History Of The Legion Of Mary
The Legion of Mary is an Association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the powerful leadership of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of all Graces have formed themselves into a Legion for the good of the Church. It is to fight against the world and its evil powers.
Legionaries hope to prove themselves worthy of their great heavenly Queen by their loyalty, their virtues, and their courage. The Legion of Mary is organized on the model of an army, principally on that of the army of ancient Rome. This army and the arms of legionaries of Mary are not of this world. The army had the most humble of beginnings. It was not an organization that was thought-out. It sprang up spontaneously and there was no premeditation in regard to rules and practices.
A suggestion was thrown out and a little group came together, unaware that they were to be the instruments of most loving Providence. Their meeting structure was the same as any Legion meeting anywhere in the world. The table around which they met bore a simple altar, of which the center was a statue of the Immaculate Conception (the miraculous medal model). It stood on a white cloth and was flanked by two vases with flowers, and two candlesticks with lighted candles. This setting, so rich in atmosphere, was the inspired notion of one of the earliest comers. It crystallized everything for which the Legion of Mary stands for.
The first corporate act of those legionaries was to go on their knees. The invocation and prayer of the Holy Spirit were said, and they said the Rosary as a devotion to Mary. When the final ejaculations died away, they sat up, and under the auspices of Mary (as represented by her statue), they sat to discuss on the best way to please God and make him loved in his world. From that discussion came forth the Legion of Mary, as it is today, in all its features.
Who among them could have thought that they were inaugurating a system which was to be a new world-force?
That first enrolment of legionaries of Mary took place at Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin, Ireland, at 8 p.m. on 7 September 1921 which was the eve of the feast of Our Lady’s Nativity. From the title of the parent branch, that is, Our Lady of Mercy, the organization was once known as “The Association of Our Lady of Mercy.” Due to this circumstance this date was accidentally determined.
“Mary is the Mother of all the members of the Saviour because by her charity she has co-operated in the birth of the faithful in the Church. She is the living mold of God, that is to say, it is in her alone that the God-Man was naturally formed without losing a feature, so to speak, of His Godhead”.
“The Legion of Mary presents the true face of the Catholic Church.” Says Pope John XXIII