Legion of Mary

The Legion of Mary is a world-wide organization of the lay apostolate, in which Catholic men, women and youth sanctify themselves through prayer and apostolic work in union with Our Lady under the guidance of a priest.

The Legion of Mary was first organized in Dublin, Ireland, on September 7, 1921.

In the first decade of its existence it consolidated itself in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. In the second, the Legion spread rapidly the through the United States, Canada, India, Australia and Africa. The third decade saw it span the length and breadth of Europe. Finally, the vast Spanish-speaking countries caught its contagious missionary zeal, so that the Legion now exists on all continents.

Today the Legion is organized in nearly all the dioceses throughout the world. The Handbook, the official guide in the hands of every active legionary, is printed in some thirty languages and its prayers are recited in over sixty. It is estimated there are about 5 million active and 12 million praying members throughout the world today.

What is the purpose of the Legion of Mary?
The purpose of this association of Catholics is to make its members better Catholics and to raise the spiritual level of the entire community through direct contact with and interest in every member and potential member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The sanctification of its own members is achieved through prayer and work. Each weekly meeting offers to the Legionaries the recitation of the Rosary, spiritual reading, a short talk by the Spiritual Director, a discussion of Catholic doctrine and devotion, and an evaluation of the work program. At the meeting each member is assigned two hours of apostolic work, to be performed during the week and reported on at the following meeting.

The doing of apostolic work is really only a means to an end, namely, the sanctification of the individual member. The Legion is thus needed in every parish, for in every parish there are parishioners who want to become better Catholics. Experience has shown that in every parish there is a nucleus of people called, it seems, to be sanctified in this unique way.

What types of work does the Legion do?
The Legion system is adapted to various kinds of apostolic work, and is always subject to the discretion of the spiritual director. Following Pope Paul’s exhortation on evangelization and also the United States bishops’ pastoral letter, the Legion of Mary has established a priority for its possible works as Conversion, Conservation, and Consolation.

Who is eligible for membership?
The Legion of Mary is open to all Catholic men or women over eighteen years of age who have the good will to want to serve God in the capacity of helpers to the priest, and who will conform to the Legion system.

Does the Legion also have a youth membership?
Yes. The Legion trains groups of young Legionaries, generally from eight to twelve years of age for Juniors, and from thirteen to eighteen years of age for Intermediates. These young Legionaries are the hope and joy of the Legion. They follow the Legion system, and in their way, do marvelous apostolic works.

What type of person makes the best member?
Membership in the Legion does not require specific skills or advanced spirituality. The Legion can take an ordinary Catholic with the willingness to give the required time and to follow the Legion system, and develop him or her through the spirituality of the meetings and the experiences of the apostolate itself, into an excellent lay apostle. This development is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit Who gives to those who give themselves to Him. In this regard, it’s interesting to note that reception into the Legion involves a commitment, not to Mary (nor even to Jesus) but to the Holy Spirit.

A time of sorrow can be, even with its difficulties, a unique time of grace for the grieving and for those who grieve with them.