Knights at the Foot of the Cross
What is the MI?
THE MILITIA OF THE IMMACULATA (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 that encourages a total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.
Marian consecration in the MI is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI motto is “To lead every individual with Mary to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
The MI movement is open to Catholics. It employs prayer as the most important ministry for the conversion of the world and the spread of the Gospel. Mis also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and in others.
By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, who leads them to personal sanctification, the conversion of Church opponents and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
What is Total Consecration to Mary?
CONSECRATION MEANS setting yourself aside for the service of God. The church has always advocated consecrating yourself to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin, the perfect model of discipleship. It began at the foot of the cross when John was entrusted to Mary.
One of the best known advocates of Marian consecration is St. Louis de Montfort (d. 1716). Modem day promoters include Pope John Paul II, who recommended an “act of entrustment” to Mary (his papal motto was an enthusiastic Totus Tuus-“Totally Yours.”) All methods are equally worthy; Kolbean consecration adds a clear apostolic dimension. You become a member of an international movement dedicated to the conversion and sanctification of the world and share in the maternal mission of Mary. The MI is one of the few Vatican approved public associations whose mission, like that of the Catholic Church, is universal.
Who are the Knights at the Foot of the Cross?
THE KNIGHTS AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS (KFC) is an outreach within the MI movement, comprised of Catholics afflicted by the cross of suffering – physical, spiritual or emotional. As MI members, KFCs consecrate themselves to Mary. As did Mary at the Cross of her Son, they also participate in “redemptive suffering” (also called sacrificial or reparational suffering). This means they offer some of their daily prayers and trials to Jesus and Mary, who apply these gifts where grace is needed most, such as to convert hearts and save souls, to make amends for the sins of others, and ultimately to bring about the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
KFCs especially offer up their difficulties for the success of the Ml. They thus become a special core group or vanguard within the movement. Though often unable to actively evangelize because of infirmity, nonetheless KFCs generate untold graces as they link their sufferings with those of Christ. Through the intercession of Mary, they offer up all to the Father as a “sacrifice of praise.”
Supernaturally, KFCs are perhaps the most important members of the MI – a spiritual powerhouse.
How was the KFC Started?
ENVISIONED EARLIER in the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the KFC was founded May 31, 1983. On the feast of Mary’s Visitation, six teenaged and sick Conventual Franciscan friars, all MI members, decided to make use of their ailments and encourage others to do the same.
Sensing a good idea, the friars asked, “Why not harvest the immense reparational potential within the suffering MI community at large?” Thus a spiritual vanguard was formed: individuals no longer isolated or frustrated in sickness or agedness, working in solidarity for the conversion of the entire world. The very first Knight at the Foot of the Cross was Fr. Simeon Kaczmarek, OFM Conv. Bedridden for two years with cancer, Father offered his pain and prayers for the KFC cause while it was still being organized.
Theology of Redemptive Suffering
SACRIFICIAL SUFFERING is a rich Christian faith expression, modeled after Christ himself It is a partial answer to the age-old question, “Why does God allow human suffering?”
The Church has always taught that physical pain, mental distress, even minor annoyances, are not meaningless but are meant to be put to valuable use. As Jesus used the anguish of his Passion and the agony of Calvary to accomplish our salvation, so do our sufferings have supernatural value when joined to His Cross. By willingly accepting our struggles and presenting them back to God as a “burnt offering” for the intentions of others, we cooperate with Christ and become real participators in the mystery of his saving act.
Mary and Maximilian: Models of Reparational Suffering
Mary Immaculate is a special model of reparational suffering. Standing at the Cross in interior distress, her soul “pierced by a sword” (Lk 2:35), she offered all to the Father in a silent, “Thy will be done.” She invites us, and strengthens us, to do the same through our MI consecration as a KFC.
St. Maximilian Kolbe also is a model of reparational suffering. Imprisoned at the Auschwitz death camp, Maximilian “emptied himself” for the Gospel (Phil 2:7). He shared his meager food and water with fellow prisoners while tending to their spiritual needs. He persevered in charity toward his Nazi captors though they singled him out for special brutalities as a Catholic priest. He willingly endured the torture of the starvation bunker by taking the place of another prisoner. In this way, Maximilian became “another Christ,” laying down his life for another.
