuscript is in its third printing. The original was verified 
at the beginning of 1957. (Cf. with regard to this D. M. Huot, Traite 
prêtres de la vraie dévotion. La voix du manuscrit [Treatise on True 
Devotion. The manuscript’s voice], DMar 2 [1957] 25n.–26). For a wider 
and more detailed presentation of the manuscript, cf. H. M. Guindon, La 
Régle des prêtres missionnaires de la compagnie de Marie. Présentation 
materielle (Rule of the Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary. 
Material presentation), DMar 3 (1958) 57–58. (3) In its original form 
the manuscript started on page 3 and ended on page 82. At the end of the 
text a note in pencil (in a unknown hand) said: “Memo. The last section 
was 6 leaves (24 pages). Now it begins on page 65. This section is 
therefore missing 3 recto-verso or 6 pages.” The unfortunate loss of the 
first and the last leaves of the manuscript—which cuts out the beginning 
of PM and the end of LCM—has also deprived us, probably, of a title 
which would definitely have contributed to a more correct interpretation 
of the triptych. (4) “We are not presenting here, as promised, the Rule 
of the Company of Mary, because it is too long; we will publish it 
separately as we deem this more appropriate” (Grandet, 251). (5) 
Grandet, 244–45. (6) Besnard I, 273–328. (7) Besnard I, 186. (8) For the 
character and episcopate of Mgr. Étienne de Champflour (1702–1724), cf. 
the classic work of L. Pérouas, Le diocèse de La Rochelle de 1648 à 
1724. Sociologie et Pastorale (The Diocese of La Rochelle from 1648–
1724. Sociology and Pastoral), Paris 1964, 256–360. (9) Besnard I, 286. 
(10) Cf. P. Eijckeler, Quelques points d’histoire montfortaine, Ier 
vol.: Des origines à Monsieur Mulot exécuteur testamentaire (Several 
Points of Montfort History, vol. 1: From its Origins to Mr. Mulot, 
Executor), Rome 1972, 58–59. (11) Besnard I, 286–87. (12) The addressee 
was Sr. Catherine of Saint Bernard (Guyonne-Jeanne) who entered the 
Benedictine order of Rambervilliers in October 1702. (Cf. L 24). (13) P. 
Eijckeler, op. cit., 58. (14) Besnard I, 299. (15) Besnard I, 315. (16) 
V. Devy’s view of the influence exerted over Montfort by his 
contemporaries remains valid: Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, 
“le dernier des grands berulliens,” (Saint Louis Marie Grignion of 
Montfort, “the last of the great berullians”), Revue de l’Université 
d’Ottowa (University of Ottowa Review) 18 (1948) 249–315. More recently, 
B. Papàsogli, in her general introduction to Montfort’s works, gives an 
excellent synthesis of the sources and spiritual currents underlying the 
Montfort production: Opere, vol. 1: Scritti Spirituale (Works, vol. 1: 
Spiritual Writings), Edizioni, Monfortane, Rome 1991, 21–71. (17) On 
Olier’s idea of seminary cf. BSS generally, especially from 1976, and in 
particular G. Chaillot, “La pedagogique heritée de M. Olier d’après ses 
Memoires” (The Legacy of Olier’s Teachings Based on His Memoirs), BSS 2 
(1976) 27–64; Id., “Critères pour la formation spirituelle des pasteurs: 
la tradition pédagogique heritée de M. Olier” (Criteria for the 
Spiritual Formation of Pastors: The Legacy of Olier’s Teachings Based on 
His Memoirs), BSS 4 (1978) 15–23; id., “Monsieur Olier educateur 
spirituel des pasteurs d’après les sources principales du Traité des 
saints ordres” (Father Olier, Spiritual Teacher of Pastors According to 
the Principal Sources of the Treatise of Holy Orders), BSS 4 (1978) 205–
38; Id., “J. J. Olier et la formation pastoral des clercs” (J. J. Olier 
and the Pastoral Formation of Clerics), BSS 15 (1989) 12–17; Id., “Aux 
sources de l’esprit missionaire de Jean-Jacques Olier” (At the Source of 
Jean Jacques Olier’s Missionary Spirit), BSS 17 (1991) 18–29; A. 
Giraldo, “La formation sacerdotale dans la compagnie de Saint-Sulpice 
hier et aujourd’hui” (From the Past to the Present: Sacerdotal Formation 
in the Company of Saint Sulpice), BSS 5 (1979) 27–42. (18) S. De Fiores, 
“Le Saint-Esprit et Marie dans les derniers temps selon Grignion de 
Montfort” (The Holy Spirit and Mary in the End Times According to 
Grignion de Montfort), EtMar 43 (1986) 148–49. (19) Ibid., 60. Cf. M. 
