Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 18, 2005
The Legion of Mary - a global active lay apostolate
Special to the WCR
More than 80 years since it was founded, the Legion of Mary continues to be an active lay apostolate helping the Church in its ongoing battle against the forces of evil and bringing souls to God.
It is the largest lay organization the Catholic Church has known, with about 2.3 million members who are practising Catholics, in 160 countries worldwide. Under ecclesiastical guidance, the members render their service to our Lord Jesus Christ in the spirit of humility, charity, faith and love, under the banner of the Holy Spirit in union with the Mary, mediatrix of all graces. Pope John XXIII said, "The Legion of Mary presents the true face of the Catholic Church."
Founded in Dublin
The organization was founded Sept. 7, 1921 in Dublin, Ireland, by a group (led by Frank Duff) who met that evening and prayed before the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception set on an altar. They called their group, The Association of Our Lady of Mercy, that later became the Legion of Mary, spreading and attracting more members worldwide becoming what it is today.
The object of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God through the sanctification of its members achieved through prayer, apostolic work, and to help others achieve the same goal. This aspiration for sanctification is exemplified in the lives of Venerable Edel Quinn who has been beatified, Frank Duff and Alfie Lambe who have their causes for beatification in progress.
Membership consists of active and auxiliary members that include seniors and juniors. Active members have the primary duty of attending the meetings of the praesidium. Members pray together, study the Legion Handbook, receive their assignment and give a report on the work done. Every active member performs at least two hours of weekly volunteer service.
Auxiliary members do not attend the meetings, but pray the rosary daily and other prayers assigned to them. They are the praying army of the Legion.
There are 30 active praesidia locally in Edmonton, Calgary, Legal, Red Deer, and Plamondon. Active (senior) members visit the mental and other hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, prison and other institutions. They visit the sick and elderly, bring Communion to people who cannot go to church or bring people to church, and do house to house visitations.
Organizing rosaries and retreats for boys and girls, enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, evangelization, baptismal and catechetical instructions are other tasks done by members. And they assist the parish priest in whatever he needs to be done.
Reports from various parts of the world to the concilium in Ireland, indicated many conversions, baptisms, marriage regularizations and lapsed Catholics brought back to the Church through legionaries' efforts and evangelization into remote areas.
For more information about the Legion of Mary, please contact Nito Amiscaray (473-6323), or Terry Smyth (452-2402).
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.