The Legion Picture

  1. legionofmarypicture 300The picture is a powerful image of the devotional outlook of the Legion.
  2. The original Legion picture was painted by a brilliant young Dublin artist as an offering to the Legion. As might be expected from work animated by this spirit, the picture is one of extreme beauty and inspiration.
  3. The legionary prayers are made visible. The invocation and prayer of the Holy Spirit and the Rosary are pictured by the Dove overshadowing Mary, filling her with light and the fire of his love. In these prayers the Legion honours the moment which is the centre-point of all time. Mary's consent to the Incarnation, making her both Mother of God and Mother of Divine Grace. There is also allusion to Pentecost, where Mary was the channel of that other outpouring of the Holy Spirit which may be called the birth of the Church.
  4. The Catena is represented, as to its name, by the chain-border. The antiphon “Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?” is the portrayal of Mary. On her brow she bears a brilliant star, to mark her who is the true Morning Star, heralding the dawn of salvation.
  5. The Magnificat is represented by its opening verse, set in letters of fire above her head. The versicle and response are those of the Immaculate Conception, a primary devotion of the Legion, which is expressed in the crushing of the serpent.
  6. The words set in the border: Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem et semen tuum et semen illius; ipsum conteret caput tuum. "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head." (Gen 3:15) have the same reference. The picture shows this undying warfare: Mary and the serpent; her children and the serpent's offspring; the Legion and the powers of evil, which fall back scattered in defeat.
  7. At the top of the picture is the Holy Spirit the giver of all good gifts: below, the globe surrounded by the good and the bad, typifying the world of souls: between the two, Mary full of grace, all aflame with charity, the universal channel of intercession and distribution.
  8. The words in the border: Mulier, ecce filius tuus: . . . Ecce mater tua. "Woman, here is your son . . . Here is your mother." (Jn 19:26-27) point to Mary’s spiritual maternity of those who like St. John have lovingly accepted her as mother.
  9. The concluding prayers are mirrored in every line of the picture. The Legion is depicted as a host innumerable, advancing in battle-array under the leadership of its Queen and bearing her standards, "the crucifix in their right hands, the Rosary in their left, the sacred names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts and the modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their behaviour" (St. Louis-Marie de Montfort). Their faith is represented by the Pillar of Fire which melts all legionary hearts into one, and guides them on to victory and to the Land of Eternal Promise. The pillar is Mary who saved the world by her faith "Blessed is she who believed." Beata quae credidit (Lk 1:45) in the border and who now, through encircling gloom, leads on unerringly those who call her blessed, until the everlasting splendour of the Lord God come upon them.


"In the Old Testament we read that the Lord conducted his people from Egypt to the land of promise, 'by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire.' (Ex 13:21) This stupendous pillar, at one time of cloud and at another of fire, was a figure of Mary and of the various offices which she performs on our behalf." (St. Alphonsus Liguori)