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Our Spiritual Founder
Born in times of spiritual impoverishment
Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) lived at a time of transition. It was a time of discoveries, both of new lands and in science. A spirit of enquiry and of adventure reigned supreme.
It was also a time of great impoverishment of those who already possessed but little. Massive hunger and migration from the rural to the cities, and then to the new territories were common. The social and moral upheavals of the time were accompanied by spiritual impoverishment and corruption in high places.
A seeker of true Wisdom
Montfort, a man of great vitality, indomitable courage and spiritual strength was a seeker after the only treasure that mattered: Divine Wisdom. He was fascinated by the folly of the God who humbled himself so that human persons may be raised up.
He was equally concerned about the human race, the most brilliant of God's creation. By giving himself up to the ways of Wisdom, Montfort became a person transformed. In the process he developed a pedagogy of acquiring true Wisdom that not only guided his own inner journey but also the lives of all those he touched.
Love for the last, the lost and the least
Encounter with such true Wisdom helped Montfort to take a stand that was contrary to the ways of the world. He chose absolute poverty in the face of crass materialism; powerlessness in the face of a world seeking after position and prestige; deep experience of God in the face of spiritual indifference; spirit of community in the face of individualism; and intellectual moral and spiritual depth in the face of superficialities.
Montfort sought to lead the world around him in the ways of such wisdom, beginning with the poorest, the lost and the least, He did so in different ways as in 'charity schools' for the young, mass education using his great oratorical skills, collective social action, and writing scholarly volumes, popular tracts, poems and letters.
St Louis-Marie's threefold purpose of Montfortian Education
To learn, understand and love God as Wisdom
To understand and transform oneself in the ways of Wisdom
To become committed to transform society in obedience to Wisdom
Image of the Cesson Bridges as it stands today.
(Credit goes to Pymouss for the wonderful picture)
Montfortian Icon: St. Louis at the Cesson Bridge
On his way to Paris to pursue his priestly studies, Montfort met three beggars with whom he exchanged his new clothes and voluntarily gave up every single one of his possessions at the Cesson Bridge. Montfort radically decided to become poor for the sake of Christ and totally depended on Divine Providence.
Till this day - 300 years after the fact, this moment of selflessness remains an icon of Montfortian education and spirituality.