Auxiliary Membership in the Legion of Mary
Who can be an Auxiliary
Are there different Ranks
- What is Auxiliary
Membership in the Legion of Mary
Membership in the Legion of Mary is joining the praying wing of the
largest apostalic organization of lay people in the Catholic Church
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. It has been active in the United
States since 1931 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
are the praying wing
of the Legion
army, and by their prayers support active legionaries in much the
same way that an airforce would support an army.
Auxiliary membership is open to
and the laity.
consists of those who are unable or unwilling
to assume the duties of active membership, but who associate
themselves with the Legion by undertaking a service of prayer in
Auxiliary membership is subdivided into two degrees:-
- the primary, whose members
shall be simply styled auxiliaries; and
- the higher, whose members shall
be more particularly designated Adjutores Legionis or Adjutorians.
There are no age limits in the case of auxiliary membership. This
service need not be offered
directly on behalf of the Legion. It will suffice to offer it in
honour of Our Blessed Lady. Therefore it is conceivable that the
Legion might receive nothing from it, nor does the Legion desire
to receive anything which would do more good elsewhere. But as
this service is a legionary one, it is probable that it will
incline the Queen of the Legion to have regard for the needs of
the Legion. However,
it is strongly recommended that this and all other legionary
service be offered to Our Lady as an unreserved gift to be
administered according to her intentions. This would lift it to a
higher level of generosity and thus greatly enhance its worth.
This purpose would be kept in view by saying daily some formula
of offering such as the following: "Mary Immaculate,
Mediatrix of all Graces, I place at your disposal such portion of
my prayers, works and sufferings as is permitted to me." This
twofold auxiliary membership
is to the Legion what its wings are to a bird. With these wings
widely expanded by possession of many auxiliaries, and beating
powerfully under the rhythmic drive of their faithful prayer, the
Legion can soar into the higher air of supernatural ideal and
effort. It flies swiftly wherever it wills, and even the
mountains cannot stay its course. But if those wings are folded,
the Legion hobbles awkwardly and slowly along the ground, brought
to a stop by the slightest obstacle.
is no cost to join the
Legion of Mary. No fees, no dues, no supplies to buy.
will be given a copy of the prayers, you will be given a Rosary.
Donations to defray the costs of these items will not be
accepted, nor will other donations.
PRIMARY DEGREE: THE AUXILIARIES
This degree, named the auxiliaries, is the left wing of the
Legion's praying army. Its service consists in the daily
recitation of the prayers comprised in the tessera, namely: the
invocation and prayer of the Holy Spirit; five decades of the
rosary and the invocations which follow them; the Catena; and the
prayers described as "concluding prayers". These may be
divided throughout the day, as convenient.
Persons who are already saying
a daily rosary for any
intention whatsoever may become auxiliaries without obligation to
say an additional rosary.
"He who prays helps all
the souls of
men. He helps his brethren by the saving and powerful magnetism
of a soul that believes, knows,and wills. He supplies what St.
Paul demands from us above all things: prayers, supplications,
and acts of thanksgiving on behalf of all men. 'Cease not to pray
and to make supplication at all times in the Holy Spirit.' (Eph
6:18) And does it not seem that if you cease to watch, to insist,
to make efforts, to hold fast, everything will relax, the world
will relapse, your brethren will feel in themselves less strength
and support ? Yes, surely it is so. Each one of us in a measure
bears up the world, and those who cease to work and to watch
overburden the rest." (Gratry: Les Sources)
THE HIGHER DEGREE: THE ADJUTORIANS
This is the right wing of the praying Legion. It comprises those
who will (a) recite daily all the prayers of the tessera and in
addition (b) agree to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion
daily, and to recite daily an Office approved by the Church. See the
reference in praetorian
membership to the special value of an Office. Accordingly
is to the ordinary auxiliary membership what the praetorian
membership is to the ordinary active membership. The additional
duties are the same. Failure
once or twice a week to fulfil the required conditions would not
be regarded as a notable failure in the duty of membership. An
Office is not required from
religious who are not bound by their Rule to say one. The
effort should be made to lead
on the ordinary auxiliary to adjutorian membership, for it offers
a veritable way of life. What is said in the section on the
praetorians in regard to the uniting of the legionary to the
prayer of the Church, and to the special value of an Office,
applies likewise to the adjutorians.
