"It is no longer I who live" says the apostle "but it is Christ who lives in me." (Gal 2:20) Interior life means that one's thoughts, desires and affections converge on our Lord. The model for achieving this is Our Blessed Lady. She continually advanced in holiness, for spiritual progress, is, most of all, progress in charity or love, and charity grew in Mary during her whole life. All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love...."
(Legion of Mary Handbook page 203, 204)
What is the Legion of Mary?
The Legion of Mary is the largest apostolic organization of lay people in the Catholic Church, with well over 3 million active members in almost every country of the world. The Legion of Mary is an organization for the laity to be the extension of the priest. Founded in Dublin, Ireland on 7 September 1921, the Legion of Mary is a lay catholic organisation whose members are giving service to the Church on a voluntary basis in almost every country. The objective of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God through the holiness of its members developed by prayer and active co-operation in Mary’s and the Church’s work.
The Legion of Mary has been active in the United States since 1931, has been approved by the last 6 Popes, and was endorsed by the Second Vatican Council. The main purpose of the Legion of Mary is to give glory to God through the sanctification of its members.
What does the Legion of Mary do?
Members become instruments of the Holy Spirit through a balanced program of prayer and service. Works include parishioner visitation, visitation of the sick or aged, crowd contact, religious education, visiting the newly baptized, airport ministry, and meeting the other spiritual needs of the parish community. Legionaries are under the guidance of a spiritual director, Fr. Francis McHugh. The Legion is, in essence, an extension of the heart and hands of the pastor.
How does it work?
At the Parish level, the basic unit of the Legion of Mary is called a praesidium, which holds a weekly meeting, where prayer is intermingled with reports and discussion. The Legion's priority is the spiritual and social welfare of each individual. The members participate in the life of the parish through visitation of families, the sick, both in their homes and in hospitals and through collaboration in every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by the parish.
Members meet once a week for prayer, planning and discussion in a family setting. Then they do two hours of definite work each week in pairs and under the guidance of their spiritual director.
Who can belong?
The Legion of Mary is open to all Catholics who: Faithfully practice their religion; are animated by the desire to participate in the Church's apostolate through membership in the Legion; Are prepared to fulfill each and every duty which active membership in the Legion involves.
How do I start?
The first step is to be a guest at a meeting of the Legion of Mary. Guests are always welcome and can go on one of the work assignments with an experienced member if they choose. If there is no Legion of Mary in your parish, you can participate in a group in another parish until you can start one of your own with the assistance of other Legionaries and in cooperation with the pastor.