Title Page, Forward, other Front Matter

Author: St. Louis de Montfort




O Jesus, alive in Mary,
Come dwell in us and reign,
Pour out your life in us,
No more to live but for you.

Shape there your noble virtues,
Your Spirit and his holiness,
Your maxims without flaw,
The passion of your charity.

Make us sharers in your mysteries,
That we might imitate you here below;
Send us the keenness of your light,
To guide our every step.

To the glory of your Father,
In the power of your Name,
Reign in us, through your Mother
Over nature and demon!

St. Louis Marie de Montfort
Hymn 111, to the melody of the song "Reveillez-vous"
Translated by Rev. Charles Underhill Quinn

"Thanks to Saint Louis of Montfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric, indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption."

His Holiness John Paul II, from
Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Knoph, New York 1994


Stefano De Fiores

Alphonse Bossard - Patrick Gaffney


Patrick Gaffney

Richard J. Payne

Jesus Living in Mary:
Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort
Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, NY

Gerald J. Fitzsimmons, S.M.M.
Provincial Superior

Rev. David Liptak
Censor Librorum

Most Rev. Daniel A. Cronin
Archbishop of Hartford

Montfort Publications
26 S. Saxon Ave.
Bayshore, N.Y. 11706

Handbook Editorial Offices:
P.O. Box 667, Montfort Road,
Litchfield Ct. 06759

Copyright © 1994 by The Montfort Missionaries
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of Montfort Publications.

Designed and Typeset by Sara Day Graphic Design, Beverly, Massachusetts

Front Cover Art by Vittoria Paravicini Bagliani: Cross icon depicts Virgin Mary and the Apostle John with Blessed Marie Louise and St. Louis de Montfort beneath. At bottom, St. Laurent-sur-Sevre.

Back Cover Art by Gisele A. Branchard: Weaving in which Mother Marie Louise holds scroll with the words "Yes, you will possess wisdom". Father de Montfort holds scroll saying "I am all yours and all that I have is yours".

Photos by Robert Houser.

Back Flap Art (artist unknown): The Rennes Painting probably from the deathbed sketch of Montfort.

Front Flap Art: Wood statue of Our Lady of Wisdom which tradition holds to have been carved by Montfort. Photo by Robert Houser.

Printed in the United States of America by
Princeton Academic Press, Princeton, New Jersey

ISBN # 0-910-984-58-1

# 94-077726


St. Louis de Montfort’s signed motto was: God Alone. He was dedicated to this goal, to this ideal alone. For the journey from God Alone to God Alone, he asked that it be the battle cry, one uttered with St. Michael the Archangel. He used the heart symbol as a reminder that the God who is worshiped is the God who is love.

The deathbed signature of the saint on his last will and testament. April 27, 1716.

Foreword xi
Preface xiii
Introduction xv
Adoration 1
Angels/Demons 11
Apostle 19
Associations  31
Baptism 45
Beautitudes 57
Beauty 67
Bible 85
Brothers of St.
   Gabriel 117
Canonization 127
Charisms 135
Childhood 153
Church 165
Company of Mary 181
Consecration 199
Covenant 235
Creation 241
Cross 255
Daughters of
   Wisdom  281
Discernment 299
Disciple 315
Ecumenism 323
Education 333
End Times 345
Eucharist 369
Faith 391
Family 401
Fidelity 415
Freedom 425

French School 437
Friendship 459
God 467
Grace 485
Holy Spirit 493
Hope 505
Hymns 515
Iconography 527
Incarnation 539
Inculturation 557
Jesus Christ 565
Last Things 579
Legion of Mary 597
Little Crown 607
Liturgy 617
Love 627
Love of the Eternal Wisdom 633
Magnificat 649
Man 657
Marie Louise 667
Mary 687
Milieu 725
Model 743
Montfort, St. Louis Marie de 753
Montfort Spirituality 815
Mortification 841
Mystic 849
Noels/Christmas 861
Oxford Movement 875
Parish Missions 883
Path of Perfection 907
Peace 915
Penance 921

