ALSO KNOWN AS
Militia of the Immaculata
MI (Militia Immaculatae)
MI was founded in Rome at the International College of the Conventual Franciscans - which at that time was the "St Bonaventure" Pontifical Theological Faculty -, by Father Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941), a Conventual Franciscan and martyr of charity at Auschwitz who was beatified by Paul VI and canonised by John Paul II. Erected as a Pious Union on 2 January 1922 by the Vicariate of Rome through Cardinal Basilio Pompilj, MI was given special attention and care by the Popes in the course of its history. In a Brief issued on 18 December 1926, Pius XI granted it indulgences and privileges, and on 23 April 1927 it was elevated to the rank of a Primary Pious Union with the brief Die XVIII mensis Decembris. Under the altius moderamen of the Minister General of the Order of the Conventual Franciscan Friars Minor, and consistent with the Magisterium of the Church, the association grew and spread to different countries. On 16 October 1997 the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed the Milizia dell’Immacolata to be an international association of the faithful.
Father Kolbe presented MI as a "global vision of Catholic life in a new form, consisting of the link with our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, universal mediatrix with Jesus". The association sets out to promote the expansion of the Kingdom of God throughout the world through the work of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, stimulating all to place themselves at her service in her mission as Mother of the Church. The focus of the spirituality and formation in MI is the consecration to Mary, which Father Kolbe intended as "transformation into her": a style of Christian life which achieves the extreme consequences of love. There are three key ideas: Mary Immaculate, love, and the mission, to provide formation which commits Christians to grow in an existential dimension (the primacy of the vocation to holiness), an ecclesial dimension (love for the Church and bearing witness to the Catholic faith), a missionary vocation (Christian formation of consciences and the new evangelisation), and a cultural dimension (promoting life by serving people in the Franciscan manner of fraternity, joy, simplicity and hospitality). The specific areas of unity of MI are catechesis, town and city missions, religious instruction courses, updating, Marian culture, publishing, radio broadcasting and apostolate through internet.
By its nature, MI is a unitary association. The organisation comprises the Young Knights, the Youth Movement, and Adults. It is structured into three levels: MI/1 is the movement, with no strict organisational structure where the members mostly act individually and spontaneously, according to the Founder’s original Project; MI/2 is the movement broken down into groups, whose members work according to the official programmes of the movement; MI/3 is the movement at its highest level, at which the Knights choose to fully and unconditionally give themselves to Mary Immaculate, devoted solely to her cause: in the missionary apostolate, in parish service, alone or in active or contemplative life communities, using all legitimate means. This rank is specific to the City of the Immaculate, the Executive Centres, and the Institutes inspired by Fr Kolbe. A significant presence of the association are those who suffer from sickness, poverty, marginalisation and disabilities. They form the MI under the Cross. So much suffering, offered as a gesture of consecration to Mary Immaculate enables the whole association to participate in the mystery of Christ’s redemption and renews the missionary effort. Although legally autonomous, at the pastoral level, the institutes (secular and religious) inspired by Kolbe - the Franciscan Sisters of the MI and the Father Kolbe Missionary Sisters of the Immaculata - share the same aims and apostolic commitment.
MI does not have any institutionalised works of its own. When necessary, it provides voluntary services to meet specific environmental and social needs.
Miles Immaculatae, a six monthly magazine of Marian culture and Kolbian formation. Founded by St Maximilian Kolbe, specifically for priests and pastoral workers, it is now the official organ of the International Centre.
There are over 30 periodicals being published to support the apostolate of MI in different countries, the majority of which bear the name "Knight of the Immaculata", as an act of homage to the first one founded by Fr Kolbe in Poland (Rycerz Niepokalanej) and subsequently in Japan (Seibo no Kishi).
Centro Internazionale Milizia dell’Immacolata
Via San Teodoro, 42/44
00186 Roma - Italy
Tel. [+39] 0669766436