So, what is the Legion of Mary?
It is what we call an “apostolate” within the Catholic Church; it is run by the laity, as opposed to the ordained ministers. We go on visitations, to help people whenever we can, to pray for the sick and the dying, and to spread the Good News™ in fraternal charity.
The Legion is modeled after the Roman Legion, the efficient military forces of the Roman Empire. This is fitting since the Earthly Church is sometimes referred to as the “Church Militant”, since we are at war – against the flesh (that is, our own disordered desires), the world (that is, its disordered influences) and the Devil (a.k.a that freaky guy in “the Exorcism of Emily Rose”).
The group that meets on Mondays is called the Praesidium, the smallest division in the Legion. Wednesday visitations, I’ve already mentioned above. It’s to be done in the spirit of charity and selfless service (two hours a week can seem a lot some days), to pray for the poor and the suffering, and to be joyful and grateful in serving those we meet (and we meet all sorts, I can tell you!). Although the Legion does not provide material aid, we seek to work together with St. Vincent de Paul Society (who do provide material aid) to help with the spiritual needs. I guess Frederick Ozanam’s (the founder of St. Vincent de Paul Society) favourite Scripture passage applies to us, but in a spiritual way:
“If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)