Special appeal is addressed to
priests and religious to
become adjutorians. The Legion earnestly desires union with this
consecrated class, which has been specially deputed to lead lives
of prayer and close intimacy with God, and which forms in the
Church a glorious power-station of spiritual energy. Effectively
linked up with that power-station, legionary machinery would
pulsate with an irresistible force.
Consideration will show how
little this membership would
add on to their existing obligations - no more, indeed, than the
Catena, the Legion prayer, and some invocations: a matter of some
minutes only. But through that bond with the Legion they have it
in their power to become the driving force of the Legion. "Give
Archimedes of old, "a lever and a support for it, and I will
lift the Earth itself." United to the Legion, the
adjutorians will find in it that essential support on which to
rest the long lever of their holy prayers, which then become
omnipotent to uplift the burdened souls of the entire world and
move away its mountainous problems.
"In the Cenacle, where by the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit the Church was definitely founded, Mary begins to exercise
visibly, in the midst of the apostles and the disciples gathered
together, a role which she will continue ever after to exercise
in a more secret and intimate manner: that of uniting hearts in
prayer and of giving life to souls through the merit of her
all-powerful intercession: 'All these were persevering with one
mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus and
with his brethren'. (Acts I, 14)" (Mura: Le Corps
Mystique du Christ)
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS AFFECTING BOTH DEGREES
- Supplementary Service. The
Legion appeals to auxiliaries of both degrees to regard the essential
conditions of membership, not as limits of service, but as a minimum
which they will chivalrously supplement by many other prayers and acts
made specially with this intention.
It is suggested to priest-adjutores that they should in all their
Masses make a special memento, and even occasionally offer the Holy
Sacrifice, for Mary's intentions and the Legion. Other auxiliaries
might, even at the expense of some sacrifice, find it possible to have
a Mass offered occasionally for the same intention.
However generously the auxiliary may give to the Legion, nevertheless
he receives one hundredfold, one thousandfold, one millionfold in
return. And how is this? It is because the Legion teaches its
auxiliaries - no less than its active members how great is Mary,
enlists them in soldierly service for her, and makes them love her
properly. All this is something so great that words like "millionfold"
do not measure the gain. It raises the spiritual life to a higher
plane, and thereby assures a more glorious eternity.
- Who can refuse to Mary this
sort of gift? For she who is the Queen of the Legion is, as well, Queen
of the Universe and of all its departments and concerns, so that to
give to her is to give where the need is greatest, where one's prayers
will accomplish most.
- In administering the store thus
placed in her hands, Mary Immaculate will have regard to the
requirements of one's ordinary life and duties and to all existing
obligations. The question may arise: "I would wish to join, but I have
already given everything to Mary with complete abandon, or to the Holy
Souls, or to the Missions. Everything is gone. There is nothing left
over for the Legion, so of what use am I to its auxiliary ranks?" The
Legion answers: It is of great benefit for the Legion to gain so
unselfish a person. Your anxiety to help the Legion is in itself an
additional prayer, a proof of special purity of intention, an
irresistible call upon the limitless generosity of the guardian of the
Divine treasury. Certain it is that if you join she will respond, and
that the new intention will gain while the old intentions will not
lose. For it is the art of this most wonderful Queen and Mother that,
though she has availed of our offer and helped others liberally from
our spiritual treasures, yet we ourselves have grown strangely richer.
Her intervention has meant the doing of an extra work. A marvellous
multiplication has taken place: what St. Louis-Marie de Montfort calls
a secret of grace and thus describes: "Inasmuch as our good works pass
through the hands of Mary, they receive an augmentation of purity and
consequently of merit and of satisfactory and impetratory value. On
this account they become more capable of solacing the souls in
Purgatory and of converting sinners than if they did not pass by the
virginal and liberal hands of Mary.
" Every life has need of the potency of this admirable transaction,
where what we have is taken, placed at usury, accomplishes its work,
and then returns with increment. This force can be found in the gift to
Mary of a faithful auxiliary membership.
- Possibly because of the number
of souls in stress with which it is in touch, Mary seems to have given
to her Legion some little of her own irresistible appeal to the heart.