Olphe-Gaillard, “La vie commune et l’apostolat dans la compagnie de 
Jésus” (Communal Life and Apostleship in the Company of Jesus), in 
Collectif, La vie commune (Communal Life), Le Cerf, Paris 1956, 61–74; 
“Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, fondatore della Compagnia di Gesu” (Saint 
Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Company of Jesus), La Civiltà 
cattolica Catholic Life 142, 3 (1991) 111–24. (20) “La Compagnia di Gesu 
nel 450 anniversario della sua fondazione” (The Company of Jesus on the 
450th Anniversary of its Foundation), La Civilta cattolica Catholic Life 
141, 3 (1990), 455. (21) Cf. P. Blet, “Note sur l’origine de 
l’obéissance ignatienne” (Footnote on the Origins of Ignatian 
Obedience), Gregorianum 25 (1954) 99–111; Id., “Les fondements de 
l’obéissance ignatienne” (The Foundation of Ignatian Obedience), 
Archivum historicum societatis Iesu (Historical Archive of the Company 
of Jesus) 25 (1956) 514–38. (22) Regarding the profound influence of the 
Jesuits during the visit to the Saint Thomas Beckett College of Rennes 
(1648–1692), cf. S. De Fiores, Itinerario, 34–51. (23) Cf. J. Nouet, 
L’homme d’oraison. Ses méditations pour les jours de l’année (Man of 
Prayer: Daily Meditations for the Year), Paris 1866, vol. 7, 60–67. (24) 
Cf. P. Christophe, Les Pauvres et la pauvreté du XVIe siecle à nos 
jours, IIe partie (Poverty and the Poor from the sixteenth century to 
the present, second part), Desclée, Paris 1987, 67–84. (25) Vade mecum 
du montfortain (Montfortian Vade-mecum), Mame Editions, Tours 1932, pro 
manuscripto, 64. This edition was presented in the Institute’s official 
bulletin L’Écho des missions (Mission Echo) 104 (1932) 3–6, where it was 
affirmed that the edition “is as faithful to the original text as is 
possible. Note that we say, as is possible” (at 4). In fact many 
inaccuracies were found in it: cf. J. Frissen, “Transcriptions fautives 
dans notre Vademecum” (Transcription Errors in the Vademecum), DMon 33 
(1976) 76–77. (26) Vademecum 5. (27) Cf. L’Écho des missions (Mission 
Echo), 104 (1932) 4. (28) OC 673. (29) Cf. Ph. Maroto, Regulae et 
particulares constitutiones singulorum regligionum ex jure Decretalium 
usque ad Codicem, in Acta congressus iuridici internationalis VII 
saeculo a Decretalibus Gregori IX et a XIV a Codice Iustiniano 
promulgatus (Rome, 12–17 November 1934), Rome 1937, vol. 4, 215–47; in 
particular the definition of Rule and Constitution, 214; J. Gribomont, 
Regola. Visione generale filologicastorica delle regole e coistituzioni 
religiose, in Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione (Dictionary of the 
Institute of Perfection) 7 (1983) 1411–14; G. Rocca, I codici 
legilslativi dei chierici regolarie e degli istituti del ‘600–700 (The 
Legislative Codes of Regular Clerics and of Institutes of 1600-1700), 
ibid. 1435–49. (30) Grandet, 224. (31) Besnard I, 284. (32) “The prayer 
that Montfort placed at the top of his project is comprised of nothing 
more than a collection of fervent aspirations which he used frequently. 
One cannot read it without feeling in oneself some of the holy saint’s 
enthusiasm. Everything in it gives evidence of the most ardent zeal, 
each word is like a burst of flame; and in his depiction of Mary’s 
children one has to see oneself” (Clorivière, 303–4). (33) About W. 
Faber (1814–1863), cf. R. Plus, L’oratorien Faber. L’écrivain, le maître 
spirituel (Faber the Oratorian: Writer and Spiritual Master), in NRT 72 
(1950) 296–301, with bibliographical appendix. (34) Cf. J. Freneau, 
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, ecrivain (The Writer, Saint 
Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort), DMon 47 (1972) 10. (35) Regarding the 
structure of PM, cf. H. Frehen, “Le caractère particulier de la 
compagnie de Marie suivant le P. de Montfort” (The Particular Nature of 
the Company of Mary According to Fr. de Montfort), DMon 40 (1967) 12. 
For the contents cf. J. Bombardier, “Prière pour l’Eglise. Prècis de la 
Priere de St L-M de Montfort” (Prayer for the Church: Summary of St. L. 
M. de Montfort’s Prayer) DMon 46 (1969) 1–5. Regarding certain literary 
precedents reflecting the theme of PM, with particular reference to St. 
