The Legion of Mary is a lay Catholic association whose members are giving service to the Church, on a voluntary basis, all over the world. It was founded in Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin, Ireland, on 7 September, 1921. At present, it has about 2,250,000 active members in over 160 countries. The official handbook of the Legion has been published in at least 50 languages.
The basic unit of the Legion is called a praesidium, which holds a weekly meeting, where prayer is intermingled with instruction in the Faith and the work of the apostolate is discussed and planned. Active members are required to attend these weekly meetings at which they undertake an apostolic work assigned for that week by the praesidium. There are junior praesidia for persons under 18 years of age. Auxiliary membership is for those who wish to associate themselves with the Legionís apostolic work by the support of their prayer. It is open to priests, religious and lay people.
The object of the Legion is the glory of God through the holiness of its members developed by. prayer and active apostolic work. The essential means by which the Legion is to effect its object is personal service acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit, having Divine Grace as its moving principle and support, and the glory of God and the salvation of souls as its final end and purpose.
Legionary service is based on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ and draws inspiration from the True Devotion to Mary, as taught by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort. United in faith with Maryís love for Jesus, legionaries aim at recognizing and serving the person of our Lord in all those whom they meet. The Legion seeks to work in close union with the priest, to whom it looks for formation and spiritual guidance and for whom it aspires to be an effective apostolic instrument.
Visitation of families, the sick and the lonely, helping with other parish activities are ways in which legionaries participate in the life of the parish. Visitation of hospitals and prisons and serving the most afflicted and marginalized people have been part of the legionary apostolate since its earliest days. Encouraging the living of the faith on a deeper level and sharing the faith with others are important elements of the Legionís work. The Society of the Patricians, which seeks to build up the religious knowledge of people, and the Peregrinatio Pro Christo movement, which sends teams of legionaries to distant places to offer the faith to those outside the Church, are among some of the legionary apostolic initiatives undertaken in the course of the years.
The Cause for the Beatification of the Servant of God Frank Duff, Founder of the Legion of Mary, was officially introduced by Most Reverend Desmond Conriell, Archbishop of Dublin, on 4 June, 1996. The Causes for the Beatification of Venerable Edel Quinn and the Servant of God Alfie Lambe, both former Legion Envoys, are already advanced.Regia Minutes
Q: What works does the Legion of Mary undertake?
A: Regular works for the Legion of Mary include door to door evangelization, nursing home visitation, prison ministry, teaching RCIA and other religious education classes, visiting new parishioners and parish families with newly baptized babies, crowd contact and distributing Catholic literature, bringing the Pilgrim Virgin statue of the Blessed Mother to houses to consecrate them, and Enthronements of homes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Legion also periodically organizes events for Legion work, such a Peregrinatio Pro Christo, which is typically a one or two week Mission trip by legionaries from several parishes to another state or even to another country. Another type of event is a Parish Evangelization Project, which is a one or two event by legionaries from several parishes to evangelize a nearby parish. The Legion also staffs a booth at county fairs to answer questions from people who may want to know more about the Catholic faith. All Legion works are approved by parish pastor or spiritual director and in all of its works, the Legion works in obedience to the bishops and the parish priests. Works are typically done in pairs so that legionaries can learn from each other and encourage each other in service to Our Lord.
Q: What is the purpose of the Legion of Mary?
A: The primary purpose of the Legion of Mary is to lead people to Jesus Christ so they can benefit from the love and mercy of God. Specifically, the Legion of Mary seeks to lead the people we encounter in our works to a greater knowledge and faith in God and to increase the faith and holiness of our own members through prayer and service to Our Lord.
Q: I would like to join the Legion of Mary. How can I find out if there is a praesidium (Legion group) near me?
A: If you live in Northern Virginia, a listing of praesidia inside the beltway can be found here. A listing of praesidia for the Fairfax Curia (covering part of Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William counties) can be found here. If you live in the Tidewater area in southeastern Virginia, you can find a listing of praesidia here. If you live outside of these areas, please contact us at the Arlington Regia to find out what praesidia are nearby
Q: Who is eligible to join the Legion of Mary?
A: The Legion of Mary is open to all Catholics in good standing with a desire to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ through the intercession of his Blessed Mother Mary. Catholics 18 years of age or older can join adult praesidia whereas Catholics younger than 18 years of age can join junior Legion of Mary praesidia. Catholics who are interested in joining the Legion will start with a three or six month probationary period before taking their Legionary Promise to become Legion members.
Q: What different types of Legion membership exist?
A: The two primary classes of Legion membership are active members and auxiliary members. Active members attend a Legion meeting once a week and perform works of service (typically about 2 hours a week). Auxiliary members instead pray the rosary and the prayers of the Legion of Mary (the Tessera) for the intentions of the Blessed Mother and bolster the efforts of the active members through their prayers. Higher grades of membership include praetorians, who are active members who also pray the Tessera daily, attend Mass daily, and daily recite an Office approved by the Church, and adjutorians, who are auxiliary members who attend Mass daily and daily recite an Office approved by the Church in addition to praying the rosary and the prayers of the Tessera daily.