VENERABLE BRETHREN AND BELOVED SONS.
When Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, whom, by the Guiding Spirit of the Holy Ghost, we have just honored with the title of Saint, came to this hallowed City to venerate the Tomb of Peter, he learnt from our late predecessor Clement XI that he was not destined, as was his wish, to preach the Gospel in foreign lands but rather to bring back his own country to the true Christian way of living.
Obeying wholeheartedly the instructions given him by the Holy Father, he returned to France and throughout his whole life did everything he could to carry out the wishes and counsels of Rome. The Apostolic Pilgrim covered the length and breadth of his native Brittany several times—on foot—visiting towns, cities, villages and out-of-the-way hamlets; and wherever this Apostle of Divine Truth, this keen propagator of virtue went, he brought about a complete renewal of Christian life: disputes were settled, discords reconciled, enmities suppressed; the smoldering embers of faith were rekindled and charity yielded most copious and salutary fruits.
Those who propagated error, very often under the, guise of truth, always found in him a tireless and strenuous opponent; he fiercely opposed all who popularized erroneous pious practices or who upheld doctrine contrary to the teaching of the Church. As a result of his labors the integrity of Catholic Doctrine was safeguarded and the Catholic Faith shone not only in the minds of men, but also in private and public life alike.
The rule of life he had drawn up for himself and which he followed to his dying day, he bequeathed, as a sacred heritage, to the two Religious Congregations founded by him. And it is true to say that if these Congregations strive to follow him in his footsteps, which in fact they do, if they emulate his powerful love of God and neighbor, and like him honor the Virgin Mother of God with an ardent love, if they imitate his profound humility, his love of poverty, his passionate love of prayer, then there can be no doubt that like their Father and Founder, they will be working out, in the best possible way their own salvation and helping in that of their neighbor.
In this hour of rejoicing, there is no need to exhort you to imitate him in all his religious life . . . the facts speak for themselves. Let us simply recall to mind how he succeeded in converting so many souls, bringing them back to a life of penance and the practice of virtue, how he managed to make so many journeys, and how he triumphed over heavy opposition and the difficult times in which he lived.
All these things, Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, are easy to understand when we consider his burning love for Christ, his fiery, solid and true devotion to the Mother of God. For him, God was all; for him nothing was more preferable, nothing more pleasing than to see Him in all things and to know Him and love Him in all things; his one wish was to follow the will of God and to devote himself entirely to the spreading of His glory. His sermons reflected the love of God that burned within him; he preached with such force and clarity as to draw all men to him in one sweep, and win them over from error and vice to truth and penance, from indifference and lukewarmness towards divine things to zeal in the salvation of souls . . .
But not only his spiritual sons but all Christians have a duty to follow his example, especially in these days when Faith languishes, morals are offended and deplorable discords abound . . .