|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.
* * *
Official name: Militia of the Immaculata
Acronym: M.I. (Militia Immaculatae)
History: M.I. was founded in Rome at the International College of the
which at that time was the "St. Bonaventure" Pontifical Theological
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
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
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
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
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,
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
Tel. (39) 06.679.3828
© Copyright 2006
Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]