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Father Anthony Ho

Groups lead the way to Jesus through Mary

Voices Nov 14, 2017

The Legion of Mary Tessera, or tablet. Both the legion and the Militia Immaculatae were formed in the 20th century to spread the Kingdom of Christ through Marian consecration. (Courtesy Legion of Mary)

In the 20th century, two great organizations were founded in Western and Eastern Europe respectively to spread the Kingdom of Christ through Marian consecration.

On Oct. 16, 1917, St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941) founded the Militia Immaculatae (MI), a movement to counter the bad influence of Freemasons and Modernists. MI members consecrated themselves to Our Lady and became her knights to introduce and to foster Marian devotion among strayed and indifferent souls, thus helping extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sign of Marian consecration of MI members is the Miraculous Medal.

In 1941, Maximilian Kolbe was captured by the Nazis. As a prisoner in Auschwitz, Maximilian frequently led the other prisoners in praying the rosary, especially those who shared his cell. In August 1941, Maximilian gave his life by voluntarily replacing a younger man in the starvation bunker.

The Militia Immaculatae promoted Marian consecration in Poland and the Legion of Mary promoted it in Ireland. Both organizations would eventually spread throughout the world. 

The Legion of Mary was founded by Frank Duff (1889-1980). Duff came from a wealthy family in Dublin, Ireland. At the age of 24, he became aware of the extreme poverty of many people in Ireland and began to help them through serving at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Charitable works led Duff to desiring a more devout way of life. As a result, in 1914 he started to attend two Masses each day and continued this practice for the rest of his life.  

In 1917, the same year that Our Lady appeared in Fatima and St. Maximilian founded the Militia Immaculatae, Duff read St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. This book helped deepen his devotion to Our Lady. He began to teach everyone that if they did not understand Mary, they were incapable of understanding Christianity.    

On Sept. 7, 1921, Frank Duff founded the Legion of Mary, which followed the spirituality of St. Louis de Montfort in its Marian devotion and piety. The Legion of Mary is an army of the Mother of God, bringing souls to Jesus through Mary.

Like the Militia Immaculatae, consecration to Our Lady is an important highlight of the Legion of Mary spirituality. Each year, around March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, members of the Legion of Mary assemble together and renew their own consecration to Mary, saying, "I am all yours, my Queen, my Mother, and all that I have is yours."

The Legion of Mary became an extremely fruitful Marian apostolate during the 20th century. The Legion was represented in almost every diocese in the world, and Blessed Pope Paul VI described it as the greatest movement to help souls since the establishment of the mendicant religious orders.    

Frank Duff emphasized that the rosary is the core of the Legion of Mary spirituality. He mandated each group of Legion of Mary to pray the rosary as part of their weekly meeting. He also encouraged each member to join the Confraternity of the Rosary.

Duff said that the rosary is the "Prime devotion to the Holy Spirit," for the contents of the rosary – the mysteries – celebrate the principal interventions of the Holy Spirit in the drama of redemption.

Duff wanted the rosary to be prayed with dignity and respect, insisting that those praying the second half of the Hail Mary were not to start before the person praying the first half had said the Holy Name of Jesus.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI invited Duff to attend the Second Vatican Council as a lay observer. He died at age 91 on Nov. 7, 1980.

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「通過聖母到達耶穌」    

二十世紀,東西歐洲分別兩個相若的團體成立,他們都為拓展基督王國而獻身給聖母,後來兩者都能擴展到世界各地。

 為對抗共濟會及現代主義的氾濫,聖高比神父(1894-1941)於1917年10月16日在波蘭成立「無玷軍團」,成員將自己奉獻給聖母,作為她的武士,在犯錯和冷漠的人靈間,引進和宣揚對聖母的敬禮,藉此拓展耶穌至聖聖心的神國。無玷軍團以聖母顯靈聖牌為奉獻給聖母標記。

 1941年,納粹德軍逮捕了高比神父,囚禁在奧茲華集中營。集中營內,高比神父常帶領囚友公唸玫瑰經。8月,高比神父甘願為一名囚友代受死刑。

 另邊廂,方濟.杜弗在愛爾蘭成立「聖母軍」。杜弗來自愛爾蘭杜林的富裕家庭,二十四歲時,有感於國內很多貧苦人士,遂加入聖雲仙會,而當中的慈善服務,促使他願渡更熱心的信仰生活。自1914年起,他每天參與兩台彌撒,直至去世為止。

 1917年,聖母在花地瑪顯現,聖高比在波蘭成立無玷軍團,杜弗同年閱讀了聖類斯.蒙福的箸作、「對聖母真正的敬禮」,加深了他對聖母的孝愛之心;他揚言:不明白聖母的人也不能明白基督宗教。

 1921年9月7日,方濟.杜弗成立「聖母軍」,以聖類斯.蒙福神修觀來尊敬聖母。「聖母軍」是天主之母的軍隊,為帶領人靈通過聖母,到達耶穌。

 正如無玷軍團一樣,聖母軍神修,以奉獻給聖母為重點;每年大約在3月25日、聖母領報慶日,聖母軍會齊集在一起,重申對聖母的奉獻:「我的母皇,我的母親,我完全屬於妳,我所有的一切都是妳的!」

 二十世紀,聖母軍十分成功,世界幾乎每個教區,均有聖母軍的成立。教宗真福保祿六世形容:自各行乞修會成立以來,聖母軍是最盛大的幫助靈魂的運動。」

 方濟.杜弗強調玫瑰經是聖母軍的靈修中樞,規定所有支團每週例會時,必先公唸玫瑰經,他亦鼓勵成員們加入「玫瑰經善會」。

 杜弗認為玫瑰經對天主聖神的敬禮,因為玫瑰經中默想的奧蹟是慶祝聖神積極介入救贖的工程;他希望誦唸玫瑰經時,要表達尊敬玫瑰經當中的尊嚴;接上聖母經後段的成員,必需待上段「… 耶穌,同受讚頌」一句完結後,才開始接上。

 1965年,教宗真福保祿六世邀請方濟.杜弗以平信徒觀察員身份,列席梵蒂崗第二次大公會議。1980年11月7日,杜弗以九十一高齡與世長辭。