Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 27: Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort


Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (31 January 1673 – 28 April 1716) was a French Roman Catholic priest and Confessor. He was known in his time as a preacher and was made a missionary apostolic by Pope Clement XI.


As well as preaching, Montfort found time to write a number of books which went on to become classic Catholic titles and influenced several popes. Montfort is known for his particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the practice of praying the Rosary.

Montfort is considered as one of the early writers in the field of Mariology. His most notable works regarding Marian devotions are contained in Secret of the Rosary and True Devotion to Mary.

The Roman Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, canonized Montfort on July 20, 1947. A "founders statue" created by Giacomo Parisini is located in an upper niche of the south nave of St. Peter's Basilica.

He was born in 1673 in Montfort-sur-Meu, the eldest surviving child of eighteen born to Jean-Baptiste and Jeanne Robert Grignion. His father was a notary. Louis-Marie passed most of his infancy and early childhood in Iffendic, a few kilometers from Montfort, where his father had bought a farm. At the age of 12, he entered the Jesuit College of St Thomas Becket in Rennes, where his uncle was a parish priest.

At the end of his ordinary schooling, he began his studies of philosophy and theology, still at St Thomas in Rennes. Listening to the stories of a local priest, the Abbé Julien Bellier, about his life as an itinerant missionary, he was inspired to preach missions among the very poor. And, under the guidance of some other priests he began to develop his strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He was then given the opportunity, through a benefactor, to go to Paris to study at the renowned Seminary of Saint-Sulpice towards the end of 1693. When he arrived in Paris, it was to find that his benefactor had not provided enough money for him, so he lodged in a succession of boarding houses, living among the very poor, in the meantime attending the Sorbonne University for lectures in theology. After less than two years, he became very ill and had to be hospitalized, but survived his hospitalization and the blood letting that was part of his treatment at the time.

Upon his release from the hospital, to his surprise he found himself with a place reserved at the Little Saint-Sulpice, which he entered in July 1695. Saint-Sulpice had been founded by Jean-Jacques Olier, one of the leading exponents of what came to be known as the French school of spirituality. Given that he was appointed the librarian, his time at Saint-Sulpice gave him the opportunity to study most of the available works on spirituality and, in particular, on the Virgin Mary's place in the Christian life. This later led to his focus on the Holy Rosary and his acclaimed book the Secret of the Rosary.

Even as a seminarian in Paris, Montfort was known for the veneration he had toward the angels: he "urged his confreres to show marks of respect and tenderness to their guardian angels." He often ended his letters with a salutation to the guardian angel of the person to whom he was writing: "I salute your guardian angel". He also saluted all the angels in the city of Nantes, a custom that, it appears, he repeated when he entered a new village or city.

One of the reasons why Saint Louis Marie de Montfort had such devotion to the angels is that veneration of the pure spirits was an integral part of his training and also of his culture. His college teachers, the Jesuits, were known for their zeal in propagating devotion to the angels. Montfort's seminary training under the Sulpicians brought him into contact with the thought of Cardinal de Bérulle and Olier, both of whom had deep veneration for the angels. Furthermore, in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, manuals of piety and treatises on the pure spirits were numerous.

He was ordained a priest in June 1700, and assigned to Nantes. His great desire was to go to the foreign missions, preferably to the new French colony of Canada, but his spiritual director advised against it. His letters of this period show that he felt frustrated from the lack of opportunity to preach as he felt he was called to do.

In November 1700 he joined the Third Order of the Dominicans and asked permission not only to preach the rosary, but also to form rosary confraternities. He began to consider the formation of a small company of priests to preach missions and retreats under the standard and protection of the Blessed Virgin. This eventually led to the formation of the Company of Mary. At around this time, when he was appointed the chaplain of the hospital of Poitiers, he first met Blessed Marie Louise Trichet. That meeting became the beginning of Blessed Marie Louise's 34 years of service to the poor.