Pilgrimage 931
Pope/bishops 941
Poverty 953
Prayer 969
Priest 981
Providence 997
Psalms 1013
Reign 1023
Reparation 1041
Retreat 1047
Rosary 1055
Sacred Heart 1075
Saint 1089
Salvation 1103
Secret of Mary 1113
Sick 1125
Silence 1131
Sin 1141
Slavery of Love 1157
Tenderness 1169
Trinity 1177
Triptych 1191
True Devotion 1209
Virtues 1231
Wisdom 1251
Zeal 1273

Acknowledgments 1281
Contributors 1283
Bibliography 1289
Afterword 1303
Subject Index 1307
Proper Name Index 1351
Biblical Index  1374


It is a testimony to the beauty and power of St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s teaching that, nearly three centuries after his death, Christians on five continents are still drawn to his example and his message. This Apostolic Missionary progressively opens for us a path of baptismal conversion and transformation that leads us toward selfless
commitment in service of those in need and toward genuine and profound holiness. The presence of the Virgin of Nazareth in the life of the Christian becomes the crucible in which the fire of the Spirit forms Jesus Christ in us and us in Him.

Yet precisely this distance of three centuries requires that contemporary men and women seek guidance in interpreting Montfort’s worldview and thought in light of the culture and theologies of the new millennium. If anything, St. Louis Marie de Montfort wonderfully understood the people of his time and place; three hundred years later he would surely seek companions who could reveal the treasures of Divine Wisdom to the men and women of our vastly different age.

The general councils of the Montfort Family—the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, the Daughters of Wisdom, and the Brothers of St. Gabriel—commissioned JESUS LIVING IN MARY, Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort with this end in mind. Most sincere
gratitude is due to the editors: Fr. Stefano De Fiores, Fr. Alphonse Bossard, and Fr. Patrick Gaffney, as well as to all the authors and collaborators, without whose learning and dedication this volume would be impossible.

St. Louis Marie de Montfort wrote with fire and clarity, deeply rooted in the scriptures and in the theological tradition of the Church. Nevertheless, he always prized the Wisdom of God above all other human intellectual efforts. May this handbook be an instrument, a channel, for a deeper comprehension of Montfort’s spirituality, but may Our Lady and the Holy Spirit prepare our hearts—like that of Blessed Marie Louise Trichet, Montfort’s first disciple in this way of holiness—for the presence of the Wisdom of Love.

William Considine, s.m.m.
Superior General of the Company of Mary


Apparently a collection of diversified topics, this Handbook of the Spirituality of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort hopes to offer the opportunity for a unique, profound and unified experience of the Holy. The volume enables an experience—how-ever slight—of mystery in its deep meaning: a taste of what is beyond the senses, a knowledge of what cannot be grasped, a sight of what cannot be seen. The articles taken as a whole are an introduction to the  wisdom of a giant among the saints, a vagabond Gospel troubadour known simply as the Father from the village of Montfort.

There is a double polarity which is clearly experienced  as one plunges into the depths of the ecclesial grace God offered this missionary. There is, first of all, the   feeling of  profound satisfaction as one discovers the fulfillment for which one’s very existence has almost unknowingly yearned. But as our spirit peacefully sighs, "I am at home here!," there is at the same time a subtle groan from deep within our being, "I do not want to be here!" It is as though a primordial battle is being fought within the profundity of our existence, a combat between good and evil, between life and death itself. And we know that we are not the only participants in this struggle. We are one with all peoples from the start of the human race to fulfillment; in fact, with all matter, even the farthest speck of existence in outer space. Our insatiable, sinful nature insanely demands to be constantly fed; far stronger still is the craving of the spirit for the Only who can fulfill our being itself. 

The spirituality of Saint Louis Marie strongly lures us to free ourselves of those all too comfortable sinful shackles which prohibit unrestrained soaring into the brightness of eternal Light. By disclosing through present realities the ultimately triumphant and glorious end times, he urges us to listen not to the voice of the evil one which only leads to existential defeat.

Everything in Montfort cries out: "Choose Life, no matter the painful wrenching involved!" "Choose the Cross for it is only from its triumphant Wood that you pluck the fruit of  eternal Life." "Choose  Incarnate Wisdom and become a fool in the eyes of the world."When through God’s gift we actively let ourselves be drawn into God Alone, wonderful yet awesome transformations begin to occur. The inherent weakness of language makes it impossible fully to express the splendor of the path undertaken. It is the glory of the tenderness of God. It is the taste of the Trinity of Love. It is our fulfillment within the dynamic Lover who so powerfully divinizes us.

