True Devotion to Mary– by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, 1673- 1716, is considered to be the greatest single book on the Blessed Virgin Mary ever written. It is a spiritual classic that shows the way to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary. This book sums up the entire Christian life, through a way of holiness that is short, easy, secure, and perfect—a way of life chosen by Our Lord Himself. The wonderful spiritual effects which this devotion brings about in a person’s life are explained in this inspiring book, and leave the reader with no doubt that this devotion provides both the key to sanctity and to salvation. Saint Louis Marie prophesied that this treatise would be taught by the apostles of the last days.
Father Faber, the first English translator of True Devotion in the Preface wrote the following:
“There are few men in the eighteenth century who have more strongly upon them the marks of the man of Providence than this Elias-like missionary of the Holy Ghost and of Mary. His entire life was such an exhibition of the holy folly of the Cross, that his biographers unite in always classing him with Saint Simon Salo and Saint Philip Neri. Clement XI made him a missionary apostolic in France in order that he might spend his life in fighting against Jansenism. Since the time of Apostolic Epistles it would be hard to find words that burn so marvelously as the twelve pages of his prayer for the Missionaries of the Holy Ghost to which I earnestly refer all those who find it hard to keep up under their numberless trials the first fires of the love of souls.
He was at once persecuted and venerated everywhere. His amount of work, like that of Saint Anthony of Padua, is incredible, and indeed, inexplicable. He wrote some spiritual treatises, which have already had a remarkable influence on the Church during the few years they have been known, and bid fair to have a much wider influence in years to come. His preaching, his writing, and his conversation were all impregnated with prophecy and with anticipations of the later ages of the Church. He came forward like another Saint Vincent Ferrer, as if in the days bordering on the Last Judgment, and proclaimed that he brought an authentic message from God about the greater honor and wider knowledge and more prominent love of His Blessed Mother, and her connection with the second advent of her Son. He founded two religious congregations: one of men and one of women, which have been quite extraordinarily successful. He died at the age of forty-three in 1716, after only sixteen years of priesthood.
It was on the 12th of May, 1853, that the decree was pronounced at Rome declaring his writings to be exempt from all error, which could bar his canonization. In this very treatise on the true devotion to Our Blessed Lady, he has recorded this 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 had made use of to write; or at least to envelop it in the silence of a coffer, in order that it may not appear.' Nevertheless, he prophesied both its appearance and its success. All this was fulfilled to the letter. When Saint Louis Marie died in 1716, the treatise remained hidden until it was found by accident by one of the priests of his congregation in 1842. The existing superior was able to attest that the handwriting was that of the venerable founder. The autograph was sent to Rome to be examined in the process of canonization.
All those who are likely to read this book love God, and lament that they do not love Him more; all desire something for His glory– the spread of some good work, the success of some devotion, the coming of some good time. One man has been striving for years to overcome a particular fault, and has not succeeded. Another mourns, and almost wonders while he mourns, that so few of his relations and friends have been converted to the Faith. One grieves that he had not devotion enough; another that he has a cross to carry which seems peculiarly impossible cross to him; while a third has domestic troubles and family unhappiness which feel almost incompatible with his salvation; and for all these things prayer appears to bring so little remedy.