Legion of Mary receives official Vatican approval

Legion described as a “remarkable testimony of faith”

Members of the Legion of Mary worldwide gathered in Rome last week to celebrate receiving official Vatican recognition as an international lay association.

Founded in Dublin by Frank Duff in 1921, the Legion of Mary, which now works on every continent promoting prayer and voluntary service to the Church, actually pre-dated the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The group recently decided to apply for official recognition in order to better accommodate their growth into other countries.

Last Thursday, Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, presented the Decree of Pontifical Recognition of the Legion of Mary statutes in a ceremony in the council’s headquarters in Rome.


He said the history of the Legion is a “remarkable testimony of faith” and praised the founders as pioneers in lay missionary commitment who are “among the many visible reminders the Legion has given to the Church of how a spirit of missionary zeal among the laity, often lived in conjunction with everyday family or professional life, can go hand-in-hand with a deep understanding of the nature of baptismal holiness”.

The President of the Legion of Mary, Síle Ní Chochlain said it was a “great honour” to take part in the ceremony and to be “formally recognised by the authorities in Rome”. “It was a very humbling experience,” she said.

Meanwhile Fr Bede McGregor OP, the Spiritual Director of the Concilium, told The Irish Catholicthat the cause for the canonisation of Frank Duff is progressing apace.

“The basic work has been done and now the evidence is with an independent historical commission which has to go through all the documents,” he said. “It is an elaborate legal process with a huge amount of material. When that is completed the material will be sent to Rome for a judgement. It is just question of time and I think there is no question he will be made a saint someday, but it may not be in my lifetime.”