True Devotion to Mary: According to St. Louis de Montfort

True Devotion to Mary: According to St. Louis de Montfort

"True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort is a spiritual classic that has profoundly influenced Catholic Marian devotion. Written in the early 18th century, this work outlines a comprehensive method of Marian consecration, advocating for a total and absolute dedication to Jesus through Mary. De Montfort's teachings emphasize the unique role of Mary in the Christian life and the importance of entrusting oneself entirely to her maternal care and guidance.

One notable figure who was profoundly impacted by "True Devotion to Mary" is Pope St. John Paul II. As a young man, Karol Wojtyła (later John Paul II) discovered this book and found it transformative. He adopted De Montfort's motto "Totus Tuus" ("Totally Yours") as his papal motto, reflecting his deep Marian devotion and commitment to living a life consecrated to Jesus through Mary. John Paul II credited "True Devotion to Mary" with shaping his spiritual life and guiding his ministry, emphasizing that the Marian devotion described by De Montfort had brought him closer to Christ.

The Purpose of True Devotion

St. Louis de Montfort's primary aim in "True Devotion to Mary" is to lead the faithful to a deeper and more intimate union with Jesus Christ through a total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He argues that Mary, as the Mother of God, holds a special place in the economy of salvation and is the most effective means of achieving a closer relationship with Christ.

St. Louis wrote: "To rid ourselves of self, we must die to ourselves daily; this is to say, we must renounce the operations of the powers of our soul and the senses of our body. We must see as if we saw not, understand as if we understood not, and make use of the things of this world as if we made no use of them at all" (True Devotion, #81).

Theological Foundations

De Montfort bases his teachings on the theological principles that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces and the surest, easiest, and quickest way to Jesus. He emphasizes that God has chosen Mary as the channel through which He dispenses His graces to humanity.

St. Louis wrote: "As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united, and consecrated to Jesus Christ, it naturally follows that the most perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and consecrates us most completely to Jesus Christ. Now, Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that, of all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is devotion to Mary, His Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus" (True Devotion, #120).

Total Consecration to Mary

The concept of total consecration to Mary is central to de Montfort's teachings. This consecration involves giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong completely to Jesus. De Montfort describes this act as a “perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism.” The consecration includes offering all of one's prayers, works, joys, and sufferings to Mary, trusting that she will present them to Jesus in the most perfect way.

St. Louis wrote: "We give her our whole self, with all we have and hold in the order of nature and in the order of grace, and we give it forever, without claiming or expecting any other reward for our offering and service than the honor of belonging to Jesus through Mary" (True Devotion, #121).

The Secret of Mary

In "True Devotion to Mary," de Montfort reveals what he calls the "secret of Mary" – a hidden and divine mystery that involves surrendering to Mary in order to live fully in Christ. He explains that this secret is not known or understood by many, yet it holds the key to a profound spiritual transformation. St. Louis said: "The more the Holy Spirit finds Mary, His dear and inseparable spouse, in any soul, the more active and mighty He becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul, and that soul in Jesus Christ" (True Devotion, #20).

The Benefits of True Devotion

De Montfort outlines numerous spiritual benefits that come from practicing true devotion to Mary. These include a deeper understanding of Jesus and His mysteries, a more fervent love for God, an increase in grace and virtue, and greater assurance of eternal salvation. He also emphasizes that Mary, as a loving mother, will guide, protect, and support those who consecrate themselves to her, leading them safely to Jesus. St. Louis said: "If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ, and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ" (True Devotion, #62).

The Practice of True Devotion

St. Louis de Montfort provides practical steps for living out true devotion to Mary. These steps include:

Preparation for Consecration: A period of 33 days of prayer and reflection, divided into two parts. The first part involves renouncing the spirit of the world, and the second part focuses on acquiring the spirit of Jesus through Mary.

The Consecration Prayer: A formal act of consecration, in which the faithful offer themselves entirely to Mary. This prayer is usually recited on a Marian feast day, following the period of preparation.

Living the Consecration: De Montfort encourages the faithful to live out their consecration daily by engaging in practices such as wearing a small chain or medal as a sign of their commitment, praying the Rosary, and frequently renewing their consecration.

Marian Devotions: Regular participation in Marian devotions, such as the Rosary, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Angelus, to foster a deeper relationship with Mary.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

A significant aspect of "True Devotion to Mary" is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the devotee. De Montfort teaches that the Holy Spirit works through Mary to form Christ in the soul. By consecrating oneself to Mary, the faithful open themselves to a greater influx of the Holy Spirit, who will transform and sanctify them. St. Louis wrote: "When the Holy Spirit, her spouse, finds Mary in a soul, He flies there. He enters there in His fullness; He communicates Himself to that soul abundantly and to the full extent to which it makes room for His spouse" (True Devotion, #36).


"True Devotion to Mary" by St. Louis de Montfort offers a profound and transformative approach to Marian spirituality. By understanding and embracing the teachings in this classic work, the faithful can experience a deeper union with Jesus through Mary, unlocking the spiritual benefits of grace, virtue, and divine assistance. De Montfort's method of total consecration remains a powerful and enduring path to holiness, inviting believers to entrust themselves entirely to the loving care of the Blessed Virgin Mary.