The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 that encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.
The MI movement is open to all Catholics. It employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and in others.
Marian consecration is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI's mission is "To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus."
By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the woman foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15. She leads them to personal sanctification, the conversion of Church opponents and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Militia of the Immaculata began on October 16, 1917, around a table at the Conventual Franciscan seminary in Rome. Maximilian Kolbe gathered together six like-minded young friars before a statue of the Blessed Virgin and drafted a charter that would establish one of the most influential Marian apostolates ever. The charter still serves as a blueprint of spiritual progress for MI members today.
Since these humble beginnings, the MI has spread throughout the world and is today present on five continents and in forty-six nations. Official membership now nears four million.
"Membership in the Militia means complete dedication to the Kingdom of God and to the salvation of souls through Mary Immaculate." Pope John Paul II
In 1922, the Movement was canonically established as a Pious Union of the Faithful and in 1926 Pope Pius XI elevated it to the status of a Primary Union. Today, the MI falls under the direction of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity and has been highly endorsed by Pope John Paul II. In 1981 the Holy Father noted that "membership in the MI means complete dedication to the Kingdom of God and to the salvation of souls through Mary Immaculate."
With the approval by the Pontifical Council for the Laity on October 16, 1997, of the MI's updated International Governing Statutes, the MI was given the privilege of status as an "international public association" - a status shared by only three other Catholic organizations.
During his lifetime St. Maximilian Kolbe founded Cities of the Immaculata in Poland and Japan to serve as centers of Marian-Franciscan evangelization for the Movement. He employed the mass media, especially the printed word, to spread the ideals of the MI and to encourage others to consecrate themselves to Our Lady. Despite his death as a martyr of charity in 1941, the Movement continues to expand and several religious communities and institutes have sprung from the spiritual legacy initiated in 1917.