SODALITY OF OUR LADY
The Sodality of Our Lady is an association formed by the Society of Jesus and approved by the Holy See. It is a religious body, an organization for those of the Catholic faith which aims at fostering in its members an ardent devotion, reverence and filial love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary, and through this devotion and the protection of so good a Mother, it seeks to make the faithful, gathered together under her name, good Catholics sincerely bent on sanctifying themselves, each in his own state of life, and zealous, as far as their condition in life permits, to save and sanctify their neighbor and to defend the Church of Jesus Christ. In this day and age, when it seems that many in the Church, even among the clergy, reject the faith and appear to be in revolt against her teaching, the Sodality of Our Lady especially dedicates herself to not only the keeping of the traditional devout practices of the Catholic Church, the defense of her traditional doctrines, but also maintains exclusively the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and the administration of the Sacraments as was the custom and practice in the Roman Catholic Church, prior to all the “changes” after the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Gregory XIII
In the 16 century (1563), a young Jesuit priest named Father Jean Leontius (Van de Leeuw) was teaching a small class in the Jesuit College in Rome when one day, around a little Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he gathered what seemed to have been his prized pupils. He sketched out a single program that appeared to fit instinctively into precisely the needs of that time when the Church was being persecuted. These young students bound themselves in faith and hope and love to Christ Jesus. As active and fervent Catholics, they were to be recognized as followers of Christ by their military zeal, charity and service. They found in Mary the great inspiration to give themselves to the service of Christ. They loved her for what she was and did for the Lord. They showed Our Lady special veneration, placing their groups under her loving protection. This was the beginning of the first structured Sodality.
Later in the century (1584), Pope Gregory XIII acknowledged the Sodality in the Roman College, and granted it a list of special indulgences. This Sodality was made the Mother Sodality for the world and was given the title "Prima Primaria." The sodalities spread quickly throughout Europe and later came to America. About two hundred years later women and girls were finally admitted to the society by Pope Benedict XIV (1751).
Pope Clement XII
The Sodality came to North America in 1739 when Clement XII issued a Papal Bull approving the Sodality founded in 1730 at the Ursuline School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Georgetown University was the site of the first Sodality in the newly formed United States of America. It had been established and functioning since shortly after the founding of the College in 1789, although it was not affiliated with Rome until 1833.
Early in this century the Sodality was used as a basic organization for men and women who met separately, both stressing corporate Mass and Holy Communion. While regular meetings were held, they proved insufficient to instill the Common Rule of Sodality, resulting in revision of the Rule in 1910. The first Rule has a magnificent strength: "The Sodality of Our Lady, and association founded by the Society of Jesus and approved by the Holy See, is a religious body which aims at fostering in its members an ardent devotion, reverence, and filial love toward the Blessed Virgin . . ." (The New Sodality Manual, Lord, S.J., p. 17, 1945)
Again, the Jesuits were commissioned to begin promulgating the Rule, this time through the instrument of a magazine, THE QUEEN'S WORK. Editor Fr. Garesche, S.J. fulfilled this purpose for many years and succeeded in bringing about a diocesan union of sodalities. Father Daniel A. Lord, S.J. succeeded Father Garesche, both as editor of QUEEN'S WORK and promoter of Sodality. From 1929 on, the movement flourished under his leadership and maintained a phenomenal growth.
Pope Benedict XIV
Due to the rapid growth of sodalities and the need for unity among sodalities internationally, other higher governing bodies were established such as: The World Federation of Sodalities and The National Federation of Sodalities. The Second Vatican Council in 1965 heralded significant changes in sodalities. New "General Principles" replaced the Common Rule of 1910. At the World Federation of Sodalities in Rome in 1970, it was voted to change the name of Sodality to "Christian Life Communities."
The Sodality of Our Lady, which once numbered many millions and was established in most nations, soon saw a great decline in numbers after 1970, as was the circumstances of many Catholic organizations that attempted to “renew” themselves and change or move away from their traditional and historic mission. The Sodality of Our Lady at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chapel serves as the headquarters for those who wish to remain, or attach themselves to, the traditional Sodality of Our Lady. We use the Sodality Manual of 1945.
