Militia of the Immaculata

Father Luigi Faccenda, O.F.M.Conv., and the Kolbean Marian and Missionary Charism


– Rosella Bignami

Published in Marian Studies, Volume 54 (2003)

This is the story of two Conventual Franciscans who never met but whose lives are linked by their love for the Immaculate Mother of God. The first was St. Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of Auschwitz, declared by John Paul II as “patron of our difficult times.” During his studies at the Franciscan theologate in Rome, when he was only twenty-three, Fr. Kolbe founded, on October 16, 1917, the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.)--the Movement--with six other student friars. Today this Marian and missionary Movement, officially recognized as a Public Association of the Faithful, is international, with a goal to “promote total consecration to the Virgin Mary for the purpose of spiritual renewal of individuals and society.” St. Maximilian also founded Niepokalanow, “City of the Immaculate,” first in Poland and later another in Japan. At these centers was a friary of Franciscan priests and brothers using modern equipment to promote the Militia via the mass media. At times, this publishing apostolate produced one million magazines monthly as well as 125,000 copies of a daily paper for the nearly one million members of the worldwide Militia.

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