The Montfort path is the same one which Wisdom took  to enter the human family: the Immaculate Mary. Her spirit permeates every aspect of Father de Montfort’s staunchly Christ-centered doctrine. To be bathed in her spirit is the turning point of our advance into a renewed baptismal consecration of union with the triune God.

The key, then, to an understanding of Montfort spirituality is to grasp that this vagabond saint is unreservedly—madly, the world would say—in love with Love Itself, who becomes enfleshed through Mary’s "Yes." Love-language is his vocabulary. Expressions which shock, like "slavery," "desire for the Cross," "the anger of God," "lose yourself in Mary," must be defined only through the help of the dictionary of love. His writings and most especially his canticles are a rendition of the Song of Songs.

This strong and uncompromising spirituality overflows into every aspect of existence. A life of evangelical freedom, totally trusting in God’s loving providence; a servant’s active love for the poor, the outcasts; an unflinching fidelity to the Church: they are some of the characteristics of those who integrate the saint’s consecration spirituality in their life. Montfort’s hope is to form a great squadron of men and women from every walk of life to live the gospel of Jesus Christ so valiantly that the Church will be constantly reformed and the earth renewed.

Too long has this treasure been hoarded. This Handbook is published so that all, most especially Montfort’s beloved laypeople, can share in this saint’s evangelical vision. Its appearance marks an important moment not only in the history of the communities Saint Louis de Montfort founded, but for the faithful throughout the world. This English edition has gone through drastic revisions since its anticipated audience is so broadly based. It is not intended just for English speaking Christians of the western world; on the contrary, its readers will include, among others, numerous Asians and Africans. The contents of this Handbook cannot respond to all the circumstances of such a wide group. Moreover, most of the authorities on Saint Louis de Montfort are—at least at this time—representative of the West and are understandably contextualized by its culture. Nonetheless, we are convinced that this volume will do immeasurable good in renewing the baptismal commitments of the faithful throughout the world. Theologians and spiritual authors will find in these pages insights into the teachings of Saint Louis de Montfort which have at times been misunderstood if not caricatured, since never explained—at least in English—as a whole. It is among the hopes of the editors that the real Montfort will come forth from these pages who will then challenge contemporary society—as he did his own—to a deeper and more powerful apostolic life in the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom, the son of Mary.

To study the Handbook with profit, it is strongly recommended that the reader have at hand a copy of God Alone: The Collected Works of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. The Collected Works and the Handbook are twin volumes which depend on each other. 

The reader cannot fail to notice the hundred and more references to the Hymns of Father de Montfort which are interspersed throughout this volume. As yet these Canticles   are not found in English although they form a major part of his works. This startling lack will be filled by winter 1995 when the English translation of the Canticles will at last be published. May the trilogy—Collected Works, Handbook and Canticles—form a powerful instrument of constant renewal within the People of God.

This volume could not have seen the light of day without the enthusiastic support and expertise of Richard Payne. To him and to all the contributors, assistants and benefactors, the Company of Mary offers heartfelt thanks.

Patrick Gaffney, s.m.m.
Montfort Pilgrimage and Retreat Center
Litchfield, Connecticut, July 8, 1994


This book may be considered as a "barometer of the times." It records, bears witness, and gives meaning to our situation and anticipates history’s path into the future. The editors of this handbook sought to capture what is essential in the spirituality of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, but they wished to remain concise. They sought what was perennial and deep, but they wished to remain current and clear. The past publishing success of works from or about the classical traditions of Christian spirituality that have appeared in many countries demonstrate that they respond to the pressing hunger in our contemporary society for what is "tried and true." Yet, carried away by the dizzying rhythms of present-day life, locked in a struggle with time and space, modern men and women want to know as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

This book represents a desire to respond concisely and profoundly to the need felt by many contemporary Christians to draw fully on the experience and the writings of the great missionary and spiritual father St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716).

Montfort’s influence is widespread. It affects all levels of people and transcends cultural boundaries: from the ordinary Christian to Pope John Paul II, who has acknowledged that his own spiritual life is greatly indebted to his reading of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. St. Louis Marie de Montfort is the sole modern author he cites in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater (1987), as a "witness and teacher" of true Marian spirituality.

