A lay religious called “father” out of veneration by his followers because of his readily evident spiritual fatherhood, Luigi Monti was born on 24 July 1825 at Bovisio in the diocese of Milan, and was the eighth of 11 children. His father passed away when he was 12 and he became a craftsman of products in wood to help support his mother and younger siblings. Ever an ardent youth, in his shop he gathered together many artisans and farmers of his age in order to give life to an evening oratory. This group took the name of “The Company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”, but the people of Bovisio referred to it as “The Company of Friars”. This group of young men stood out for its austerity of life, dedication to the sick and the poor, and its zeal in evangelizing those who had lapsed from the Church. Luigi, the leader of the group, consecrated himself to God in 1846, at the age of 21, by professing the vows of chastity and obedience into the hands of his spiritual director.