Montfort set off to make a pilgrimage to Rome, to ask Pope Clement XI what he should do. The Pope recognized his real vocation and, telling him there was plenty of scope for its exercise in France, sent him back with the title of Apostolic Missionary. On his return from his long pilgrimage to Rome, Montfort made a retreat at Mont Saint Michel "to pray to this archangel to obtain from him the grace to win souls for God, to confirm those already in God's grace, and to fight Satan and sin". These occasions gave him time to think, contemplate and write.

For several years he preached in missions from Brittany to Nantes. As his reputation as a missioner grew, he became known as "the good Father from Montfort". At Pontchateau he attracted hundreds of people to help him in the construction of a huge Calvary. However, on the very eve of its blessing, the Bishop, having heard it was to be destroyed on the orders of the King of France under the influence of members of the Jansenist school, forbade its benediction. It is reported that upon receiving this news, he simply said, "Blessed be God."

He left Nantes and the next several years were extraordinarily busy for him. He was constantly occupied in preaching missions, always walking between one and another. Yet he found time also to write: his True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary and the Secret of the Rosary, rules for the Company of Mary and the Daughters of Wisdom, and many hymns. His missions made a great impact, especially in the Vendée.

The heated style of his preaching was regarded by some people as somewhat strange and he was poisoned once. Although it did not prove fatal, it caused his health to deteriorate. Yet he continued, undeterred. He went on preaching and established free schools for the poor boys and girls.

The bishop of La Rochelle had been impressed with Montfort for some time and invited him to open a school there. Montfort enlisted the help of his follower Marie Louise Trichet, who was then running the General Hospital in Poitiers. In 1715 Marie Louise and Catherine Brunet left Poitiers for La Rochelle to open the school there and in a short time it had 400 students.

On August 22, 1715, Trichet and Brunet, along with Marie Valleau and Marie Régnier from La Rochelle, received the approbation of Bishop de Champflour of La Rochelle to make their religious profession under the direction of Montfort. At the ceremony Montfort told them: "Call yourselves the Daughters of Wisdom,[3] for the teaching of children and the care of the poor." The Daughters of Wisdom grew into an international organization and the placing of Montfort's founders statue in Saint Peter's Basilica was based on that organization.

Montfort's 16 years of priesthood include many months of solitude, perhaps as many as a total of four years; at the cave of Mervent, amidst the beauty of the forest, at the hermitage of Saint Lazarus near the village of Montfort, and at the hermitage of Saint Eloi in La Rochelle.

Worn out by hard work and sickness, he finally came in April 1716 to Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre to begin the mission which was to be his last. During it, he fell ill and died on 28 April of that year. He was 43 years old, and had been a priest for only 16 years. His last sermon was on the tenderness of Jesus and the Incarnate Wisdom of the Father. Thousands gathered for his burial in the parish church, and very quickly there were stories of miracles performed at his tomb.

Exactly 43 years later, on April 28, 1759, Marie Louise Trichet also died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre and was buried next to Montfort. On September 19, 1996, Pope John Paul II (who beatified Trichet) came to the same site to meditate and pray at their adjacent tombs.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How you can help fund the next prize without giving me money!

My kids and I are currently working on a new armchair treasure hunt called Treasure In A Field. It will be a Minecraft* novel filled with adventure and intrigue. The main character, EpIcOnE7, embarks on a treasure hunt and needs to solve various puzzles in order to cobble together a 20-digit code that will unlock the chest with the treasure. The reader will join "Epic" in his quest by solving those very same puzzles to create the 20-digit code needed to claim the real-life prize. We're aiming to have this new hunt published in late Summer or early Fall of 2019. 

There are a couple of different ways you can help fund the prize without giving me money.

Shop on Amazon*
If you shop on Amazon, visit them through this link. Simply by clicking on this link, I become a "referrer" and earn a commission from whatever you purchase. It's the same Amazon, same prices, same value. Amazon simply pays me a small amount because I directed you to their site*.

Loyalty/Rewards Programs
By signing up to these programs using the referral links below, I receive commission on your earnings (without reducing what you earn). While you earn your own gift cards, you'll help to build the value of the Read and Seek prizes if you sign up using the referral links below.


