The Legion of Mary (Latin: Legio Mariae) is an association of Catholics who serve the Church on a voluntary basis by performing some active work each week such as visiting homes in the parish, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and prisons and providing instruction in the faith (catechisis) to both children and adults. All work is carried out with the approval of the parish priest. The members come together once a week to pray and to report on the work they have done during the previous week. The weekly meeting is of utmost importance in the Legion system, providing formation for its members. This is done primarily by the reading of the pdf Legion Handbook (1.51 MB) and a short talk or allocutio given by the Spiritual Director (usually a priest).
The Legion of Mary has as a high ideal the sanctification of its members. Through the carrying out of a regular work of mercy and attendance at the weekly meeting, members strive to grow in holiness. The founder of the Legion of Mary, Servant of God Frank Duff wrote a booklet called pdf Can We Be Saints? (235 KB) when he was just 26 years old. As well he wrote most of the Legion Handbook which is one of the great spiritual classics of the 20th Century.
The Role and Spirit of the Legion
The Legion of Mary is an international Catholic lay movement, which aims to collaborate in the Church's mission of evangelisation. Its members engage in the direct religious apostolate, especially towards those most remote from the Church's influence. In the spiritual formation of its members the Legion places much emphasis on the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, on seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and on the performance of apostolic work in union with Mary.
Legionaries place themselves at the service of Mary, and wish to help her in her mission as "Mother of the Church."