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Talks on Br Duff Writings by Frank Duff Slide Show Cause Favours

Powerpoint: The above slide show is available here as Powerpoint Presentation.

The Servant of God Frank Duff

Frank Duff "Frank Duff was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 7, 1889. He entered the Civil Service at the age of 18 and had a distinguished career. His free time he at first dedicated to sporting activities, but at the age of 24 he joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul where he was led to a deeper commitment to his Catholic faith and at the same time he acquired a great sensitivity to the needs of the poor and underprivileged. Along with a group of Catholic women and Fr. Michael Toher, a priest of the Dublin Archdiocese, he formed the first branch of what was to become the first praesidium of the Legion of Mary on September 7, 1921. From that date until his death, November 7, 1980, he guided the world-wide extension of the Legion with heroic dedication. He attended the Second Vatican Council as a lay observer. He died on the evening of November 7, 1980 aged 91 years. His Cause for Beatification was introduced by His Eminence Desmond Cardinal Connell, the then Archbishop of Dublin, in June 1996. His profound insights into the role of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the plan of Redemption, and the role of the lay faithful in the mission of the Church, are reflected in this Handbook which is almost entirely his composition." (Handbook page 6)

Frank Duff serving the Church

Frank Duff was born on the 7th of June 1889. He started the Legion of Mary on Wednesday the 7th of September 1921 and he died on the 7th of November 1980 after a long life of hard work and devotion to Jesus through Mary His Mother. Perhaps the recurring 7 in his life is just a coincidence and means nothing but when we look at the religious symbolism of the number 7 we see that perhaps it was very relevant to Frank Duff and his mission in life. Scripture scholars say that when Jesus performed the miracle of the Bread for the 4 thousand that the 7 baskets left over symbolised that Jesus is the Bread of Life for the whole world and likewise the Legion of Mary is a worldwide organisation. People who knew Frank say he was very gifted with the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. According to some people who knew him the Holy Spirit inspired his every word. Even though the organisation is called the Legion of Mary all new active Legionaries make their Promise to the Holy Spirit! Frank was a great servant of the Church and her 7 Sacraments because the Legion brought people back to the Church's sacraments and is a cradle for vocations to the Religious life. Many people who knew him say that he practised the 7 virtues to a heroic degree. Perhaps it was providential also that Frank started the Legion of Mary in the month of September because September was the 7th month of the old Roman Empire and Frank would later base the structure and terminology of the Legion of Mary on the Roman Legion army. And as the Roman Legion had once conquered the world Frank hoped that Mary's Legion would conquer the world for Christ.

Frank Duff and the Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart of JesusFrank Duff died on his bed in front of this picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In his wonderful book about Frank Duff Fr Robert Bradshaw said that Frank Duff had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus but he had difficulty at first becoming a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association because it meant wearing the badge which has a picture in the center of the Sacred Heart. Frank did not like wearing his religion in public. But feeling that he was denying Our Lord he became a member and went even further by having a special Pioneer badge made for himself which would make the picture of the Sacred Heart more visible. Later Frank helped Joe Gabbett set up the Catholic Breakfast center for the poor in Whitefriars Street because Protestant Proselytizing Centers were obliging the poor to listen to a Protestant service in order to obtain a Breakfast. Frank was very impressed by the big picture of the Sacred Heart that Joe Gabbett had overseeing their breakfast center. Frank made promotion of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus a part of the Legion Apostolate. Frank took to heart the words of Our Lord to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque "My Heart is so inflamed with Love for men that it is no longer able to keep within itself the flames of its burning Love. It must make itself known unto men in order to enrich them with the treasures it contains" and on another occasion Jesus told her "Behold this Heart which has loved men so much and yet is so little loved in return". And later when Frank joined the Secular Franciscan Order he probably really absorbed Saint Francis weeping lament about Jesus when he said "Love is not loved". Frank would spend his life trying to make Love loved by as many people as possible and to make them realise that Love loved them. To this end he would try to have Legionaries get the picture of the Sacred Heart enthroned in the homes they visited. He also encouraged Legionaries to use and explain the Miraculous Medal to their contacts which also has a picture of the Sacred heart on the back. Frank probably understood Jesus' words when He said "I have come to set fire to the earth and how I wish it was burning already" (Lk 12:49) to mean that Jesus wanted everyone to know about the fire burning in His Sacred Heart for mankind so that all mankind would be burning with love for God. It is no coincidence that Frank Duff was born and died on the First Friday of the month. He had a mission to fulfill for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Frank had great faith in the Mercy and love of Jesus for mankind, he wrote the following prayer:

"O Lord, all hearts are in Your Hand
You can bend as it pleases You the most
obdurate and soften the most hardened.
Do that honour this night through the Blood,
merits, wounds, names and inflamed Hearts
of Your Beloved Son and His Most Holy Mother by
granting the conversion of the whole world.
Nothing less My God, Nothing less because of Mary
Thy Mother and because of Thy might and Thy Mercy"