This is a timely and, indeed, necessary moment to present to the women and men of today, and especially to religious families who are inspired by Montfort, the whole of his spiritual legacy to the Church. We must render justice where it is due. During the three centuries that separate us from Montfort, his spirituality has been given serious study through the prism of this aspect or that: sometimes in the light of his devotion to Our Lady, at other times in the light of his love for Eternal Wisdom, of his apostolic inspiration, or of his prophetic vision of the latter times. Our duty now is to broaden those horizons and, without losing any of the contributions made in the past, encompass all of Montfort’s major contributions to the field of Christian spirituality.

Since the publication in 1966 of the first French edition of the complete works of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, an effort has been under way to make available worldwide the entire corpus of Montfort’s writings. This book is part of that effort. It attempts to offer readers the joy of discovering in Montfort a spirituality that is not confined to those classical limits familiar to everyone (such as Christ Wisdom, the Cross, Mary, the apostolate, etc.). It embraces other themes as well, such as friendship, covenant, God, Holy Spirit, Providence, world, faith, hope, love . . .

Other characteristics make this handbook distinctive. Readers will not find an encyclopedic compendium of all of Montfort’s themes; instead, the most important concerns of modern spiritual life are here. This book is not concerned with providing information but, rather, with giving
readers the formation fundamental for true Christian living. Each article endeavors to serve as a short treatise. Although it gives special attention to Montfort’s historical and spiritual milieu, the handbook is not a prisoner of the seventeenth century. While avoiding extrapolation, it attempts to speak the language of men and women of today and, as much as possible, incarnate Montfort spirituality in modern-day culture, taking advantage of certain advances in theology and the social sciences.

If the handbook is successful in performing this service, we undoubtedly owe its success to the contributors, who drafted the various articles with love and skill, the insightful expert advisers A. Bossard and P. Gaffney, and the diligent translators and secretaries. But above all we owe it to Father Gérard Lemire, recently superior general of the Montfort Missionaries, who, with the full agreement of Sister Ines of the Eucharist, superior general of the Daughters of Wisdom, and with Brother Jean Friant, superior general of the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Saint Gabriel, is responsible for the idea of this handbook on montfort spirituality.

May we express the wish that this handbook will embrace a wider circle of readers, leading to a personal, transforming, and definitive encounter with God, who through the saints lets a ray of His glory shine on the paths of history.
Stefano De Fiores, S.M.M.
General Editor
Rome, April 28, 1993


A. God Alone, The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort

L  Letters
LS Le livre des sermons du Pére de Montfort: Documents et
VI Centre International Montfortain, Rome 1983.
LEW The Love of Eternal Wisdom
FC Letter to the Friends of the Cross
SR The Secret of the Holy Rosary
MR Methods for Saying the Rosary
SM The Secret of Mary
TD True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin
PM Prayer for Missionaries
RM Rule of the Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary
LCM Letter to the Members of the Company of Mary
WC The Wisdom Cross of Poitiers
RW Original Rule of the Daughters of Wisdom
MLW Maxims and Lessons of Divine Wisdom
LPM Letter to the People of Montbernage
RV Rule of the Forty-four Virgins
RP Rule of the White Penitents
PS Pilgrimage of the Penitents to Our Lady of Saumur
CG Covenant with God
W  The Last Will of Saint Louis Marie
MP Morning Prayer
NP Night Prayer
H  Hymns
RVP Rules on Voluntary Poverty in the Early Church
MRL Four Short Meditations on the Religious Life
S  The Book of Sermons
HD Dispositions for a Happy Death
N  Notebook

B. Documents of the Second Vatican Council

AA Apostolicam actuositatem
AG Ad gentes
CD Christus Dominus
DH Dignitatis humanæ
DV Dei Verbum
GE Gravissimum educationis
GS Gaudium et spes
IM Inter mirifica
LG Lumen gentium
NA Nostra ætate
OE Orientalium ecclesiarum
OT Optatam totius
PC Perfectæ caritatis
PO Presbyterorum ordinis
SC Sacrosanctum concilium
UR Unitatis redintegratio