Franci Xavier and to St. John Eudes, cf. J. Bombardier, “Deux precedents 
de la Prière embrasée” (Two precedents of the Prayer for Missionaries), 
in DMon 37 (1966) 1–6. (36) Cf. P. L. Nava, “Il Trittico monfortano: 
natura e ermeunetica. Riflessioni sulla ‘Regola.’” (The Montfort 
Triptych: Nature and Harmeneutic. Reflections on the ‘Rule’). QM 1 
(1982) 112–15. (37) Grandet, 244. (38) Besnard I, 304. (39) Clorivière, 
312. (40) Cf. the text of the Rule in Besnard I, 300–4, and in 
Clorivière 304–10. (41) S. Rituum Congregatio, Positio super scriptis, 
Rome 1851, 31. (42) Cf. S. Congr. de’ Vescovi e Regolari, Super 
approbatione Instituti et Constitutionum . . ., Rome 1853, 25. (43) A. 
Laveille, Le Bx L.-M de Montfort (1673–1716) d’après des documents 
inédits (The Blessed L. M. de Montfort: the Unedited Documents), 
Poussielgue, Paris 1907, 392. (44) E. Tisserant, Luigi-Maria Grignion de 
Montfort, le scuole di carita e le origini dei fratelli di San Gabriele 
(Louis Marie de Montfort, the School of and the Origin of the Brothers 
of Saint Gabriel), Tip. del Senato, Rome 1943, 248. (45) Cf. L. Le Crom, 
Un apôtre marial. Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673–1716) (A 
Marian Apostle: Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort), Les Traditions 
Françaises, Tourcoing 1946, 406. (46) Cf. H. Frehen, “Le caracterè 
particulier de la compagnie de Marie suivant le P. de Montfort” (The 
Particular Nature of the Company of Mary According to Fr. de Montfort), 
DMon 41 (1967) 1–15. (47) Picot de Clorivière (1785) had already 
discerned this particular character of the Company: “The idea he gives 
of the Company of Mary is noble and sublime; it demands of its members 
an unusual degree of perfection, this not only from the simple faithful 
but also from fervent Clergymen and good Religious; in short, a truly 
Apostolic perfection. This idea also sets this new Company apart from 
all the others like it which consecrate themselves to Mission work. 
Among these, there are none which do not also embrace other zealous and 
charitable works, sometimes in great number, but this variety of works, 
as good as they might be, prevents the company from devoting all its 
resources and attention to this principal work; the Company of Mary, on 
the contrary, confines itself only to this work, in order to be a body 
of light infantry, always ready to speed on its way, whenever requested 
by the good Bishops, and wherever the people most urgently are in need 
of them.” (48) M. Zappella, Il salmo 68 e la Preghiera infuocata, QM 4 
(1986) 116–17. (49) Cf. D. M. Huot, “La Règle des prêtres missionnaires 
de la compagnie de Marie. II. Présentation juridique” (Rule of the 
Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary. II. Judicial Presentation), 
Dmar 3 (1958) 76–77. (50) Cf. R. Lemoine, L’époque moderne 1563–1789. Le 
monde des religieux (The Modern Age 1563–1789: the Religious World) 
(History of Law and Institutions of the Western Church, vol. 15/2, under 
the direction of G. Le Bras and J. Gaudement), Paris 1976, 3–7. (51) Cf. 
I. Noye, La formation du clergé à la pauvreté dans la seconde moitie du 
XVIIe (The Clergy’s Embrace of Poverty in the Second Half of the 
Seventeenth Century); J. Meuvret, La situation materielle des membres du 
clergé séculier dans la France du XVIIe. Possibilites et limites des 
recherches (The Material Situation of Members of the Secular Clergy in 
Seventeenth-Century France: Possibilities and Limitations of Research), 
RHEF 54 (1968) 47–58; J. P. Devaise, Clergé rural et documents fiscaux. 
Les revenus et charges des prêtres de campagne au nord-est de Paris, 
d’après les enquetes fiscales des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Rural Clergy 
and Fiscal Documents: Revenues and Charges of Country Priests in the 
North-East of Paris According to Fiscal Inquiries During the Seventeenth 
and Eighteenth Centuries), RHMC 17 (1970) 921–52. (52) Chapter 12 of LEW 
presents “the principal utterances of Wisdom Incarnate which we must 
believe and practice if we are to be saved.” This is not merely about 
the clever juxtaposition of evangelical passages. In this central part 
of his work, Montfort takes the Lord’s actual words as the guide line 
for the inspiration of those who seriously wish to live in accordance 
with Jesus Christ and Eternal Wisdom Incarnate. The chapter ends with a 
paragraph reserved for the eight Beatitudes according to Matthew (Mt 
5.3–10); cf. LEW 151, 153). On the mountain of Zalmon, symbolic image of 
Mary, the missionaries will receive a great lesson: “Jesus Christ, who 
dwells there forever, will teach them in his own words the meaning of 
the eight beatitudes” (PM 25). (53) A. Manaranche, Prêtres à la manière 
des Apôtres pour les hommes de demain (Future Priests in the Mold of the 
Apostles), Centurion Editions, Paris 1967, 82. 

 


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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