The Legion of Mary celebrates its 93rd Anniversary on Sunday 7th September. The Legion was founded on that date in 1921 by Frank Duff. The first meeting took place in Myra House in Francis Street, Dublin 8. Just a little history below in to the first and second meeting that took place in what would become one of the largest lay apostolates in the world.
1. First meeting
The historic first meeting of the Legion was held on the evening of September 7, 1921, the First Vespers of the feast of Our Lady’s Nativity. It was in a modest “upper-room” of an apartment on
Francis St., in an old and poor quarter
of the city of Dublin, Ireland. In the
center of the room, on a table covered with a white cloth, flanked by two
lighted candles and two vases of flowers, was enthroned a statue of the
Immaculate Conception, of the Miraculous Medal type.
This simple arrangement was the idea of one of the early arrivals and expressed the spirit of the organization that was about to be born. As the Handbook of the Legion puts it: “The Queen was there before those assembled. She stood waiting to receive the enrollments of those, who, she knew, were coming to her. They did not adopt her. She adopted them.
At the hour agreed upon, this little group—fifteen girls, most of them in their late teens or early twenties; one layman, Mr. Frank Duff; and one priest, Michael Toher—knelt on the floor around the improvised altar. They recited the invocation and prayer to the Holy Spirit and then recited the Rosary. Their prayers ended, they took and considered together “how they could best please God and make Him loved in His world.”
They proposed together a program of work. They would visit an almshouse of the city to console the poor. Their concern would center chiefly on the women patients, and their visitations would be undertaken in a friendly, simple devotional manner with a willingness to listen patiently to the concerns of these people.
Those gathered that night were unanimous that this work should be organized to insure the regularity of these visits. In other words, it would be done seriously, methodically, or not at all. They decided to follow the format of the St. Vincent de Paul Society to a certain extent: a weekly meeting, prayer, spiritual talk, reports from each member on the previous week’s work. They wanted an apostolate with and for Mary, in accordance with the teachings of St. Louis de Montfort.
2. Second meeting
There are accounts of the very first Legion visitations. A bedridden woman who had been away from the Sacraments for many years decided to “get right” again. Another woman, bedridden for five years, wrote on a scrap of paper a little note addressed to her daughter: “If I can see you once before death, then I shall die in peace.” Another woman who had been living with a married man and who had nowhere else to go, upon being discharged from the hospital pleaded with the Legionary, “If I could only find a job, then I could make him return to his own wife.” This woman asked if the kind visitor could perhaps help her in this difficult situation. These are just a few examples of their experiences.
Report after report authenticated the fruitfulness of this soul-to- soul Marian apostolate. The Legionaries understood their role as docile instruments in the hands of the Virgin Mary. Their intention was self- sanctification and the sanctification of others. Their message was to give Christ to the world through Mary.
A new organization was born . . . a spiritual army that was soon to encircle the globe: The Legion of Mary. During the first four years of its existence, the organization was known as the Association of Our Lady of Mercy. Later, in November, 1925, it adopted the name Legion of Mary.
Above taken from: EWTN - Legion of Mary
This evening Friday 5th September there will be a Vigil of Prayer starting at 7pm concluding with the Holy Mass at 9pm in St. Nicholas of Myra Church, Francis Street, to mark the founding.