In May, 1935, St Catherine Laboure received a revelation from the Blessed Virgin Mary during a series of apparitions while at the Convent Rue du Bac, Paris.
“It is the Blessed Virgin’s wish that you should found a Confraternity of the Children of Mary. She will give them many graces. The month of May will be kept with great splendour and Mary will bestow abundant blessings upon them.”
The Children of Mary Sodalities first embraced the pupils and orphans of the schools and institutions of the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. In 1847, Blessed Pius IX affiliated them to Jesuit Roman Sodality.
At Sacred Heart Boarding School on July 1867, six students were first received into ‘The Congregation of the Children of Mary’. They were identified by the wearing of the Miraculous Medal and the blue ribbon from which it hung.
Later students would make and wear cloaks of blue, with a white veil and a scapular. Admission to the Sodality was not automatic and aspirants waited 6 months before acceptance.
Admission was based on ‘reward for exemplary conduct’ and having already received first Holy Communion. Apart from daily Mass, the Children of Mary had ‘further privilege of daily Communion.’
On leaving school a Child of Mary would go to the Oratory. Kneeling before the statue of our Immaculate Mother, she ‘promised with the help of her protection never to contract marriage with a non-Catholic. And she usually kept that promise, thanks to her own goodwill and the protection of Divine Providence.’
When a Child of Mary married, she would be greeted at the Chapel doors by her fellow Children of Mary who would remove her blue cloak, over her wedding gown.
As a result of Vatican II, the Children of Mary Sodality was perceived to be outmoded and less relevant. With a renewed focus on modern teachings, Sacred Heart College followed the world-wide trend and established a Legion of Mary Congregation for the students.
Children of Mary in the Chapel, 1961
Children of Mary with Father O'Reagan, Grotto, 1950