The Sodality – Marian Devotion and Catholic Action

– Father Thomas Thompson, S.M.

In some Catholic centers—perhaps not so much now as in the decades immediately following Vatican II—activities related to Marian devotion seemed apart from the peace and justice movements which emanated from the council. Is there a chasm between those devoted to Marian devotion and those promoting peace and justice movements? Yet, a most Marian organization, the Sodality of Our Lady, was noted both for its Marian devotion and also for its involvement and dedication to apostolic activity. Marian devotion and apostolic activity were integral features of the character of the sodalities-those directed by both the Jesuits and the Marianists. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Catholic Action was a movement strongly encouraged by Pius XI and Pius XII, and, in the mind of the popes, the sodalities of Our Lady were ideal settings for Catholic Action. Yet, there was frequently a hesitancy, a fear that the Sodalities of Our Lady would lose their character if they became too involved in Catholic Action. What was also needed was a broad theological vision which presented an image of the Virgin Mary that would encourage both Marian dedication and apostolic action.

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