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“WHAT’S IN A NAME?” asked Shakespeare. The worldwide Militia Immaculatae movement has asked itself the same question. In North America it is known as the Knights of the Immaculata, in England and Australia the Crusade of Mary Immaculate, in the Philippines and India as the Militia of the Immaculata. In other English-speaking areas of the world it is known as the Militia of Mary Immaculate. A new Franciscan Order (The Franciscans of the Immaculate), speak of the Militia Immaculatae as the Missio Immaculatae Mediatrix (M.I.M.). All of these titles translate or adapt the original Latin title of the Marian evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 as the Militia Immaculatae. Regardless of the variety of titles, the very name of the Militia Immaculatae signifies the movement’s two essential characteristics: 1) it is militant and 2) it is Marian. The name bespeaks a spiritual “Marian militancy” which St. Maximilian saw capable of transforming the world.

Militant vs. Militarist

The words of St. Maximilian himself offer a very revealing insight into “spiritual militancy.” Words such as “knight,” “militia,” and “battle,” sound bellicose, for they are associated with warfare—not necessarily a war fought with the help of rifles, bombs, rockets, tanks etc., but still, a real and true battle. But what is its tactic? Prayer above all and before all, is the effective weapon in the battle for the freedom and happiness of souls. Why? To attain a supernatural goal only supernatural means will be ultimately effective. Heaven—the divinization, so to speak, of souls—is something supernatural in the fullest sense of the word. Therefore, with natural means this cannot be attained. Here supernatural means are needed, namely, divine grace. This grace is obtained through humility and confident prayer. Grace, and only grace, enlightens the intellect and strengthens the will, and it alone is the cause of conversion, which is the liberating of the soul from the fetters of the Evil One. […]

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta, renowned for the worldwide mission of charity that she began in 1946, used a simple "tool" as a symbol of that charity: the "Miraculous Medal."  A common sight it was to watch Mother take a fistful of such medals, kiss them, and hand them out to the poor.  Queues of people would form outside her convents when word would spread that Mother Teresa had come to town.  One by one she would welcome young and old, the sick and the needy, lay and clergy, the significant and the insignificant.  Rarely would any leave without Mother pressing Miraculous Medals into their hands.

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