Legionaries will not find it difficult to enlist their friends in this
auxiliary service so vital to the Legion, and so valuable to the
auxiliaries themselves. Thereby they are associated to Legion
membership, with share in all the prayers and works of the Legion.
- The discovery, too, has been
made that the membership of the Legion's auxiliary or praying ranks has
the same power to catch the imagination that active membership
possesses. Persons who otherwise would not think of saying the rosary
every day, are found to be faithfully carrying out the obligations of
auxiliary membership, which demands the daily recitation of all the
prayers on the Legion prayer-card, already detailed. Numbers in
infirmaries and other institutions, who had lost heart, have gained an
interest in life through joining the Legion auxiliaries; while
multitudes in villages, and living otherwise in circumstances which
tend to make religion a tame thing, if not a matter of routine, have
through their auxiliary membership realised that they are of importance
to the Church; and have found themselves taking a proprietary interest
in the Legion, reading with intense interest any scrap of news about it
they chance to see. They feel themselves to be part of its most distant
battles for souls. They realise it to be dependent upon their prayers.
Accounts from different places of noble and exciting deeds done for
souls fill their drab lives with the throb of those far-distant doings.
Their existences have become transformed by that most inspiring of
ideas, the sense of participation in a crusade. And even the holiest of
lives require the stimulation of such an idea.
- It should be the object of
every praesidium to bring every Catholic in its area into auxiliary
membership. Thereby a favourable soil is provided for the working of
other aspects of the Legion apostolate. A visitation for this purpose,
implying a compliment, will be universally well received and a goodly
response may be anticipated.
- To the extent that members of
other Catholic societies and activities are brought into this auxiliary
degree, there is effected a desirable integration of all those
activities. They are thereby united in prayer, sympathy, idealism,
under the auspices of Mary, but without the slightest interference with
their own autonomy or characteristics and without alienating their
prayers from their own movements. For note that those auxiliary prayers
are offered in honour of Our Blessed Lady and not on behalf of the
- A Non-Catholic cannot be an
auxiliary member (with the exception of the Orthodox, who may join). But in the event (which is of occasional occurrence)
where such a person is willing to recite all the Legion prayers daily,
he should be supplied with a tessera and encouraged in his generous
programme. Special note should be taken of his name so as to keep in
touch with him. It is certain that Our Blessed Lady will be attentive
to the needs of that soul.
- It is the Legion's world-wide
adventure and battle for souls, rather than the local needs, which are
to be represented to the auxiliaries as the object of their service of
prayer. The conception should be placed before their minds that though
they are not in the fighting ranks, nevertheless they play an essential
part, comparable to that of the munition workers and the supply
services, without which the fighting forces are powerless.
- Persons should not be lightly
accepted as auxiliaries. In advance they should be made fully
acquainted with the obligations, and there should be reasonable
assurance that they will be true to them.
- With a view to intensifying the
interest of the auxiliaries in the service undertaken by them, and thus
- in the present, improving
its quality and ensuring its perseverance; and
- (2) in the future, leading
them on to adjutorian and active membership; they should be given an
insight into the work of the Legion.
- The keeping in touch with the
auxiliaries for the purpose of preserving their membership and interest
will be necessary, and will provide admirable work for certain of the
legionaries whose ideal should be the leading on still further of their
- Every auxiliary should be made
aware of the great benefits attaching to membership of the
Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. As the auxiliary is already
saying more than the amount of prayer required by the Confraternity,
the only additional obligation entailed by joining the latter is the
registration of name.
- Likewise, in the interest of
the full development of the auxiliary soldiers of Mary, the True
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin - or entire consecration of one's life
to Mary - should at least be explained to them. Many of them might be
glad to undertake this fuller service of her which entails the giving
of their spiritual treasures to her whom God has already appointed his
own Treasurer. Where is the room for misgiving, because Mary's
intentions are the interests of the Sacred Heart. They take in every
need of the Church. They cover the whole apostolate. They extend the
whole world over. They descend also to the Holy Souls biding their time
in the abode of Purgatory. Zeal for Mary's intentions is comprehensive
care for the needs of our Lord's Body. For she is no less the
solicitous Mother now than she was in the days of Nazareth. Conformed
to her intentions, one goes straight to the goal, which is God's Will.
