Legion tells 'beautiful story' of 73 years

The Legion of Mary has launched A beautiful Story to be Told, a book tracing its history in Australia and Oceania.

Legion President Kevin Cross reports that author Fr Joachim O'Brien OFM presided over the launch, which took place in Melbourne on Sunday.

Fr O'Brien (pictured) writes of the Legion's beginning in 1921 that founder Frank Duff "sat down with Fr. Toher and fifteen ladies. They prayed to the Holy Spirit, said the rosary, and asked our Lady to 'lead us'."

In 2005, the Legion operates in 178 countries of the world, always with the same simple form of meeting, under the protection of the Blessed Mother and with the formal approval of the Church.

Fr O'Brien writes that Fr Aedan McGrath, a Columban priest in China in the 1940's was asked by the then Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Riberi, to extend the Legion in China.

"He did so with remarkable success. Later, after his release from prison under the communists, Fr. McGrath continued over many years his Legion work especially in the Pacific region from the Philippines. On several occasions he visited the Legion Senatus in Melbourne and Sydney. He surveyed the extraordinary work that had been done from there, but was saddened that their story was unknown by the bishops, clergy and laity. He wrote: "You have a beautiful story to be told, and it should be told."

Thr book is story of that 'extraordinary work' covering over 70 years, beginning with a visit of Fr Bakker and Mrs Gavan Duffy to the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin 1932.

"Enthusiastic with what they has seen of the Legion, then only eleven years old, they determined to bring it to Melbourne. It began there in some of the worst days of the Great Depression; this was followed shortly after by the Second World War. Yet in spite of grave difficulties the Legion spread with remarkable rapidity to most of the Australian dioceses within twelve years."

The Legion still plays a large part in parish life throughout Australia.

A beautiful story to be told: The Legion of Mary in Oceania: 1932-2005 (Legion of Mary)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Legion of Mary, Melbourne Senatus

6 Jul 2005