Monday, 30 August 2010

Information about the Confraternity, from the Legion of Mary Handbook

I was recently reading the The Official Handbook of The Legion of Mary – available as html and pdf here – and was interested to read their resumé of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary:

1. This is an association that unites into one great family the faithful who undertake to recite the fifteen decades of the Rosary at least once a week. Membership of a family implies a sharing among the members. Those who join the Rosary Confraternity are invited to place in Our Lady’s hands not only their rosaries, but the value of all their works, sufferings and prayers, to be distributed as seems best to her among the other members and for the needs of the Church. The Confraternity was founded by the Dominican Alan de la Roche in the year 1470. Its promotion is a special responsibility of the Dominican family. For this reason all those inscribed become sharers in the spiritual benefits of the Order.
2. The fact that St. Louis-Marie de Montfort was not only a member of the Confraternity, but devoted himself ardently to its propagation, should be a headline for legionaries. The following interesting document is still in existence: “We, the Provincial of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), do certify and declare that Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, Brother of our Third Order, preaches everywhere and with much zeal, edification, and fruit, the Confraternity of the Rosary in all the Missions which he gives continually in the towns and country places.”
3. In order to join, one’s full name must be enrolled on the register in a Church where the Confraternity has been established. To obtain the many indulgences and privileges of membership it is necessary to meditate on the mysteries as best one can while reciting the prayers. It was St. Louis-Marie de Montfort who said that “meditation is the soul of the Rosary.” The obligation to recite the fifteeen decades at least once a week does not bind under sin. The ordinary daily Rosary more than fulfills. The entire Rosary need not be said together; the decades may be recited one or more at a time according to convenience. There is no obligatory meeting or subscription.
4. Some of the advantages of the Confraternity are as follows: (a) The special protection of Our Lady, Queen of the Rosary; (b) a share in all the good works and spiritual benefits of the members of the Dominican Order and of the Rosary Confraternity, the world over; (c) a share, after death, in the prayers and suffrages offered by the same for the dead; (d) a plenary indulgence may be gained on the day of enrolment, on the feasts of Christmas, Easter, Annunciation (the Incarnation of the Lord), Assumption, Our Lady of the Rosary, Immaculate Conception, Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.
5. Apart from indulgences to be gained as members of the above Confraternity, a plenary indulgence is attached to five decades of the Rosary said while meditating upon the mysteries at the one time in a church or public oratory, or with a family, or in a religious community, or at a meeting of a pious association (which would include the Legion). A partial indulgence is attached to its recital in other circumstances.
6. The conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence are:
(a) Sacramental confession — the one confession will satisfy for the gaining of several indulgences;
(b) Holy Communion — to be received each time one wishes to gain a plenary indulgence;
(c) Prayer for Pope’s intentions — one Pater and Ave or any other prayer according to liking, will satisfy the condition. The prayers are to be repeated for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
(d) It is required also that one be free from any affection for sin, even for venial sin. “The Holy Rosary is the fairest flower of our Order. Should it come to pass that this flower withers, simultaneously the beauty and lustre of our Institute is seen to fade and disappear. And on the other hand, when that flower revives, forthwith it draws down on us the heavenly dew, imparts to our stem an aroma of grace and causes it to bring forth, as from a root of piety, fruits of virtue and of honour.” (de Monroy, O.P.)

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