Montfort in the World
Go into the world and preach the Good News
From the earliest years of his seminary training, Saint Louis de Montfort wanted to go to the far off missions of Canada and preach to the native people there. He dreamed of being among the people who had gone there to settle and also the native people to help spread the Gospel message. His dream kept him always looking ahead, but he served as a missionary in his homeland.
Saint Louis de Montfort joined mission teams in the first years after his ordination to the priesthood. At the time this was one of the most popular “tools” being used to help renew the church in France and bring back the many people who had grown lax in the practice of their faith. Montfort was famous for his preaching and the strength of his message. He learned to preach in such a way that all who heard him felt as is he was speaking directly to them. Still he yearned to be able to preach more freely about the Wisdom of God and how we can follow Jesus like Mary. In 1706 Pope Clement gave him the title, Missionary Apostolic , which enabled him to go throughout France and preach the Good News.
Montfort dreamt and prayed for others who would join him on such a mission. His first followers came from among the diocesan clergy and were men who were drawn to Montfort’s energy about the Gospel and love for the church and its people. In time these formed themselves into the company of preachers for which Montfort had already written a rule. Today these men who follow in Montfort’s path and “walk in the footsteps of the poor apostles” are members of the Missionaries of the Company of Mary, although the community is more commonly known as the Montfort Missionaries.
Missionaries are men who go where there is a need to preach the Gospel message and to walk alongside the people as they work to build up the church.
Company because no missionary works alone. He belongs to others through his vows and all that he has serves the mission of the Church and, primarily, the people to whom he is sent. Together with other members of the community the missionaries work as a team to continue Montfort’s work of renewing the Church and evangelizing the poor.
Mary is the model disciple for the Church. She was the first to say “Yes” to the will of God and through her we are able to follow Jesus today. Her example of following Jesus in his ministry, of listening and prayerfully guarding all that happened in her heart, and her stedfast love for Him are all characteristics of a Montfort Missionary. As a company we walk with Jesus as did Mary, giving life and love to the Good News in the flesh and blood reality of every place we serve.
Consider your baptism. Remember that you are called to preach the Good News, too. Look to Mary to show you how to “do as he tells you.” And take one step to build up the Kingdom of God as one who lives for God Alone.
Father Gerald Fitzsimmons, SMM preaches at the Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine in Litchfield, CT
Montfort Missionaries can be found in the following countries around the world:
North America and Caribbean
United States of America
St. Maarten (West Indies)
Central and South America
DR of the Congo
Papua New Guinea
And check out the website for the whole Congregation of the Montfort Missionaries. It can be found at www.montfort.org .
Fr. Alonso Lazo Orozco, SMM rides to a mission station for mass. Nicaragua.