"Membership in the Militia means complete dedication to the Kingdom of God and to the salvation of souls through Mary Immaculate." - Pope John Paul II, MI Member
In 1922, the Movement was canonically established as a Pious Union of the Faithful and in 1926 Pope Pius XI elevated it to the status of a Primary Union. Today, the MI falls under the direction of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity and has been highly endorsed by Pope St. John Paul II. In 1981 the Holy Father noted that "membership in the MI means complete dedication to the Kingdom of God and to the salvation of souls through Mary Immaculate."
With the approval by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on October 16, 1997, of the MI's updated International Governing Statutes, the MI was given the privilege of status as an "international public association of the faithful" - a status shared by only a few other Catholic organizations.
During his lifetime St. Maximilian Kolbe founded Cities of the Immaculata in Poland and Japan to serve as centers of Marian-Franciscan evangelization for the Movement. He employed the mass media, especially the printed word, to spread the ideals of the MI and to encourage others to consecrate themselves to Our Lady. Despite his death as a martyr of charity in 1941, the Movement continues to expand and several religious communities and institutes have sprung from the spiritual legacy initiated in 1917.
What is Consecration?
Consecration means setting yourself aside for service to God. The Church has always advocated consecrating yourself to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin, the perfect model of discipleship.
Consecrating yourself to Mary through the ideal of St. Maximilian will be one of the most important days of your life. You will be placing yourself under the mantle of Mary's protective care as the Immaculate Conception, Mother of the Church and Mediatrix of All Graces.
Through total consecration you cooperate with Mary in the work of building up and renewing the Church of the third millennium. She will enlighten your mind, guide your will, empower your efforts and intercede for you in a special way before the throne of the Father.
You will also share in the intercessory prayers of the MI religious communities, who pray daily for the success of the MI movement and the sanctification of its members.
Finally, you will have the support that comes from being a part of an international movement of spiritual renewal. You will have access to MI resource materials, to its national publications, and to regular mailings from the national office on how to better live out your consecration.
"The more people draw close to this Stewardess of God's gifts, the more easily they will grow in holiness and work for their neighbor's growth in holiness."
- St. Maximilian
To better "win the world for the Immaculata," the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a shortwave radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio--he was a true "apostle of the mass media." He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.
Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church's understanding of Mary as "Mediatrix" of all the graces of the Trinity, and as "Advocate" for God's people.
In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope St. John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a "martyr of charity" in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is considered a patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.