What is the Legion of Mary?
Begun in 1921 the Legion of Mary is now a world-wide apostolic organization of Catholic men and women who place themselves under the banner of Mary, Queen of the Legion. With the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit they strive to develop greater spirituality in their lives while practicing the spiritual works of mercy. Their purpose is for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
The Legion setting follows the Roman Army whose members were called Legionaries. The local/parish unit of the Legion is the praesidium. A set of Praesidia form the Curia and so on. The international headquarters, Concilium, governs this worldwide organization from Dublin, Ireland. The Commander of this Army is Mother Mary herself who wishes to see all her children closer to her Son. Her Legionaries bring the Good News to all they meet.
Who can join the Legion of Mary?
Membership is open to all Catholics who lead edifying lives and are animated by the Legion spirit or at least desire to foster that spirit in themselves and are willing to fulfill the required duties. A member must be at least 18 years old; however, junior groups for those between ages ten and eighteen exist under the direction of a senior Legionary. Frank Duff, Founder of the Legion of Mary, describes the members as "Not special souls or unusual types, but ordinary Catholics living the everyday life of the world... the learned and the unlearned, laborers and leisured, the unemployed, widely differing classes, colors, races, including not a few whom the world would consider as primitive or depressed... typical" Catholics.
What do Legionaries do?
ACTIVE members meet weekly (about 1 1/2 hrs.) with their Spiritual Director usually in a parish to pray, to report on and to receive a work assignment. A minimum of two hours work is assigned by the President and approved by the Spiritual Director or pastor. Legionaries are required to preserve absolute secrecy in regard to sensitive matters discussed or learned at the meeting or in their work. Active members recite daily the Catena (the Magnificat, prayers of the Legion). The work of a praesidium varies from place to place but members always go out in pairs to meet people. Newer members are instructed by the master-apprentice method. Ideally, the praesidium will hold evangelization/conversion contacts as its highest priority with conservation of the Faith and consoling works following. A partial list of works includes: