The duty of extension is not for
the higher councils alone, nor for Curia officers alone. It is the duty
of each member of the Curia. Nay, more, it is the duty of each
individual legionary, and each one must be made to realise that fact
and to account now and then for his stewardship. The influencing of
others by interview or correspondence is an obvious method of
fulfilling this duty, but special ways will suggest themselves to each
If many centres could be made to
send forth impulses to spread the Legion it would soon exist in all
places, and the Lord's harvest fields would be thronged with willing
labourers. (Lk 10:2) Therefore these important subjects of extension
and recruiting should frequently be brought to the notice of the
members so that each one be made acutely conscious of his duty in those
An efficient branch of the
Legion will be the source of immense good. As one may suppose that this
good will be doubled by the establishment of a second branch, every
member (and not merely the officers) should endeavour to bring about
this desirable thing.
As soon as it is found that the
members' reports and other items of the agenda have regularly to be
curtailed in order to anticipate the automatic closure, a stage will
have been reached when division is not only desirable but necessary. If
not then effected, a dropsical state will supervene, in which interest
in the work will diminish and the membership will shrink. The
praesidium will not only lose the power of transmitting life to another
branch, but will find it difficult to preserve its own existence.
To the proposal to form an
additional praesidium in a particular locality, it may be alleged that
present numbers are coping satisfactorily with the existing needs.
Against this, it is to be emphasised that, as the primary purpose of
the Legion is the sanctification of its own members, and of the
community at large through the play of that holiness, it logically
follows that increase of membership must, for this reason alone, be
also a principal aim. Possibly the provision of work for the new
members may be somewhat of a problem in small places. Nevertheless, let
new members be accepted and sought. The Legion must never think in
terms of limitation: better material than that already within the ranks
might be excluded. When the more obvious needs have been covered, look
deeper. Work is necessary to enable the machine to function. Therefore,
it must be found and it is there.
In places where the Legion
already exists, the effort should be made to provide the officers and a
fair proportion of the new members by transfer from an existing branch.
Praesidia should consider it as the greatest honour to supply their
best material for the formation of a new praesidium. This is the
healthiest form of pruning. A praesidium depleted by such a gift of its
members will find its ranks quickly refill, and its apostolate attended
by an added benediction.
In towns or localities where no
branch of the Legion already exists, it may not be feasible to secure
members with legionary experience, in which case the founders of the
new praesidium must apply themselves all the more assiduously to the
study of the handbook and whatever commentaries may be available
In setting up the first
praesidium in a new place, it is well to diversify its work as much as
possible. This will better ensure the interest of the meetings and thus
promote the health of the praesidium. Moreover the varying abilities
and tastes of the members can thereby be provided for.