By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles
To mark the Centenary Year of the founding of the Legion of Mary, a tree dedication ceremony is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 17, in the prayer garden of Our Lady of LaSalette Catholic Church, 602 N. Claiborne Street in Sulphur. The event precedes the main celebration of the 100th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Founded in Dublin, Ireland on Sept. 7, 1921, the Legion of Mary — a lay apostolic international association of men, women, and youth — has had a presence in the Diocese of Lake Charles for more than 25 years. Members serve the Catholic Church on a voluntary basis carrying out weekly apostolic work in the spirit of faith and in union with Mary Immaculate.
“We decided to plant a tree as a loving gratitude to the legacy of the many people who have been a part of this organization, as well as a way of hope for the growth of the Legion of Mary,” said Kitty Roberts, president of the Most Holy Rosary Curia in the Diocese.
“There are people who are second- and third-generation members, so the thought is that a tree will serve as a spiritual landmark not only now, but for future generations of members,” Roberts continued.
Members chose to plant a Southern Magnolia tree because of its everlasting qualities and symbolism to purity.
“Like the Blessed Mothers’ love for us is everlasting, the foliage of the Magnolia tree is ever green,” Roberts noted. “The beautiful white flower reminds us of her purity; a virtue Legion of Mary members strive to live out in their daily lives.”
Parishes with a Legion of Mary praesidium (basic unit at each church parish) in the Diocese of Lake Charles include Our Lady of LaSalette and Our Lady of Prompt Succor, both in Sulphur; Our Lady of LaSalette in DeQuincy; St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Carlyss; and Our Lady Help of Christians in Jennings.
Roberts said the prayer garden at Our Lady of LaSalette in Sulphur was chosen as the location to plant the tree since the church has served as the location of Curia meetings for the past 25 years. The Curia consists of the officers from the various praesidia and is appointed by the Diocese, along with a spiritual director. Father Andrews Kollannoor, M.S., is the spiritual director for the Most Holy Rosary Curia.
“The Legion of Mary is about each member’s own personal growth and what we do in order to imitate Mary’s virtues,” said Roberts. “A tree serves as a symbol of growth, a symbol of joy. That’s what we want in our faith.”
Roberts said the Legion of Mary wants to recognize as many members — past and present — as possible at the tree dedication ceremony. If there is anyone who knows someone who was involved at one time, they are encouraged to contact her at 337-496-9193.