But making one's own approach, what a tortuous route results: will it
ever bring one to the journey's end?
Lest some might be inclined to think that this devotion can be
practised only by persons of advanced spirituality, it is important to
record that it was to souls just emerging from the bondage of sin, and
to whose darkened memory it was necessary to recall the elementary
truths of the Catechism, that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort spoke of the
rosary, of devotion to Mary, and of the Holy Slavery of Love.
- It is desirable and in fact
essential to set up amongst the auxiliaries some loose form of
organisation comprising meetings or rallies of its own. Such a network
in the community would tend to permeate it with the apostolic and
prayerful ideals of the Legion, so that soon all may be found putting
those ideals into revolutionary practice.
- A Confraternity based on
auxiliary membership would be nothing less than any other
Confraternity. But in addition, it would be the Legion, with all the
Legion's warmth and colour. The periodic meetings of such a
Confraternity would keep its members in touch with the spirit and needs
of the Legion and make them more ardent in its service.
- It should be the aim to bring
every auxiliary into the Patricians, for the two
supplement each other ideally. The Patrician meeting will fulfil the
purpose of the periodic reunion recommended for the auxiliaries. It
will keep them in touch with the Legion and develop them in important
ways. Then on the other hand, if the Patricians are recruited into
auxiliary membership, it would represent for them another step upwards
- Auxiliaries must not be
employed on ordinary active Legion work. Proposals to utilise them in
this way are at first sight attractive. It seems a good thing to lead
on the auxiliaries. But examination will show that what is really at
stake is the doing of legionary work without the Legion meeting, in
other words the setting aside of the vital condition of active
- Where deemed desirable or
possible, auxiliaries may participate in the Acies, which in such
circumstances forms an admirable function for them and brings them into
intimate touch with the active legionaries. Auxiliaries who are
prepared to make the individual Act of Consecration, should make it
after the active legionaries.
- The invocation to be inserted
on the tessera for auxiliary members shall be, "Mary Immaculate,
Mediatrix of all Graces, pray for us."
- The Legion's call to the active
member to be "ever on duty for souls" is addressed likewise to the
auxiliary. Just as much as the active member, the auxiliary must strain
every nerve to bring others into legionary service. By this addition of
link to link the Catena Legionis can be made into a golden network of
prayer enveloping the whole world.
- It is frequently suggested that
the prayers of the auxiliary service should be reduced or changed to
meet the case of blind or illiterate persons or of children. Apart from
the fact that an obligation is inclined to lose its binding force
according as it becomes less definite, the impossibility of
administering such a concession should be manifest. It could not and
would not long be withheld from the less illiterate, the partly blind,
or the very busy. In time, the relaxation would become the ordinary
practice. No! The Legion must insist upon the performance of
the standard service. If this is beyond the powers of certain persons,
they cannot be auxiliaries. But they can give invaluable help by
praying for the Legion in their own way, and they should be encouraged
- It is allowable to require the
auxiliary to defray the cost of the tessera and of a certificate of
membership. But otherwise no subscription shall be payable in respect
of auxiliary membership.
- A roll of its auxiliary
members, containing names and addresses, and subdivided as to
adjutorians and ordinary auxiliaries, shall be kept by each praesidium
and shall be submitted periodically to the Curia or to its authorised
visitors. This roll shall be examined carefully with a view to seeing
that it is being properly kept, that new members are being zealously
sought for, and that existing members are being visited occasionally to
secure that having put their hand to the plough, they may not turn
back. (cf. Lk 9:62)
- Membership of the auxiliary
degree is effected by the entry of name upon the auxiliary roll of any
praesidium. This roll shall be in the care of the Vice-President.
- Names of candidates for the
auxiliary degree shall be placed on a provisional list until three
months' probation has been served. Then the praesidium must satisfy
itself that the obligations of membership have been faithfully
discharged before placing the candidate's name on the auxiliary roll.
"What recompense will our good Jesus give us for the
heroic and disinterested action of making a surrender to him, by
the hands of his holy Mother, of all the value of our good works?
If he gives a hundredfold, even in this world, to those who for
his love quit outward and temporal and perishable goods, what
will that hundredfold be which he will give to the man who
sacrifices for him even his inward and spiritual goods?" (St.
Louis-Marie de Montfort)