WHAT IS THE JUNIOR LEGION OF MARY?
The Junior Legion is an organization for the spiritual development of persons under 18 years of age. The president, and at times the vice-president are experienced Senior Legionaries of Mary. Our Intermediate Legionaries are aged 13-18. Our Juniors are aged 7-12. Each group, which is called a praesidium, is under the guidance of a spiritual director.
Primarily, the purpose is to train and spiritualize the young members. In a short time they till take their place as lay apostles of Christ doing the work as Senior Legionaries of Mary.
Junior Legion of Mary praesidia can be found throughout the entire world.
WHAT DOES THE JUNIOR LEGION OF MARY DO?
Each member must do at least one hour of work each week. This work is assigned at the weekly meeting which all members must attend. Junior Legion Praesidia have been found to be valuable in the work that they do in parishes. Junior Legionaries may teach catechism to young children, visit the sick, make rosaries & visit the elderly.
Work at home also may be done in addition to the weekly assignment. The Spirit of Mary working for the Holy Family at Nazareth should be preserved by each member in the work at home.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES THE JUNIOR LEGION OF MARY BRING?
TO OUR PARISH: It forms a spiritual army of youth within any parish. Many worthwhile tasks are performed, which would otherwise be neglected. As a consequence, more blessings are earned, more graces are gained, and more souls are saved.
TO OUR YOUTH: A unique opportunity for spiritual growth is given. No other organization offers a daily program of prayer, a weekly work assignment and the discipline of a meeting each week. In crucial years when formation is so essential, the Junior Legion develops spiritual and mental growth of the personality, Junior Legionaries stand to gain for everything they freely give in service to Mary.
TO OUR CHURCH: Lay Apostles are wanted and needed. A firm spiritual foundation given to our youth will insure a source of supply of Lay Apostles for years to come. As Junior Legionaries, our youth are taught to give to their Church rather than to wait for what they can receive. The Junior Legion forms good Catholics now, and better Catholics tomorrow
The Junior Praesidium, in the Handbook
...The Legion is able to make vivid the whole circle of Catholic Doctrine and to turn it into motive-power for every Christian purpose. But also there is an immediate outpouring of this power. It fills schooltime, playtime, home, and every other time, with holy, practical idealism. It gives its members a new vision of things, which is equivalent to making the world different for them - a new outlook:-
(a) On the Church, once they have realised that they are its soldiers, with a definite place in its warfare, and with responsibility for its extension.
(b) On the everyday round and task. As a tiny point of light illuminates a room, so the little Legion task gives a new meaning to the whole course of the week. What the members learn and practise in the praesidium they will live in their ordinary life.
(c) On their neighbour, in whom they have been taught to see and serve Christ.
(d) On their home, which they have learned to surround with the atmosphere of Nazareth.
(e) On helping at home (or in the school if the praesidium be an internal one) in the spirit of the Legion, that is of Mary at Nazareth; seeking for work instead of trying to escape it; choosing the most unpleasant tasks; putting one's heart into the doing of the least things; being always sweetness and thoughtfulness itself; working always for Jesus and preserving the sense of his presence.
(f) On school, for they will have absorbed to some extent the legionary ideals, and will as a consequence see school, teachers, books, rules and study in a different light. Accordingly, they will get things from school which others would not get. So that, even if the Legion did represent time taken from study (which is the common objection), the net effect would be incomparable gain.
(g) On "duty" and "discipline." These two all-important things, which are so odious to the young because so misunderstood by them, will be made comprehensible and beautiful when linked with those other two words: "Mary" and "Legion."
(h) On prayer, when they realise that it is not a mere custom-imposed task but a source of power, the support of their work, and their valuable contribution to the Legion treasury and thence to the Church.
Perhaps it is not too much to claim that in the proper working of a praesidium on the foregoing lines lies one of the greatest possible educative influences which could be brought to bear on the young. It will develop in them every quality which is proper to the Christian character, and will serve as a mold out of which will come in number holy and reliant young people, a joy to their parents and superiors, and a mainstay to the Church.
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