WHAT IS THE SODALITY OF OUR LADY?
The Sodality of Our Lady, an association formed by the Society of Jesus and approved by the Holy See, is a religious body which aims at fostering in its members an ardent devotion, reverence and filial love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary, and through this devotion and the protection of so good a Mother, it seeks to make the faithful, gathered together under her name, good Catholics sincerely bent on sanctifying themselves, each in his own state of life, and zealous, as far as their condition in life permits, to save and sanctify their neighbor and to defend the Church of Jesus Christ against the attacks of the wicked.
(From Article I of the Common Rules for Sodalities of Our Lady)
After 1967, most of the Sodalities were disbanded in the spirit of "Vatican II" and some were absorbed into what became known as "Christian life communities." The traditional Catholic Sodality of Our Lady maintains the Common Rules and adheres to the founding principles and standards of the Sodality. Today the Sodality works to preserve the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church, her traditional worship and devotions, as well as provide educational and charitable programs in the communities in which it is established.
The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary meets at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chapel on the 1st Saturday of the Month (following Mass) and at other scheduled times.
The word “Sodalist” comes from the Latin word sodalist and means a very close friend or associate, a companion, someone who has worked along with you or shared your interests and your labors. A Sodalist of Our Lady is by the very definition, a companion of the Mother of God.
Not only are members of the Sodality of Our Lady companions in Our Blessed Lady, but they are a dedicated body of Catholic men and women who are bound together by common interests and enthusiasm under the standard that flies above our heads and by our determination to establish the Kingdom of God (with Christ the King) everywhere and for all times.
During is over 400 years existence, the Sodality of Our Lady has been known to take on a variety of works and apostolate for the Church. Yet, through all her works, the Sodality never looses sight of its fundamental motto: “To Jesus Through Mary.” There is of course no higher objective for the human soul than that of closest possible union with Christ and the fullest possible development of the Christlike qualities and characteristics. Yet there has been no one else who so perfectly imitated the Savior or so perfectly carried out
His work and served Him with unflagging devotion as did Mary, His Mother.
So however much the Sodality of Our Lady has at various times adopted itself to local problems and needs, it has always kept as its ideal a constantly growing nearness to Christ and an imitation of that woman who from the dawn of the Immaculate Conception served the Blessed Trinity in the fullest perfection possible to a human being.
The Sodality of Our Lady feels that it can confer no greater favor upon the present generation than this insistence upon devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
HISTORY OF THE SODALITY
The history of the Sodality is one that every member of the Sodality should be deeply proud of.
The Reformation (revolt) against the Catholic Church during the 16th century also found the Sodality in her humble beginnings. Not only the revolt against the Catholic faith and her teaching authority, but Europe saw the threatening assault coming down upon Christianity as the followers of Mohammed would try to raise the crescent above the Holy Cross of Christ. Those were dark days for the Church! It almost seemed that the gates of hell had opened for the victorious armies assembled against Holy Church, even storming against the rock of St. Peter.
At this time, a young Jesuit, John Leunis was teaching one of the younger classes in the Jesuit College in Rome. He realized, as a young man well might, the perils into which the young student of his day would be plunged. He might be called to bear the intellectual and emotional assault of the revolution. He might even be called to join the ranks of the Christian forces and navies that were finding it hard enough to stem the onrush of the victorious Moslems.
Around the little altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman College, John Leunis gathered what seems to have been the prize pupils. He sketched out a simple program that appeared to fit instinctively and without a great deal of planning into precisely the needs of that imperiled day. If the “reformers” had exiled Our Lady from the churches and the Moslems had dropped women down to the gutter of the harem, this young teacher determined that his men should love Mary with a deep devotion and honor and protect womankind because they were the daughters of the immaculate Virgin.
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