The Militia Immaculatae was founded more than 100 years ago. Is it still relevant today? Does it answer today's challenges?
When St. Maximilian Kolbe founded the Militia Immaculatae in 1917, he did so for one purpose: to bring the whole world to the feet of the Immaculata. It was not founded with a narrow set of means in mind, nor was it meant for a certain type of person. St. Maximilian says that "all...valid and legitimate means" (Statutes) must be used to bring souls to her. Therefore the means used are those which are most effective for the souls with whom we deal.
The M.I. is not an exclusive club, meant for a certain type or class of people. Its founder envisioned that anyone, from the common layperson all the way up to the highest member of the clergy, would join the ranks of Mary's Knights, eager to help her in whatever capacity they are able. It is meant to be, as he says, "something transcendent rather than general." He says that it should not replace other organizations within the Church, but should make them stronger. The M.I. "should not be viewed as just one organization among many others; rather, it ought to penetrate into the depths of all other organizations." (From a letter of St. Maximilian Kolbe dated December 31, 1935)
In particular, the M.I. is most crucial in view of the modern crisis within the Church. Regarding this increasing crisis and the worsening “decisive battle” (cf Our Lady of Fatima), a resolute army of combat troops under the banner of “the Lady, veiled with the sun” of the Apocalypse seems more necessary than ever.
Members of the Militia Immaculatae are called Knights. Does this mean that it is meant for men and boys only? Are women and girls allowed to join?
Absolutely, women and girls are most welcome to enroll as Knights. All baptized souls, especially once they have been confirmed, are called to fight for the cause of Christ and his Mother. All are attacked by Satan alike, and so all need the assistance of their heavenly Protectress, who will lead them on to victory. In addition, all the baptized are meant to be apostles, leading to Christ the souls with whom they come into contact. For this, the help of their Mother is invaluable.