Introduction to the Sodality
The Children of Mary Sodality is an association which originated in 1563. It was founded by Father John Leon, a Belgian Professor in the Roman College, a boarding school for boys conducted by the Jesuit Fathers of Rome. He would gather his fervent pupils after study in order to pray with them, read devout instructions to them and exhort them to love and imitate the Blessed Virgin. There were seventy members and they became known as the first Sodality of the Children of Mary, “Prima Primaria”. Rules were drawn up and it became recognised in Rome as the first principal congregation of Mary and it received the special blessing of Gregory XIII and of several of his successors. The Popes also granted many indulgences to its members.
The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin as a young women’s association is the outcome of an express wish of Our Lady when she appeared to St Catherine Laboure in 1830 in Paris. Our Lady told her that she wished that a Sodality for girls should be formed in honour of her Immaculate Conception. The work was begun by Fr Aladel, a Vincentian. Pope Pius IX officially recognised these organisations on June 20th, 1847 and they were classed as the Second Primary Congregation and the same indulgences were granted to it.
Its medal from the beginning was the Miraculous medal and since Our Lady appeared to St Catherine in a blue and white veil, the regalia of the members was taken as the white veil and blue cloak. The Sodality has for its object to assemble the members at the feet of Our Lady, to dedicate them in a special manner to the veneration and service of the Blessed Virgin and to place them under her particular patronage and protection both in life and in death.
The Children of Mary Soldality takes its origins from the Marian association which Father John Leon established in the Roman College, which was a boarding school for boys. Pope Gregory XIII made this Sodality ‘Prima Primaria’, that is, he made it the head and source of favours and indulgences for other sodalities of Our Lady.