Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673 – 1716) was born in Montfort, France, the eldest surviving child of eighteen siblings. From an early age, he had great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, going into the local church before and after class in order to pray before Our Lord in the tabernacle. His deep prayer life opened his heart to God’s call and, when nineteen years old, he went to Paris to study for the priesthood. At the outset of this journey, he gave all his money to the poor and then travelled on foot, begging his way to his destination.
Saint Louis was ordained at the age of twenty-seven and appointed chaplain of a hospital in Nantes. His desire was to become a missionary in Canada; however, he was dissuaded of this by his spiritual director. Soon after his ordination he obtained permission to join the Dominican third order, to preach the rosary, and to form rosary confraternities. Five years later, he made a pilgrimage to Rome. There, he spoke with the pope who recognized his gift as a preacher and advised him to preach missions in France. Saint Louis was then sent back with the title of Apostolic Missionary.
He carried out this task with zeal, preaching mostly in Brittany and the Vendée. He saw in Our Lady a sure way to Jesus Christ and recommended total consecration to her as a means of obtaining union with God. As any good soldier of Christ, he had enemies. He was poisoned by them and though he did not die, he never fully recovered his health after this attempt on his life.
Saint Louis died at the age of forty-three from an illness and was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Among other works, Saint Louis wrote True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary and The Secret of the Rosary.