True Devotion to Mary
The place is France, the year is 1716. At eight o’ clock in the evening it is all over. The whole district quivers at the news of Fr. Grignion’s death. The roads are crowded with the converts streaming for a last farewell. Rosary beads, crucifixes and medals by the thousand are being brought to touch his body. So vast are the crowds that a guard has to be set around his coffin. He is buried on the afternoon of April 29th where he would have asked to be, in the chapel of his mother. His career is over, or rather, it is just beginning. . .
Today this man is known to us as Saint Louis-Marie Grignion De Montfort. He founded two religious congregations, one of men and one of women, and yet he died at the early age of 43 years after only 16 years of priesthood. Through his teaching of the True Devotion to Mary he was instrumental in the conversion of countless heretics.
In his book Fr. Grignion recorded the following fascinating prophecy: “I clearly foresee that raging brutes will come in fury to tear with their diabolical teeth this little writing and him whom the Holy Ghost has used to write it, or, at least to enclose it in the silence of a coffer in order that it may not appear”.
Nevertheless, he predicted both the appearance of the book and its success. It is of interest to note that while Fr. Grignion died in 1716, his book was not found until 1842.
Another person who read and practised the True Devotion to Mary was the reformed alcoholic Matt Talbot. Many find the book a difficult one to read and yet Matt Talbot, an uneducated saintly man, mastered it and took to himself its spirit. It was one of the most marked books on his shelf. Referring to this book afterwards, in connection with the wearing ~f a chain, Matt remarked that he “had read of a devotion which lifted him from earth to heaven”. The world now knows of its impact on Matt Talbot.
Dublin in 1917 was a city of great poverty. The St. Vincent de Paul Society was making strenuous efforts to combat this. One day a group of ladies volunteered their services. Their offer was accepted and one of the brothers was put in charge of them. He was a young civil servant named Frank Duff.