Frank Duff served Our Lady

Our Lady the Morning Star It was before a picture of Our Lady the Morning Star that Frank got the inspiration to call the new organisation the Legion of Mary. In the painting Our lady appears as the guiding star to voyagers on the stormy seas of life. She is the guiding star to show us the way to Jesus who is the Rising Sun. Frank Duff loved this title of Our Lady so much that he put the Hostel for homeless men under the patronage of this title of Our Lady. And indeed the Hostel has been and continues to be a beacon of light and hope to residents and legionaries alike. Our Lady's arms are open in the statue on the pillar at the hostel entrance in a gesture of welcome to all who enter.

Frank Duff and Lough Derg

Lough Derg St Patricks Purgatory Frank Duff went to Lough Derg 49 times and he would have loved to go for the 50th time to celebrate a jubilee pilgrimage but his doctor told him not to go so he obeyed his doctor even though he was very disappointed. Lough Derg is a little island place of voluntary pilgrimage in Donegal in the northern part of Ireland and it is a tough pilgrimage but a very worthwhile one. Pilgrimages are three days long during the summer season and in more recent years a one day long pilgrimage before and after the summer season is available. Lough Derg is a place of prayer and penance. Pilgrims take off their shoes shortly after they arrive on the island and can put them back on just before they leave the island 2 days later. Pilgrims fast from midnight before arriving and can eat only one Lough Derg meal on the first two days and one less restrctive Lough Derg meal on the 3rd day after they leave the island. A Lough Derg meal is black tea, coffee or just water and dry toast and/or dry oatcakes. You can eat as much as you like in the one meal so nobody starves! Pilgrims do an all night vigil together in the Basilica on the first night. Pilgrims can only put their shoes back on the morning of the third day having completed their 9 stations before leaving the island. Pilgrims do three stations on the first day and then during the all night vigil they do four stations together in the Basilica and one station each on the second and third day.

Lough Derg

Lough Derg St Patricks Purgatory A station consists of small combinations of mainly the "Our Father", the "Hail Mary" and the "Glory be" said while alternatively walking around and kneeling in five penitential beds! The beds are actually the remains of ancient small monastic single man cells which are encircled and connected to each other by stone pavements. Each station can take about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the person doing it! There is no rush on the island because there is no tv, radio, internet etc! It is an oppurtunity to free oneslf from the world for about three days. There are great graces available in this pilgrimage if the prayers and penance are united to the prayers and sufferings of Christ. Frank Duff must have realised that and no doubt must have included the spread of the Legion of Mary as the main intention (through Mary) of his many pilgrimages. This pilgrimage has being going on for several hundred years and is believed to have started with Saint Patrick himself back in the fifth century. It really must have brought down countless blessings on our dear country through all the centuries of toil and trouble in Ireland. Perhaps the Peace in the North of Ireland was granted mainly because of all the Northern Catholics who did the Lough Derg pilgrimage. God in His mercy grants great graces for prayer, fasting and when people offer up little penances. After all we have kept the faith and are still a Catholic Country.

Keep the Faith

Frank Duff once said that we have kept the faith but the problem is that we have kept it to ourselves! He wanted everyone to be truly Catholic by being truly apostolic because the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic but the graces for all apostolic work have to be bought with prayer and sacrifices.

Frank Duff wrote many little leaflets and a few books as well and many people believe that he could be someday declared not only a Saint but also a Doctor of the Church. Many of those who knew him say that he was a very unassuming and humble person and that he had great faith in God and he wanted everyone to try and be holy. His writings and especially the Legion of Mary handbook are full of insights and wisdom. Please check the literature page on this site if you are interested in learning more about this great man.

The Sprockets!

Br Duff used to go on a cycling holliday with friends for many years right up until the end of his life, in fact he was due to go on a cycling trip the day after he died. This group of adventurers became known as "The Sprockets!" Mary McAndrew who went on the trips every year from 1962 to 1979 used to do a humorous coloured drawing which gives us some idea where the adventurers went and some of the people they met en route! This video plays many of them but you need to have your mouse over the pause button in order to take time to read them! There are many more picture-cards which will be uploaded as soon as possible.

The Sprockets!

Thus the call of the Legion is for a service without limit or reservations. This is not entirely a counsel of perfection, but of necessity as well, for if excellence is not aimed at, a persevering membership will not be achieved. A lifelong perseverance in the work of the apostolate is in itself heroic, and will only be found as the culmination of a continuous series of heroic acts, as indeed it is their reward. (Handbook Chapter 4 Legionary Service Section 5: Must “finish the race” (2 Tim 4:7))

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