- Big wayside cross of Montfort- Community of Wisdom- Holy spirit Community's house- Long house- Eiffel bridge- Famous visitor
s- Places of memories
Origin of name:
From the eponymous Saint, martyr deacon in Rome in the year 258, pattern of the parish from the XIth century, and from the river going through the town, tributary of the Loire river.
Some tools, including scrapers, arrowheads and polished axes show that they were prehistoric men surroundings the Sèvre Nantaise. Around 500 B.C. they gave the way to the Gallic tribe of Ambilatres.
After the Roman colonization, the Christianity set up progressively. One after the other preaching of Saint Martin de Vertou, a parish community set up in the Vth and VIth centuries, taking the name of Saint Pierre de Savarra. In honour of the Deacon Saint Laurent’s relic, constituted with a fragment of his thumb, a pilgrimage had developed and a church, dedicated to this Saint, was built in 1050. The church was entrusted by some Benedictines of Saint Cyprien from Poitiers. Then the place took the name of Saint Laurent sur Sèvre.
At the beginning of the XIIth century, the territory depended administratively on the barony of Mortagne, then the town became the head office of a deanery stretched to 33 parishes, a status that the town kept until 1801. On the 28th April 1716, Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, a missionary priest with an exceptional charisma, died in Saint Laurent sur Sèvre.
The communities he founded, “Sister of the Wisdom”, the Fathers and Brothers of the company of Mary, set up next to his grave, built and extended their properties in the centre of the town.
During the French Revolution, the priests and missionaries refused to swear on the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. The town located in the centre of rebel Vendée, was considerated as its religious capital. The false bishop of Agra, Guillot de Folleville, came and stayed several times over there.
After the defeat in Cholet, the Republican army made some bloody crossings in the town centre, from January to March 1794. In the XIXth century, the montfortaines’ communities knew a large blossoming, under the authority of Father Gabriel Deshaves. In 1867, the foundation of Saint Joseph's laundry marked the beginning of the industrialization.
In the XXth century,” the holy town of Vendée” welcomes a lot and impressive meetings: for "Free Teaching", in 1925, in 1947 and 1950, during the canonization feast of Father Montfort in 1947, and of Marie Louise of Jésus's beatification, the first superior of “Wisdom” in 1993.
On 19th September 1996, the pope John Paul II, linked to the Montfortaine spirituality since his youth, came to pray and to meditate on Father Montfort’s grave in the basilica of Saint Laurent sur Sèvre.