Imprimatur and Introductions to the Path of Mary

These three introductions and Bishop Bagshawe’s imprimatur are taken from the sixth edition of the Path of Mary, published by The Little Company of Mary in Chicago. They were written around 1878-1903.

1st Introduction
by Father Frederick William Faber

”He that can find another point of view from which our dear Lady seems greater than before has got a new means of sanctification; for he has acquired a new power of loving God.* Who does not long, and in these days more than ever, for that special devotion to the Holy Ghost which was the great characteristic of these three

Father Frederick William Faber
saints, so like each other, St. Philip Neri, Ven. Grignion de Montfort, and in our own days John B. Vianny, cure d’Ars? It is particularly a devotion for the later ages of the Church, and will grow with that sublime augmentation of devotion to our Blessed Lady which the prophecies and revelations of holy men and women have announced as the characteristic of the last saints who shall precede the doom, and be to the end of the Church what the apostles were to the beginning.

“Devotions follow the different lives of Our Lord; His life in the womb . His Mother is
a perfect world of devotions, with her various mysteries, and ministries, and offices, and graces, and endurances, and identifications with Himself. The apostolate of Grignion de Montfort and his remarkable book promises to be the authentic opening of that peculiar devotion to Mary which is to be the characteristic grandeur of the later ages of the Church. It is our firm belief that hereafter we shall learn in heaven that of a truth Mary’s grandeurs are such as could not safely be taught on earth because of our infirmities. No province of theology will have to widen itself so much as that which speaks of her. In her marvels she will be as new to the saints who have loved her most as the Vision of Bliss itself will be. Even on earth the last ages of the Church are to have a knowledge of her which would amaze and oppress us now.”

* Know more about Father Faber, a great Catholic oratorian and devotional writer.

2nd Introduction
by A Secular “Priest of Mary”

Every faithful Catholic cherishes devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The Church, in her sacred liturgy, which is the official, vocal expression of her faith, presents Mary to her children as a God-given anchor of hope. It is the realization of this fact that, in introducing this little book to the Catholics of America

Our Lady of Fatimawhere it is comparatively little known, the writer entertains the earnest trust that he or she, into whose hands it falls, will not lightly lay it aside, under the impression that it is merely another of the innumerable booklets about Mary with which they are so familiar.

This little volume is not a book of mere pious practices in honor of the Blessed Virgin, it is rather a little treatise, bearing a sublime message. The message does not pretend to be either new or original, yet, in a very true sense, just as a beautiful blossom or a luscious fruit, relative to the seed and plant which produces it may truly be called new, the “Path of Mary” is both new, and delightfully original.

Much depends upon the motive which prompts one to read a book of this kind. Particularly when it lays claim to more than the common run of devotional tracts. For the theological accuracy of ”The Path of Mary,” we make no apology. We are far more anxious that souls read it from the motive expressed in the Epistle of the Mass for the Vigil of the Assumption: “Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits … They that eat me shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst.” Such souls, anxious to strengthen and deepen their faith, hope and love for Mary, will read this little book with a prayerful heart, and, like many others, they will find it full of sweet unction, profound spiritual instruction, and wonderfully practical.

The Path of Mary may be styled the first-born child of Father Faber’s translation of Blessed Grignion De Montfort’s book “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” It was first published in 1878, under the jealous scrutiny of Bishop Edward Gilpin Bagshawe, at that time, Bishop of Nottingham, England, who constituted himself censor and sponsor for all the productions from the pen of its Authoress, Mother Mary, Foundress of The Little Company of Mary,
a congregation of sisters whose life-work is the nursing of the sick, and especially the helping of the dying to depart from this world in the peace and friendship of God.

According to de Montfort’s system of “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” the members of this congregation, because of their loving, spontaneous consecration of themselves to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom by the hands of Mary, rejoice in the title of “Mary’s Own,” and The Path of Mary may be said to show forth the peculiar spirit of the religious of the congregation. The book itself, however, was not written precisely for religious, it was written for all those who claim the title of true ”Children of Mary.”

