Inter-War Marianism and the Legion of Mary

  • Clifford Williamson
Part of the Histories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700-2000 book series (HISASE)


The popularity of the cult of St Thérèse and the founding of the Carfin Grotto were only two of the major developments in Scottish inter-war devotion. Scottish Catholics also adopted and adapted further the growing number of Marian cults by helping to popularise the Legion of Mary, a Catholic Action society founded in Ireland in the 1920s. The Legion would prosper in Scotland, the first enclave of the organisation outside of the Free State, providing an innovative means to venerate the Virgin but also to advance a new devotional culture especially for women in the public sphere in a manner unprecedented to that date. It would be an organisation perfectly suited to inter-war Catholic social teaching in that it was direct challenge to the growth of communism. This chapter has four parts to it. The first part looks at the influence of Marianism on Catholic spirituality. The second part examines the founding of the Legion, first in Ireland in 1922 and then its expansion to Scotland in 1928. As pointed out, Scotland was the first country outside Ireland where the Legion was taken up, and the Archdiocese of Glasgow was the first place in Scotland to have Legion branches or Praesidia. The third part looks at the structure of the Legion and sets out the local, national and international organisation of the Legion of Mary with particular reference to Scotland. The final section examines the fields of activity of the Legion.


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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford Williamson
    • 1
  1. 1.Bath Spa UniversityBathUK

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