According to St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian’s holy example has made him a sign and a prophet of the new era, the civilization of love.”
How do I Join the KFC?
IF YOU ARE ALREADY AN MI MEMBER, you can join the KFC by registering at the MI National Center. Simply recite the KFC consecration prayer, then fill out the enrollment form.
Not an MI Member yet?
IF YOU ARE NOT AN MI MEMBER YET, first enroll in the MI and join the KFC, which is an outreach within the MI movement. Please read the following sections on joining the MI.
Am I Ready?
The spirit of the MI is the spirit of continual conversion. Not everyone who enrolls as a member understands perfectly in the beginning the power of this consecration. But when we live in the spirit of willingness and humility, the lmmaculata will elevate our natural gifts and inspire us to holiness and fruitful service within the Church.
As Jesus said to those who would stand up and follow him: “Even greater things than these will you do.”
Why should I join the MI?
Consecrating yourself to Mary through the ideal of St. Maximilian will be one of the most important days of your life. You will be placing yourself under the protective mantle of Mary’s care as the Immaculate Conception, Mother of the Church and Comfort of the Afflicted.
Through total consecration your cooperate with Mary in the work of building up and renewing the Church of the third millennium. She will enlighten your mind, guide your will, empower your efforts and intercede for you in a special way before our Heavenly Father.
You will share in the intercessory prayers of MI religious communities, who pray daily for the MI movement and the sanctification of its members.
You will also have the support that comes from being a part of an international movement of spiritual renewal, including access to MI conferences and materials, and to online resources.
How do I enroll in the MI?
A, Select the date on which you want your name recorded in the official register of the MI, preferably a Marian feast day. Then, send the completed form in the brochure to the MI National Center-USA. You may also enroll online at MilitiaoftheImmaculata.com
B. Prepare yourself for the day of enrollment by daily Mass if possible, the Rosary, spiritual reading and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on or before the day of your enrollment.
C. On the day of your enrollment, recite the official act of consecration. Renounce attachment to sin and if possible attend Mass. (A plenary indulgence is granted by the Church under the usual conditions.) In this way you will be making an effort to remove all obstacles to Our Lady making you her own in the Holy Spirit.
D. Finally, ask Our Lady and St. Maximilian to show you how you can best serve the Lord from this moment on.
Knights at the Foot of the Cross Consecration Prayer
O IMMACULATA, Queen of Heaven and earth, health of the sick, and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. You stood at the foot of the Cross, uniting yourself with the sufferings of Jesus, and so you became for all the Church a model of compassion.
I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my daily sufferings and crosses, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head, and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Through my prayers and sufferings, let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help, to extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, 0 Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies.
Prayer of KFC Consecration Daily Renewal Prayer
IMMACULATA, Mother of the Church, I renew my self-consecration to you as a Knight at the Foot of the Cross. I desire to magnify the Lord with you this day in a special way by offering you my sufferings. Joined with you in faith at the foot of Christ’s Cross, may I ever be an unselfish instrument for the spread of the Militia of the Immaculata movement and the growth of the Church. Amen.
O MARY conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
St. Maximilian: “Martyr of Charity”
St. Maximilian Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. In 1910 he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. As a seminarian in Rome in 1917, he founded the MI movement of Marian consecration after witnessing a profane Freemasons’ demonstration against the Church.
In 1927, Father Maximilian established the first “City of the Immaculata” (Niepokalanów) near Warsaw. There he used the most modern publishing techniques to produce a daily newspaper, a magazine with a monthly circulation of one million, and countless devotional tracts. In 1930, he established another City in Japan and had plans to spread the MI throughout the world.
In 1941, Maximilian was arrested by the Nazi Gestapo and assigned to the Auschwitz concentration camp. After a prisoner escaped, the commandant selected ten men for death by starvation. Father Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a man with a wife and children. Still alive after two weeks in the starvation cell, he was injected with a lethal dose of carbolic acid on August 14, 1941.
St. Maximilian Kolbe was canonized by Pope John Paul II as a “Martyr of Charity” on October 10, 1982. He had dreamed of starting the Knights at the Foot of the Cross, but his untimely death delayed the fulfillment of that dream until after his canonization. St. Maximilian is considered the patron saint of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement, the chemically addicted and those with eating disorders.
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