Legioen van Maria Nederland & België
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Internationale lekenbeweging

Internationale lekenbeweging

Op 27 maart 2014 heeft de secretaris van de Pauselijke Raad voor de Leken, bisschop Josef Clemens, het decreet uitgevaardigd waarin het Legioen van Maria wordt erkend door de Heilige Stoel als inter­nationale lekenbeweging.

Op de website van het Vaticaan is het Legioen opgenomen in het register van inter­nationale lekenbewegingen:


The Legion of Mary was founded in Ireland by the Servant of God Frank Duff. Its first group, known as the Patronage of our Lady of Mercy, met on September 7th 1921 in the Parish of Saint Nicholas of Myra, in Dublin. With the forming of a central governing body in 1924, to oversee the constant growth in new branches, the name “Legion of Mary” or “Legio Mariae” was soon adopted and the governing body called the Concilium Legionis Mariae. The Handbook of the Legion of Mary was first published in 1928, in order to guide the gatherings and apostolate of its many members, and has continued in this function to this day. From its very beginnings the Legion of Mary had sought and received the encouragement of the ecclesiastical authorities and, on January 3rd 1935, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Edward Byrne, gave a formal letter of approval. On March 24th of the same year, Archbishop Byrne granted the imprimi potest for the Legion’s constitutions. As the Legion of Mary expanded its membership anel activities across the world, it received repeated encouragement frorn successive Pontiffs and through several offices of the Holy See. Today, the Legion of Mary has an active membership in more than one-hundred-and-fifty countries.

The Legion of Mary proposes to its members a path of personal holiness, as a spiritual army dedicated to Our Lady and docile to the Holy Spirit, in the service of Christ Jesus, promoting the spiritual and moral good of souls (cf. Statutes, articles 2-6). In more than ninety years of steadfast apostolate for the Church, carried out by countless members and on all continents, the Legion’s example of lay missionary commitment has also served as an inspiration to more recent lay movements promoting the zeal to evangelise. Today, in continued faithfulness to its founding intuitions, the Legion of Mary is called, through each of its members, to remain faithful in prayer to Mary and to the Holy Spirit, in integrity of personal life, in attentive loyalty to the Church’s teachings and to its Pastors, and in the simple and direct witness to Christ in daily life that has always characterised it.

The Second Vatican Council gives special attention to the importance of aggregations of the Christian faithful and their participation in the life and mission of the Church (cf. Decree on the apostolate of the laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, nos. 18, 19 and 21). Post-conciliar teaching underlines the role that such aggregations have in carrying forth the Gospel of Christ (cf. Blessed John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, no. 29). The same teaching recalls the urgent need for a new evangelisation and the responsibility of all the baptised and all ecclesial associations and movements in this regard (cf. Pope Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, nos . 94 and 96). It also affirms the importance of an authentic Christian life as the source and inspiration for all efforts in evangelisation (Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium no. 8).


Having examined the request presented to the Pontifical Council for the Laity by the then President Mr. Tommy McCabe, and furthered by the current President Madam Síle Ní Chochlain;

Taking account of the longstanding good reputation of the Legion of Mary, and of the fruits of its service to the Church in many countries;

Following a detailed study of the draft statutes, presented to the Dicastery in their final form on October 23rd 2013;

In light of article 134 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus for the Roman Curia and according to canon 322 of the Code of Canon Law;

The Pontifical Council for the Laity decrees:

  1. The recognition of the Legion of Mary as an inter­national private association of the faithful , with juridical personality, in conformity with the canonical norms in force and according to canons 298-311 and 321-329 of the Code of Canon Law.
  2. The approval of the Statutes ad experimentum for a period of five years, a copy of these statutes having been duly authenticated by this Dicastery and deposited in its archives.


From the Vatican, March 25th 2014, in the 93rd year since the foundation of the Legion of Mary.

Signed by Josef Clemens, Secretary and Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, President

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