Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Children of Mary

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The Sodality of Children of Mary Immaculate owes its origin to the manifestation of the Virgin Immaculate of the Miraculous Medal, on which the Church has placed a seal, by appointing the twenty-seventh of November as its feast. This manifestation was made to Sister Catherine Labouré, a novice in the mother-house of the Daughters of Charity in Paris, in 1830. Associations were formed, by way of trial, in various houses, and a rescript of 20 June, 1847, to Very Rev. John Baptist Etienne, Superior General of the Mission, empowered him to erect in each house of the Sisters of Charity a pious confraternity, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, made up of young girls attending their schools or work-rooms. This same rescript also granted to this association, not by affiliation but directly, the same indulgences as are enjoyed by the Prima Primaria of the Society of Jesus. Three years later the sovereign pontiff extended a similar favour to the youths educated by the Priests of the Lazarists, and to the little boys under the charge of the Sisters of Charity. The Brief of Pius IX, 19 September, 1876, permitted the admission into this association of young girls not attending the schools or work-rooms of the Sisters of Charity. Leo XIII confirmed these privileges by the Briefs of 21 May, 1897, 2 August, 1897, and 29 April, 1903. The badge adopted by the Children of Mary Immaculate is the miraculous medal, suspended from a blue ribbon. The statistics of 1897 gave one hundred thousand living members throughout the world, four hundred thousand having been registered from the date of the first canonical erection, in Paris, 19 July, 1847. From the same date to 1908, forty thousand were registered in the institutions of the Daughters of Charity in the United States alone.

FRANCES GILDART RUFFIN