For many years I have laboured under the impression that The Legion of Mary is/was an organisation for women only. Learning more about them from family and friends has put me right but I remember (or thought I remembered) this group from my early days in our parish of Hounslow. In fact, all three of my sisters were in this sodality. Wrong!
And here they are...Children of Mary. Two of my sisters
lead the procession and my eldest brother is on the
right hand side of the priest
It fulfilled, in many respects, what altar serving does or should do for boys, encourage vocations to the priesthood. The Children of Mary were sort of proto nuns although, by the 60s I guess that a lifetime spent in a convent held little attraction for young women - the death watch beetles were well entrenched by then.
Of course, they had a real role in parish life; they acted in a sacristan capacity, they de-waxed the many candle trays, they organised social events, they prayed as a group and they formed an important part of processions, pilgrimages and all "public" events that the parish was concerned with. They probably did a lot more besides. They were a mirror image of young men on the altar - perfect!
Where are they today? Never seen hide nor hair of one since those days but just think of the vital role that they could play today. Young evangelists, leaders of moral opinion amongst their peers, vanguard of support for the parish priest.
Bring 'em back fast.....take those young girls off the altar, give them a set of Sodality prayers and a Miraculous Medal on a blue ribbon and they're off!
Then we might see a return of vocations to the convents, but only if the orders of women pull themselves together and put on the yoke of Christ once more...but that's an issue for a future post.