C. Dictionaries, Reviews, and Other Sources

AAS Acta Apostolicæ Sedis.
AGCM Archives générales de la Compagnie de Marie. Viale dei Monfortani 65, Rome.
AGFS Archives générales des Filles de la Sagesse. Via dei Casali di Torrevecchia 16, Rome.
ALLAIRE [R. Allaire], Abrégé / de la vie et des vertus / de la soeur / Marie-Louise / de Jésus, / Supèrieure / des Filles de la Sagesse, / instituées / par M. Louis-Marie Grignon / de Montfort, Prêtre, Missionnaire / Apostolique. / A Poitiers, / Chez Jean-Félix Faulcon, Imprimeur / de Monseigneur l’Evêque, & du Clergé. / Place et vis-à-vis Notre-Dame la Grande. / M.DCC.LXVIII. / Avec permission. 438 pp.
BESNARD I C. Besnard, Vie de M. Louis-Marie de Montfort. Rome: Centre International Montfortain, 1981. Vol. 1, xiv-328 pp.
BESNARD II C. Besnard, Vie de M. Louis-Marie de Montfort Rome: Centre International Montfortain, 1981. Vol. 2, 346 pp.
BLAIN J.-B. Blain, Abrégé de la vie de Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. Rome: Centre Internationa Montfortain, 1973. xviii-227 pp.
BSM Bollettino di storia monfortana.
CM Cahiers marials.
CLORIVIÈRE La Vie de M. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort / Missionnaire Apostolique / Instituteur des Missionnaires du Saint-Esprit et des Filles de la Sagesse / par Mr. P. J. Picot de Clorivière, recteur de Paramé / M.DCC.LXXXV / Avec approbation et Privilège du roi. xii-587 pp.
DB Dictionnaire de la Bible.
DMar Documentation mariale.
DMon Documentation montfortaine.
DS Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion symbolorum.
DSAM Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique.
DTC Dictionnaire de théologie catholique.
EM Ephemerides mariologicæ.
EstMar Estudios marianos.
EtMar Etudes mariales.
FLORENCE Sr. Florence and anonymous author, Chroniques primitives de Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. Rome: Centre International Montfortain, 1967. xvii-202 pp.
GA St. Louis Marie de Montfort, God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort. Bay Shore, N.Y.: Montfort Publications, 1987.
GRANDET J. Grandet, La Vie / de Messire / Louis-Marie / Grignion / de Montfort, / Prêtre du Clergé. / A Nantes, / Chez N. Verger, Imprimeur du / Roy & de Monseigneur l’Evêque. / Grand’rue, au nom de JESUS. / Avec Approbation & Privilège du Roy. / M.DCC.XXIV. xix-441 pp.
ITINERARIO Stephano De Fiores, Itinerario spirituale di S. Luigi Maria di Montfort (1673-1716) nel pariodo fino al sacerdozip (5 giugno 1700). University of Dayton (Ohio), 1974 (vol. b of Maryan Library Studies)
MANSI Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio.
MARIA H. du Manoir, ed., Maria: Études sur la sainte vierge, 8 vol.Mar Marianum.
MC Apostolic exhortation of Paul VI "Marialis cultus."
NDM Nuovo dizionario di mariologia.
NDS Nuovo dizionario di spiritualità.
NRT Nouvelle revue théologique.
OB San Luis-Maria G. De Montfort, Obras. Madrid: Biblioteca de
Autores Cristianos, 1954, 1984.
OC S. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Oeuvres Complètes. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1966.
OM S. Luigi-Maria Grignion de Montfort, Opere. Rome: Centro Mariano Monfortano, 1977.
PAPÀSOGLI Papàsogli, Montfort, A Prophet for His Times. Rome: Edizione Monfortane, 1991.
PéROUAS Pérouas, A Way to Wisdom.
PG Migne, Patrologia, series græca.
PL Migne, Patrologia, series latina.
PMon Perspectives montfortaines.
QM Quaderni monfortani.
QOAH Queen of All Hearts.
RDC Regina dei Cuori.
Rmat Encyclical Redemptoris Mater.
RMon Rencontres montfortaines.
RPM Revue des prêtres de Marie.
RSPT Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques.
SC Sources chrétiennes.
Smun The Concise Sacramentum Mundi Encyclopedia of Theology.
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Catholic Book
Publishing Co., 1994.
VS La vie spirituelle.

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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