A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH
Militia of the Immaculata
Founded by Maximilian Kolbe
VATICAN CITY, 15 JUNE 2006 (ZENIT)
Here is the description of the Militia of the Immaculata which appears in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
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Official name: Militia of the Immaculata
Acronym: M.I. (Militia Immaculatae)
History: M.I. was founded in Rome at the International College of the Conventual Franciscans — which at that time was the "St. Bonaventure" Pontifical Theological Faculty — by Father Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), a Conventual Franciscan and martyr of charity at Auschwitz who was beatified by Paul VI and canonized by John Paul II.
Established as a pious union on Jan. 2, 1922, by the Vicariate of Rome through Cardinal Basilio Pompilj, M.I. was given special attention and care by the popes in the course of its history.
In a brief issued on Dec. 18, 1926, Pius XI granted it indulgences and privileges, and on April 23, 1927, it was elevated to the rank of a primary pious union with the brief "Die XVIII mensis Decembris."
Under the "altius moderamen" of the minister general of the Order of the Conventual Franciscan Friars Minor, and consistent with the magisterium of the Church, the association grew and spread to different countries.
On Oct. 16, 1997, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed the Milizia dell'Immacolata to be an international association of the faithful of pontifical right.
Identity: Father Kolbe presented M.I. as a "global vision of Catholic life in a new form, consisting of the link with Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, universal mediatrix with Jesus."
The association sets out to promote the expansion of the Kingdom of God throughout the world through the work of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, stimulating all to place themselves at her service in her mission as Mother of the Church.
The focus of the spirituality and formation in M.I. is the consecration to Mary, which Father Kolbe intended as "transformation into her": a style of Christian life which achieves the extreme consequences of love.
There are three key ideas: Mary Immaculate, love, and the mission, to provide formation which commits Christians to grow in an existential dimension (the primacy of the vocation to holiness), an ecclesial dimension (love for the Church and bearing witness to the Catholic faith), a missionary vocation (Christian formation of consciences and the New Evangelization), and a cultural dimension (promoting life by serving people in the Franciscan manner of fraternity, joy, simplicity and hospitality).
The specific areas of unity of M.I. are catechesis, town and city missions, religious instruction courses, updating, Marian culture, publishing, radio broadcasting and Informatics.
Organization: By its nature, M.I. is a unitary association. The organization comprises the Young Knights, the Youth Movement, and Adults.
It is structured into three levels:
— M.I./1 is the movement, with no strict organizational structure where the members mostly act individually and spontaneously, according to the founder's original project;
— M.I./2 is the movement broken down into groups, whose members work according to the official programs of the movement;
— M.I./3 is the movement at its highest level, at which the Knights choose to fully and unconditionally give themselves to Mary Immaculate, devoted solely to her cause: in the missionary apostolate, in parish service, alone or in active or contemplative life communities, using all legitimate means. This rank is specific to the City of the Immaculate, the executive centers, and the institutes inspired by Father Kolbe.
A significant presence of the association are those who suffer from sickness, poverty, marginalization and disabilities. They form the M.I. under the Cross. So much suffering, offered as a gesture of consecration to Mary Immaculate, enables the whole association to participate in the mystery of Christ's redemption and renews the missionary effort.
Although legally autonomous, at the pastoral level, all the institutes (secular and religious) inspired by Father Kolbe share the same aims and apostolic commitment: the Franciscan Sisters of the M.I., the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculata, the Franciscan Sisters of the Militia of the Immaculata, the Franciscan Brothers of the Immaculata, the Missionaries-M.I., the Missionary Sister Crusaders of the Immaculata, the Kolbe Missionary Sisters of the Immaculata, the Kolbe Teaching Missionaries.
Membership: M.I. has more than 3 million members in 48 countries around the world.
Works: M.I. does not have any institutionalized works of its own. When necessary it provides voluntary services to meet specific environmental and social needs: for example, the social recovery of alcoholics and drug addicts, and assisting AIDS sufferers, providing medical and nursing care in poor districts, humanitarian care for young needy mothers, literacy courses for adults, after-school activities, and parish catechesis.
It systematically conducts evangelization through the Rede Mariana de Radio e Televisao at Santo Andre (Sao Paulo, Brazil), the printing shop and publishing center Jardim da Imaculada at Cidade Ocidental (Brazil), the Mary town training and dissemination center at Libertyville, Illinois.
Publications: Miles Immaculatae, a six-monthly magazine of Marian culture and Kolbian formation. Founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe, specifically for priests and pastoral workers, it is now the official organ of the International Center.
There are more than 30 periodicals being published to support the apostolate of M.I. in different countries, the majority of which bear the name "Knight of the Immaculata," as an act of homage to the first one founded by Father Kolbe in Poland (Rycerz Niepokalanej) and subsequently in Japan (Seibo no Kishi).
Web site: www.mi-international.org
Centro Internazionale Milizia dell'lmmacolata
Via San Teodoro, 42/44
00186 Roma — Italy
Tel. (39) 06.679.3828 — Fax 06.6994.1017
© Copyright 2006 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]
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