St. Louis de Montford – a Turning Point for Karol Wojtyla


Today is a special day for those who follow the lead of Pope John Paul II — it is the feast day of St. Louis de Montford. The discovery of the writing and the devotion of St. Louis served as a turning point in his life. For here he found a “Marian devotion that was based completely on Jesus Christ, the Incarnation and Redemption. De Montford’s work was one of those books that it was not enough to have read. It had to become life. Years later he still remembered carrying it around with him for a long time, even at a sodium factory, with the result that its handsome binding became spotted with lime. From then on, his love of Mary, the Mother of God, sprang from the very heart of the Trinity and jesus Christ. It deepened into an intellectual vision that would eventually also incorporate his developing insights into the Church and the human person.” Brendan Leahy, “Totus Tuus: The Mariology of John Paul II,” in John Paul the Great, ed. William Oddie (2003)
Leahy is right — this book must be lived, not just read. Its deep impact on the Pope can be gauged by the very motto of his papacy “Totus tuus,” or “All yours” words from De Montford’s consecration to Mary.

In the the words of John Paul II: “Totus Tuus. This phrase is not only an expression of piety, or simply an expression of devotion. It is more. During the Second World War, while I was employed as a factory worker, I came to be attracted to Marian devotion. At first, it had seemed to me that I should distance myself a bit from the Marian devotion of my childhood, in order to focus more on Christ. 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. And so, I rediscovered Marian piety, this time with a deeper understanding. This mature form of devotion to the Mother of God has stayed with me over the years, bearing fruit in the encyclicals Redemptoris Mater and Mulieris Dignitatem.” (Crossing the Threshold of Hope).
On this day, the Feast of St. Louis de Montford, I wish to thank my student, Sri. We are reading together Augustine and Aquinas on grace and today was a last meeting for this semester. We have read Augustine’s Nature and Grace and Spirit and Letter; and we read parts of the Summa on grace. He is thoroughly familiar with the work of St Louis and he explained it to me in light of our reading of Augustine. Later in the day he returned from Veritas bookstore with a few books on this devotion which he gave to me. I am now ready to follow the lead of Pope John Paul II in preparing for the consecration.

If anyone is interested in making this important act of devotion, get a copy of “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” by St Louis de Montford, or visit the following website
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