Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) lived at a time of transition. It was a time of discoveries, both of new lands and in science. A spirit of enquiry and of adventure reigned supreme. It was also a time of great impoverishment of those who already possessed but little. Massive hunger and migration from the rural areas to the cities, and then to the new territories were common.
Montfort, a man of great vitality, indomitable courage and spiritual strength was a seeker of the only treasure that mattered: Divine Wisdom. He was fascinated by the folly of the God who humbled himself so that humans may be raised up. He was equally concerned about the human race, the most brilliant creature of God’s creation. By giving himself up to the ways of Wisdom, Montfort became a person transformed. In the process, he developed a pedagogy of acquiring true Wisdom that not only guided his own inner journey, but also the lives of all those he touched.
Montfort sought to lead the world around him in the ways of such Wisdom, beginning with the poorest, the lost and the least. He did so in different ways as in “Charitable Schools” for the young, mass education, using his great oratorical skills, collective social action, and writing scholarly volumes, popular tracts, poems and letters. The purpose of education according to Montfort is threefold:
To learn, understand and love God as Wisdom
To understand and transform oneself in the ways of Wisdom
To become committed to transform society in obedience to Wisdom.
These remain the purpose and goal of Montfortian education.
“Your active share in the evangelizing mission of the Church as a Brother of St. Gabriel, lies in the privileged field of education, particularly that of school-going youth” (RL 63).
“The Institute dedicates itself to education, particularly that of youth, poor children, those who are abandoned, maladjusted or handicapped in any way” (C 89).