ROME - It's a bit surprising that the full name of the Superior General of the Missionaries of the Company of Mary who was just elected on May 9, comes in five words: Yoseph Putra Dwi Darma Watun. But isn't the name of the Founder of this Missionary Society also made up of five words: Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, according to his name found in his Testament and on one of his epitaphs, namely the one that is written in Latin? The similarity in the number of words in these names is coincidental. It's clear. However, a name often contains a meaning. Pay attention!
Louis Grignion is the original name of our Apostolic Missionary as it is written on his baptismal certificate. Currently, we know Montfort by the full name described above and this has several explanations. The first is that its composition basically constitutes the milestones of his life in Christ. “Louis” comes from the name of Saint Louis, king of France who lived in the 13th century; however, it turns out that it was also the name of his godfather, the doctor Louis Hubert, who was present at his birth on January 31, 1673. The name “Marie”, according to Grandet, was added by Louis Grignion himself when he received the Confirmation. The name “De Montfort” which he added himself later to recall the village, is today the town where he was born and above all was baptized: Montfort-sur-Meu.
However, there is another meaning which is rather intercultural, and which is known about his surname: “Grignion”. The name Grignion is not of Breton origin, it is a foreign name there. Marcel Sibold reveals in his research that the name Grignion comes from Loudun, in Poitou. Charles Grignion was the first of the Grignion family to emigrate to Montfort-sur-Meu in 1604, after leaving the Huguenots and converting to Catholicism. His father in Loudun was Denis Grignion, “merchant butcher, Calvinist”. This Charles was the father of Eustache Grignion who, among other things, became mayor of Montfort-sur-Meu, which made Grignion a bourgeois and respected surname. Eustache is the father of Jean-Baptiste Grignion who is the father of Louis Grignion. Louis Grignion was therefore the fourth generation of the Grignion family in Brittany (cf. M. Sibold, Le Sang des Grignion, vol. 1, 182).
Moreover, this mixture is part of the character of Louis Grignion. This is confirmed by the fact that his mother, Jeanne-Robert de la Vizeulle, is from a large city which was and still is the capital of the Brittany region: Rennes; she comes from a well-respected bourgeois family. Thus, throughout his missionary life, Louis Grignion had no difficulty working in the village or in the city, at ease in all environments, always seeking the geographical and existential periphery of people's lives... He could easily move from one city to another: Paris, Nantes, Poitiers, Rome, Luçon, La Rochelle, Rouen, Angers... he advanced “without let or hindrance, according to the inspiration of the Spirit” (PM 9). This intercultural character also gives the impression that he can easily enter into a relationship with the rich and the poor, “third estate or nobles”, even to the point of entering into a daring relationship with Madame de Montespan or Pope Clement XI. Louis' ability to get along with new people, even in a foreign place, presupposes in him an openness to dialogue and an ability to listen to others. This intercultural mentality allows him to work together with a missionary team, which leads to involvement and communion in various missionary works, in particular, it must be mentioned specifically, with the laity.
So, what about Father Dwi who has just been elected Superior General of the Missionary Company that Saint Louis-Marie founded? His five-word name clearly shows that he is at the crossroads of various influences.
His father is from East Nusa Tenggara in central Indonesia. His mother is from Central Java in western Indonesia. But Father Dwi was born in the national capital, Jakarta. From his father, he received, among other things, a cheerful and artistic character. His father, Mr. Rafael Watun, is the composer of the “Monfortain Hymn” which is still sung by the Montfortians in Indonesia. From his mother, he inherited, among other things, tenderness and sensitivity to others. This very religious and humble couple wanted their son's name to bear the names derived from Sanskrit: “Putra” (son), “Dwi” (two, because Father Dwi is the second child) and “Darma” (piety, dedication). Note that Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language that existed centuries before Christ. This language had a major influence in Indonesia, among others, through the Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in the Middle Ages and still today. The confreres in India will have no difficulty in pronouncing the name of this newly elected Superior General because his name, like his person, is intercultural.
“Interculturality” is one of the words frequently used in the current General Chapter of the Montfort Missionaries. This theme, which has long preoccupied the UISG (International Union of Superiors General), is considered as the direction to follow for this Company in view of its missionary existence in the Church and in the world. Interculturality requires the members of this Society to have relational capacities which cross borders, to be open to differences in a spirit of mutual listening in order to work together, fraternally, as true witnesses of the Good News. Threats to interculturality, such as individualism, closure, inability to forgive and coercion must be eliminated. This intercultural journey is very much in harmony with the synodal spirit which also characterizes the members of this Company who walk together in the footsteps of the poor Apostles. Interculturality is a sure sign of hope for the missionary existence of this Company. It encourages its members to unite in diversity, and even if the faces are different, the same heart beats in unison.