As genuine devotion to Mary is the common Christian heritage of all, all are invited to enter upon this “Path.” The Path of Mary, like the Church itself, is thoroughly Catholic. By Catholic I mean, not only that it flows from the teaching of divine faith, but because it is open to all the faithful, no matter what particular state or station, by God’s providence they may be placed in. The Path of Mary is a spiritual path, leading straight, quickly and surely to Jesus Christ. The pass-word is a heaven-given one, spelling the whole reason of Catholic devotion to Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”

Those who by the gift of unadulterated Catholic faith, hope and love for Mary, the test of which consists in spontaneously making the “Act of consecration” contained in “True Devotion” by de Montfort, may truly exclaim: “All good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches at her hands.” It is the common teaching of all the saints, doctors and Fathers of the Church with St. Ambrose that: “Mary is a certain armor of salvation, which God gives to those whom He wills to be saved.”

Truly, then, may all those who, by their loving consecration, compel Mary —so to speak— to fulfill the office of Mistress, exclaim with St. Elizabeth : “Whence is it to me that the Mother of my God should come to me!” The Church herself calls Mary the “Gate of Heaven,” and we have no reason to believe that Heaven has more than one gate. St. Augustine, the spiritual son of St. Ambrose, is merely echoing the cry of the Church in all ages when he exclaims: “O glorious Virgin, thou art magnified by all, because in thee, through thee, and from thee, whatever good we have received or shall receive, we know truly that we receive it through thee!”

It has been said that The Path of Mary may be, in a very true sense, called new and original. This is quite true, for it reveals the soul of its Authoress, and those who are competent to judge will find in its few modest pages a living odor of the spiritual blossoms and fruits, peculiar to de Montfort’s system of “True Devotion,” that may only exhale from the mind and heart of one who has ” tasted and seen.” Just as Jesus, after He had delivered His divine message, exclaimed: “He that hath ears to hear let him hear!”, so also, does the present writer close this poorly expressed “Introduction” with the words placed at the end of Blessed de Montfort’s Treatise “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” of which The Path of Mary is the true child: “Let him who can receive it receive it: Who is wise and shall understand these things?”

3rd Introduction
by Canon Charles Falcini
Prothonotary Apostolic Vicar General

The little book, which now presents itself to the pious reader, is characterised by a devotion, so tender and simple that it seems as if it were inspired by our Blessed Lady, to draw faithful souls along the road of Christian Perfection, and which is comprised in the sentence, that the Interior life of Mary was in no way a forced effort, (as is the case with not a few souls who fatigue themselves in striving after sanctity) but was, on the contrary, marvelously simple and tranquil. In like manner this little book, composed by a soul, entirely devoted to Mary, flows sweetly along, as it were, like a river of milk, to nourish all souls desirous of peace and their spiritual welfare.

However, it does not disguise the obstacles and difficulties that too often befall one in the practice of virtue, neither does it pretend to trace out a new system of the Ascetic life, it only presents, under a new aspect, and in a sweetly attractive form, what Saints have already taught and practised, regarding this most important subject.

Without exaggeration, one may assert that by means of this humble little book souls are drawn to God, by bringing into full relief, the special mission of Spiritual Motherhood, assigned to the Blessed Virgin, in the great work of the Redemption, a mission, filled with ineffable sweetness, and therefore likely to inspire unlimited confidence in its effectiveness. The sublime saying of our Saviour, that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must become as little children, finds a new application, in the complete abandonment of the Christian soul to Mary, by means of a new and marvelous sacrifice, for it is a sacrifice, entirely devoid of all sharpness and difficulty. What is there, in fact, more easy for a loving child than to confide in his own Mother, leaving her to direct and rule his every action?

This is why it may easily seem that these pages are inspired by Mary, in that, they contain such an affectionate and universal appeal to an increased devotion to Her, and in a form so perfect and comprehensive, that it is truly worthy of the Maternal Heart of the Most Holy Virgin. In these pages, Mary calls us all to Her, in order to lead us to Jesus, to make us live His Life, again, to make us forget, in Him, our sorrows and anxieties.

She speaks to us by means of this little book, proposing to us an easy and secure way of salvation, in which we all of every state and condition, may commence to walk, with jubilant souls, full of the joyful hope of arriving, under Her loving guidance, at the port of salvation. This is the earnest wish of the authoress, rendered all the more ardent and pure, from her being a Religious in an Order consecrated specially to Mary.

CAN. CHARLES FALCINI, Prot. Ap. Vic. Gen.
Fiesole, Jan. 1st, 1903