  • Swagbucks* - My favorite. Earn SB by doing everything you normally do online: shop your favorite stores, search the web, answer surveys, watch videos, play games. They also have a number of mobile apps that can be used to earn SB as well. Sign up with the referral link and the Read and Seek will earn 10% of what you earn. In my opinion, this is the best opportunity to earn your own gift cards while helping the prizes grow.
  • MyPoints.com* - Now owned by Swagbucks and pretty similar, including the 10% commission. I don't spend much time with this one, but still manage to cash out a bit every month or so. Mainly I click on emails and complete the daily goal.
  • Perk.com* - Earn Perk Points which can be redeemed for gift cards. They have various apps that make earning easy and fun: Perk TV, Perk TV Live!, Perk Scratch & Win, Perk Pop Quiz, Word Search, Perk Prize Mob, Perk Wallet, Perk Shopping, Perk Browser, Perk Search, Jetpack Journey and more! 

*Minecraft, Mojang, Amazon, Swagbucks, MyPoints and Perk are not sponsors of my hunts, nor are they in any way affiliated with my hunts.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 13: Saint Martin I

Pope Martin I (Latin: Martinus I; born between 590 and 600, died 16 September 655) reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655. He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy whose election was not approved by an iussio from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

He was born near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino). According to his biographer Theodore, Martin was of noble birth, of commanding intelligence, and of great charity to the poor. Piazza states that he belonged to the order of St. Basil. He had acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue.

Martin I was the last Constantinopolitan apocrisiarius to be elected pope. Other envoys under the title nuncio have been elected since then, like John XXIII.

In 641, Pope John IV sent the abbot Martin into Dalmatia and Istria with large sums of money to alleviate the distress of the inhabitants, and redeem captives seized during the invasion of the Slavs. As the ruined churches could not be rebuilt, the relics of some of the more important Dalmatian saints were brought to Rome, where John then erected an oratory in their honour.

At that time Constantinople was the capital of the Roman empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. After his election, Martin had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial confirmation. One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. The Council met in the church of St. John Lateran. It was attended by 105 bishops (chiefly from Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from 5 October to 31 October 649, and in twenty canons condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included not only the Ecthesis (the exposition of faith of the Patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor), but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning Emperor (Constans II).

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch (governor) in Italy to arrest the pope should he persist in this line of conduct and send Martin as a prisoner from Rome to Constantinople. He was also accused by Constans of unauthorized contact and collaboration with the Muslims of the Rashidun Caliphate - allegations which he was unable to convince the infuriated imperial authorities to drop.

The arrest orders were impossible to carry out for a considerable period of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on 17 June 653 along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxos, Greece, and subsequently to Constantinople, where he arrived on 17 September 653. He was saved from execution by the pleas of Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesus (present-day Crimea region), where he arrived on 15 May 655 and died on 16 September of that year.

Pope Pius VII made an honorable reference to him in the encyclical Diu Satis (1800). Indeed, the famous Martin who long ago won great praise for this See, commends faithfulness and fortitude to Us by his strengthening and defense of the truth and by the endurance of labors and pains. He was driven from his See and from the City, stripped of his rule, his rank, and his entire fortune. As soon as he arrived in any peaceful place, he was forced to move. Despite his advanced age and an illness which prevented his walking, he was banished to a remote land and repeatedly threatened with an even more painful exile. Without the assistance offered by the pious generosity of individuals, he would not have had food for himself and his few attendants. Although he was tempted daily in his weakened and lonely state, he never surrendered his integrity. No deceit could trick, no fear perturb, no promises conquer, no difficulties or dangers break him. His enemies could extract from him no sign which would not prove to all that Peter "until this time and forever lives in his successors and exercises judgment as is particularly clear in every age" as an excellent writer at the Council of Ephesus says.

The breviary of the Orthodox Church states: “Glorious definer of the Orthodox Faith...sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error...true reprover of heresy...foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox faith, teacher of religion.... Thou didst adorn the divine see of Peter, and since from this divine Rock, thou didst immovably defend the Church, so now thou art glorified with him.”

