What is the MI?
What is Consecration?
The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 that encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.
The MI movement is open to all Catholics. It employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and in others.
Marian consecration is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI's mission is "To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus."
By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the woman foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15. She leads them to personal sanctification, the conversion of Church opponents and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.---
The Militia of the Immaculata began on October 16, 1917, around a table at the Conventual Franciscan seminary in Rome. Maximilian Kolbe gathered together six like-minded young friars before a statue of the Blessed Virgin and drafted a charter that would establish one of the most influential Marian apostolates ever. The charter still serves as a blueprint of spiritual progress for MI members today.Since these humble beginnings, the MI has spread throughout the world and is today present on five continents and in forty-six nations. Official membership now nears four million.
"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
Original statutes of the MI, handwritten by Fr. Kolbe, 1917
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 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" - a status shared by only three 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.
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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.Perhaps the best known advocate of Marian consecration is St. Louis de Montfort (d. 1716). Modern day promoters include Pope John Paul II, who recommends an "act of entrustment" to Mary (the Holy Father's papal motto is an enthusiastic Totus Tuus, "Totally Yours.") All methods are equally worthy; Kolbean consecration adds a clear apostolic dimension. You become a member of an international movement dedicated to the conversion and sanctification of the world and share in the maternal mission of Mary. The MI is one of the few canonically approved public associations whose mission, like that of the Catholic Church, is universal.
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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 conferences and resource materials, to its national magazine, Immaculata, 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
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St. Maximilian was born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, January 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.
Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanow, the "City of the Immaculata." By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to an incredible 650, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.
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 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.
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