Mary's Notebook: July 2006

Legion of Mary
Mary's Notebook


Issue 3: July 2006

Table of Contents:

What is a Congress? (Chelyse Miller)

At the Curia level of the Legion of Mary, a Congress is supposed to be held every two years.  A Congress should not be viewed as a Retreat or Workshop, but rather a time for the members of the Curia to come together to discuss and grow in the Legion System.  During a Retreat or Workshop there is usually someone who leads the retreat of workshop and participants are quiet.  In a Congress, it is different because while someone gives a short talk to spurn discussion, the bulk of the day is spent in discussion with contributions from ALL legionaries, experienced and inexperienced, officers and non-officers, courageous and shy.  The fruits of the Congress come with the active participation of all.  The phrase, “you will get out of it, what you put into it” comes to mind.  Questions may be raised, but one must attempt to answer their own question before turning it over to be answered.  The Spiritual Director at the end of the discussion can right any wrongs said and also answers any unanswered questions as well as ties up the loose ends.

The Congress helps Legionaries become better Legionaries through the four aspects of Legionary service.  “The devotional system of the Legion…The legionary qualities, and how they are to be developed….The methodical system of the Legion, including the conducting of the meetings and the vital matter of the members' reports…The Legion works, including the improvement of methods and the planning of those new works which will enable the Legion to reach out to every person.” (taken from the handbook).  The Congress of the Tidewater Curia will look at each of these aspects.  

The devotional system of the Legion will be looked at through “The Prayerful Legionary: The Essesnce of Spirituality.”  This discussion period will focus on the importance of prayer in the Legion from the Daily Recitation of the Catena and attending the weekly meetings, to achieving Praetorian status (recitation of the daily office, attendance at daily Mass, praying all the prayers of the Tessera daily).  

The Legionary qualities and how they are developed will be handed through “The Difficult Road: When works and prayers become hard.”  This discussion period will focus on some of the virtues of Legionaries including Persistence, Humility, Courage, and Charity among others.  It will focus on reliance on Our Lady and imitation of her in our works and in our daily lives.  

The methodical system of the Legion will be handled by the discussion on “Report Furnishing: Being Adequate and Audible.”  The first meeting of every month we hear in the Standing Instructions that one of our duties is to furnish an adequate and audible report on the work done.  What is an adequate report?  How do we make sure we include all that we need to include?  Doesn’t reporting go against humility?  Hopefully, we will be able to discuss and answer some of these questions so the work reports throughout the Curia from the weekly meetings to our Annual Report to Curia will become more adequate.  

Finally, the Legion Works will be covered through “Home Visitation: The Preferred Work of the Legion.”  The Congress is supposed to help us in works we already do, but also in giving us knowledge to begin new works.  This discussion will focus on Door to Door but will include other types of Visitation as well.  For many these may help to rejuvenate Door to Door in our Praesidium.  For others it will help improve works already being completed.

Again, the Congress is meant to help improve ourselves as soldiers and as a Legion so that we can go out in the world and become more effective in our works and lives.  The Congress should be viewed as a day that enables us in a safe environment with fellow Legionaries to grow in our service to the Holy Spirit and to Mary, our Mother.

The Tidewater Curia Congress is taking place this year on July 29th from 9AM until 4PM at Saint Gregory Catholic Church.

Our Lady of the Rosary Spiritual Director, Rev Fr. Damian A. Abbaticchi, O.S.B. Passed Away June 19, 2006 (Chris Miller)

Father Damian was born February 3, 1917; died June 19, 2006; and was ordained a priest November 4, 1945.  He served as spiritual director for Our Lady of the Rosary Praesidium, as pastor of St. Gregory's, and served at Saint Benedicts's Chapel.  For his obituary, see

The Legion of Mary Rosary (Chris Miller)

In the first section of the first chapter of the Handbook, it describes the very start of the Legion of Mary, saying:

The first corporate act of those legionaries was to go on their knees. The earnest young heads were bent down. The invocation and prayer of the Holy Spirit were said; and then through the fingers which had, during the day, been toilsomely employed, slipped the beads of the simplest of all devotions. When the final ejaculations died away, they sat up, and under the auspices of Mary (as represented by her statue), they set themselves to the consideration of how they could best please God and make him loved in his world. From that discussion came forth the Legion of Mary, as it is today, in all its features.

Every meeting of the Legion of Mary starts in the same way.  The members kneel down, pray the opening prayers of the Legion of Mary, including the Most Holy Rosary.  The Legion of Mary prays the Rosary in accordance with Pope John Paul II's encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae.  The Legion of Mary does not modify the Rosary to include prayers according to the local US cutom, but rather prays the prayers the same way in all places accross the world, as a sigh of our unity throught the world.  For this reason, the inclusion of the Fatima prayes (O my Jesus forgive us our sins.  Save us from the fires of hell.  Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy) is forbidden as part of the Legion meeting.  While local prayers, like the fatima prayer, may be prayed on Legion of Mary work assignments, and in our own devotional prayers, they cannot be added into the prayers of the meeting.  

Of the Rosary, the Legion Handbook also says this:

"The same measure of dignity and respect should be imparted to its recitation as if the gracious personage to whom it is addressed were visibly present in the place of the statue representing her. The proper recitation of the Ave requires that the second part should not begin until the first has been finished, and the Holy Name of Jesus reverently pronounced. The rosary, playing, both by rule and by recommendation, such an important part in the life of the legionary, each one is urged to register in the Rosary Confraternity. (see appendix 7) Pope Paul VI insists that the rosary must be preserved. It is pure prayer. Its contents are eminently biblical. It effectively summarises the whole history of salvation, and it fulfils the essential purpose of exhibiting Mary in all her various roles in that history.

”For Christians, the first of books is the Gospel and the Rosary is
actually the abridgement of the Gospel.” (Lacordaire)