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 6: Saint Crescentia Hoess

Maria Crescentia Höss (Höß), T.O.R., (1682–1744) was a contemplative nun of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1900, she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Anna Höss was born on 20 October 1682 in Kaufbeuren, in Bavaria, Germany, to Matthias Höss and his wife, Lucia Hoermann, the sixth of their eight children. Only three of the children survived into adulthood.

She became a weaver, but her greatest ambition was to enter the local convent of the Tertiary Franciscans in Kaufbeuren, which occupied the old Meierhof of the town, in whose chapel she often prayed. As a poor weaver, however, her father did not have enough money to pay the customary dowry expected of a candidate, so she was not admitted.

Unlike monasteries of the nuns of the Franciscan Second Order, known as the Poor Clares, nuns of the Third Order were completely local, living under the authority of the bishop of the diocese where they were located. The history of the Third Order of St. Francis—of which these women were a part—had a range of organizational models, in that many communities of religious women did not embrace the enclosure, but considered active works of charity, tending to the poor and sick, as part of their religious and Franciscan charism. Monasteries like that of Kaufbeuren were established to pursue the purely contemplative life, usually in an urban setting.

The Order of Friars Minor, however, refused to accept spiritual supervision or responsibility for those monasteries which did not accept the strictest form of enclosure, such as the Poor Clares had. Thus the monastic communities of nuns of the Third Order like that of Kaufbeuren, who did not have the same connection with the public as did the active Sisters, were usually entirely dependent on the local clergy for spiritual direction and on local patrons for their survival. They were often marked by their precarious financial situations.

In 1703 the Mayor of Kaufbeuren, a Protestant, performed a major service to the monastery by purchasing a tavern adjacent to it which was often the source of disturbance to the quiet of the cloister, and donating the building to the nuns. He refused compensation but asked simply that, in return, Anna be accepted as a candidate. As a result of this intervention, the mother superior (German: Oberin) of the monastery felt obligated to receive her, and Anna was admitted in June of that year. The superior, however, resented this and referred to Anna as a "parasite", since she was felt not to be contributing to the community. Nevertheless, Anna received the religious habit and took the name Maria Crescentia.

The nuns were not kind to her at first, due to the manner of her admission. Once clothed as a member of the Order, Crescentia was subjected to a prolonged persecution by the unfriendly Superior and some of the older nuns. They treated her as a servant, giving her the most menial tasks to perform. Although Crescentia was at first given a cell of her own, it was later taken from her and given to a new novice who had brought with her the customary dowry. Thereafter she had to beg the other nuns for a corner of their cells in which she might sleep. When she was finally given a place of her own again, it was a dark and damp cubbyhole. Nevertheless, Crescentia was allowed to profess vows and become a full member of the monastic community. She was assigned to serve in the kitchen and did the weaving for the monastery.

Eventually, in 1707, a new Superior was elected who was more sympathetic to Crescentia, and she was entrusted first with the important office of portress, and in 1717 she was appointed Mistress of novices. At this stage of her monastic life, Crescentia was a prolific letter writer, who left many letters to people in various social positions, in which she gave them advice and comfort in their worries.

Though by then she had begun to suffer from poor health, even paralysis, in 1741 she was elected as the monastery's mother superior, serving in that office until her death on 5 April, Easter Sunday, 1744.

During her short tenure in this position of leadership of the community, Mother Crescentia had led a renewal of their way of life. She counseled unlimited trust in Divine Providence, readiness to serve in community life, a love of silence, devotion to the Crucified Jesus, to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Mother. She encouraged the nuns to turn to the Gospels to develop their inner spiritual life, and was noted for the selectivity of her choices regarding candidates to the community. She justified this by saying: "God wants the monastery rich in virtue, not in temporal goods".

The process of her canonization was begun in 1775. The secularization of monasteries which occurred in the Revolutionary upheavals of the late 18th century and the anti-Catholic policies of the German government during the Kulturkampf of the 19th century prevented the monastic community from proceeding with the process.

Finally, in 1900, Mother Crescentia was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. She was canonized on 25 November 2001 by Pope John Paul II, along with three others. Her monastery was then renamed St. Crescentia Monastery (German: Crescentiakloster) in her honor.

Source: Wikipedia