January 31 – A BIRTHDAY WHICH IS ALWAYS CELEBRATED

A BIRTHDAY WHICH IS ALWAYS CELEBRATED

 

Louis Grignion was born on Tuesday 31 January 1673 in rue de Ia Saulnerie at Montfort-sur-Meu. He was the second child of Jean-Baptiste Grignion, 26, and Jeanne Robert, 24, but their eldest child had died a year earlier when only five months old. He was baptised simply Louis the next day. It was only when he received Confirmation that he added the name Marie. Concerning the Grignions, the most complete works are those by Fr. Marcel Sibold, smm: Le sang des Grignion (vol I) and Un saint enfamille (Vol. II).

The house in which Louis Grignion was born is well preserved, furnished tastefully, and managed by the three Montfortian Congregations; it is now occupied by a few priests, and until the end of 1999, by a few Daughters of Wisdom; it is a well­ known shrine suitable for retreats or for groups of people making a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Montfort. In the near vicinity pilgrims can visit the village of La Bachelleraye where Louis-Marie was put in the care of a nurse, Mother Andre; they can visit the farm of Bois-Marquer, which his family moved to when he was ten, and the chapel Saint-Lazare which he restored in 1707.

 

Montfort’s birthday. is celebrated in all the communities every year. In Asia it is a more important event than elsewhere because, although 28 April falls during the school holidays, the Brothers are keen to celebrate their founder’s birthday with their students (who are mostly non-Christians). Here are a few examples:

 

On 31 January 1973 – the tercentenary of Montfort’s birth – the Montfortian Games were held at Gannavaram (Andhra Pradesh) involving students of the Gabrielite schools in Andhra Pradesh.

 

On 31 January 1989 all the Gabrielite schools in Hyderabad held a Montfortian cultural festival at All Saints’ School; the highlight was a Son et Lumiere show on Montfort.

 

31 January 1993 was the fourth and last day of the 75th anniversary of Montfort School in Yercaud.

 

On 31 January 1995 St John’s Industrial Institute . at Manjapatty (Tamilnadu) celebrated its silver jubilee.                                      ·

 

On 31 January 1997 the chapel standing in a 42-acre property called “Brothers of Saint Gabriel Paradise” in the Province of Thailand, was consecrated; the property lies near the border with Cambodia and is reminiscent of Camp Marcel in Canada.

 

Bibliography

Br. Gabriel-Marie, Montfort, routier de l’Evangile, 1966, 190 pages.

Benedetta Papasogli (translated by Ann Nilsen, DOW), Montfort, a Prophet for our

times, 1991, 500 pages.

Bernard Guitteny, Montfort, missionnaire des pauvres, 1993,472 pages.

TModule Rey-Mermet, Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, 2nd edition, 1996, 260 p.