St. Louis de Montfort's Way:
Always a pious child and especially devoted to prayer before the
Blessed Sacrament, when the brilliant St. Louis de Montfort (A.D. 31
January 1673 - 28 April 1716) reached the age of 19, he gave away all
he had and resolved to live on alms. He was ordained a priest in
Paris, worked for some time as a hospital chaplain, but then came to
devote his time to preaching -- a task he was extremely gifted at. He
went on to found the Daughters of Wisdom -- an Order devoted to
hospital work and educating poor girls -- and the Company of Mary
(the Montfort Fathers), a missionary group of priests. It was his
devotion to Mary, though, for which he is most remembered.
St. Louis de Montfort's method of devotion is known as "Total Consecration," "True Devotion," or "Holy Slavery." This method is below, with on-site links to all the necessary literature and prayers.
Read "True Devotion to
Blessed Virgin Mary"
First, read "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin," written by St. Louis de Montfort himself and decide for certain whether to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary. Read carefully, and don't take this lightly; consecrating oneself has the character of a vow.
Choose a day
for the Consecration
choose the date of a Marian Feast on which to make the consecration.
Whichever Feast you choose will determine the date to begin a 33-day
period of spiritual preparation, i.e., you follow spiritual exercises
for 33 days, and the next day will be the Marian Feast on which you
Note: We list Marian Feasts which are the same on both the traditional and Novus Ordo calendars below so that there will be no "issues" for Novus Ordoites and Traditionalists:
Marian Feast You've Chosen
of the Immaculate
20 Feb 1
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Our Lady of Sorrows
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Our Lady of Guadalupe
1 21 Feb when February has 29 days. The Feast of the Annunciation is the Feast that St. Louis de Montfort recommends most of all as it is this Feast that commemorates God Himself taking on flesh and, thereby, subjecting even Himself to trust in and dependency on Our Lady
Here is a more extensive list of prominent Marian Feast days:
January 1—Mary, Mother of God
January 8—Our Lady of Prompt Succor
February 2—Purification of the Virgin
February 11—Our Lady of Lourdes
March 25—Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel (it may be either moved to the day before Palm Sunday should this date be on Holy Week; or to the Monday after the second Sunday of Easter if this date falls on either Friday or Saturday of Holy Week or during Easter Week)
April 26—Our Lady of Good Counsel
May 1—Queen of Heaven
May 13—Our Lady of Fatima
May 24—Mary Help of Christians
May 31—Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces
May 31—Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
June 27—Our Lady of Perpetual Help
July 16—Our Lady of Mount Carmel
August 2—Our Lady of Angels
August 5—Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major
August 15—Assumption into Heaven
August 21—Our Lady of Knock
August 22—Queenship of Mary
August 22—Black Madonna of Częstochowa
September 8—Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 12—The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary
September 15—Our Lady of Sorrows
September 19—Our Lady of La Salette
September 24—Our Lady of Walsingham
October 7—Most Holy Rosary
October 11—Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 16—Our Lady of Mercy
November 21—Presentation of Mary
December 8—Immaculate Conception
December 12—Our Lady of Guadalupe
1 day after Ascension of Jesus—Our Lady of Apostles
1 day after Pentecost—Our Lady of Holy Church
9 days after Corpus Christi—Immaculate Heart of Mary
Begin the 33-Day
begins the 33-day period of exercises. St. Louis-Marie breaks these
days into sections of days, each section having its own prayers, and
each particular day having its own brief readings with which to fill
the mind for that day (the readings come from Sacred Scripture, "The
Imitation of Christ," and "True Devotion to the Blessed
Virgin Mary"). Don't just read the readings, internalize them;
don't let your lips just mouth the prayers, truly pray them.
First comes a 12-day preparation period that consists of emptying oneself of the spirit of the world in penance and mortification. For those 12 days, we pray the Veni Creator, the Ave Maris Stella, the Magnificat, and the Glory Be. Then follow 3 weeks, each week having a specific focus.
The first week focuses on offering up our prayers and devotions for the purpose of coming to understand ourselves and our sins; humility is the key, and the prayers the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Litany of Loreto, and the Ave Maris Stella help us.
During the second week, we ask the Holy Ghost to help us better understand the Blessed Virgin; we pray the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Litany of Loreto, the Ave Maris Stellis, the prayer to Mary by St. Louis-Marie, and 5 decades of the Holy Rosary each day for assistance.
During the third week, we seek to better understand Christ through meditation and the Litany of the Holy Ghost, the Ave Maris Stella, and the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, Montfort's prayer to Jesus, and the prayer O Jesus Living in Mary.
The 34th day will be your day of consecration.
Day of Consecration
the day of consecration, either fast, give alms, or offer a votive
the good of another (or all of the above); do some spiritual penance
and approach consecration in the spirit of mortification.
Now go to Confession (or, if that is not possible, go during the 8 days prior) and then receive Communion with the intention of giving yourself to Jesus, as a slave of love, by the hands of Mary. Try to receive Communion per the method described in the Supplement of the book, "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary" above.
Now pray the words of the consecration. Copy them and have them with you at church, read them after the Mass (in front of the tabernacle would be nice), and sign your copy of the Act of Consecration.
The words of consecration are:
O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.
I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.
Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.
I, N__________, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.
Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.
O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.
O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.
Sign your name here.
Once you have consecrated yourself to Jesus through Mary, live that consecration. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort recommended the following:
Keep praying to develop a "great contempt" for the spirit of this world
Maintain a special devotion to the Mystery of the Incarnation (e.g., through meditation; spiritual reading; focusing on Feasts centering around the Incarnation, such as the Annunciation and the Nativity, etc.)
Frequently recite the Ave, Rosary, and the Magnificat
Recite, every day if it is not inconvenient, the "Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin" -- a series of Paters, Aves, and Glorias -- one Ave for each star in the Virgin's Crown. St. Louis has a special way of praying the Little Crown, which is recommended.
Do everything through, with, in and for Mary for the sake of Jesus, with the prayer, "I am all thine Immaculate One, with all that I have: in time and in eternity" in your heart and on your lips
Associate yourself with Mary in a special way before, during, and after Communion (see Supplement of the book, "True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary" above)
Wear a little iron chain (around the neck, arm, waist, or ankle) as an outward sign and reminder of holy slavery. This practice is optional, but very recommended by St. Louis. The appearance of this chain is not further specified.
Renew the consecration once a year on the same date chosen above, and by following the same 33-day period of exercises. If desired, also renew the consecration monthly with the prayer, "I am all thine and all I have is thine, O dear Jesus, through Mary, Thy holy Mother."