The M.S.M. was founded in France in 1945 by a young layman who subsequently became a Benedictine monk and is now the former Abbot of Wisques, near St. Omer. The aim of the founder was to create a new chivalry suitable for our times, regular and militant, adapted to the needs of the modem world, devoted to Mary, dedicated to the service of the Church and our neighbours, with a view to "enlarging on earth the frontiers of the Kingdom of God". (Léon Gautier: 'Chivalry')
The M.S.M. was canonically established as a confraternity in the crypt of Notre Dame de Sous-Terre at Chartres Cathedral by Mgr. Roger Michon, Bishop of Chartres, on 24th December 1964. It was similarly established in Germany by Mgr. Graber, Bishop of Regensburg, in 1968, in Switzerland by Mgr. Adam, Bishop of Sion, in 1969, in Portugal by Mgr. da Silva, Archbishop of Braga, in 1975, and in Spain by Mgr. del Val, Bishop of Santander, in 1984. There are members in a number of other countries, including Canada.
Membership is in two categories: observantia (men who are squires and knights) and familia (servants, men and women, spouses and sisters, together with spiritual supporters).
In Britain the first contact was made in 1968 when Martin Blake met some French knights at the Lausanne Congress. He joined in 1969 and was dubbed a knight in Chartres Cathedral by Mgr. Michon in 1975. Since then the GB Preceptory has expanded and now numbers nearly ten members, living in different parts of the country, with a greater number of associates.
The Holy See only recognises two Orders of Chivalry, namely the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. The M.S.M., being neither ancient nor honorific, does not claim to be an order of chivalry in that sense, but is a regular and militant company of men (young and old, married and unmarried) who are dubbed according to the mediaeval rite of the Church: 'Benedictio Novi Militis'
It may be considered as a outcome of the Vatican II Decree 'Apostolicam
Actuositatem' on the Apostolate of the Laity which, after the Gospel and the Rule, is its fundamental charter; see Chapter 2, sections 5,6,7 and 8.
While promoting a profound spiritual and liturgical life among its members, it vigorously defends fidelity and obedience to the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff. Furthermore it supports whatever activities the Holy Spirit inspires: the right to life, aid to prisoners and the developing world, the christianising of political and social structures, the retreat movement, the Catholic renewal of the family, ecumenical dialogue and so on.
FURTHER INFORMATION can be obtained from:
Stephen de la Bedoyere (Preceptor) in London:
Information about Events involving the Knights can be seen here ...
A selection of pictures illustrating the activities of the Knights of Our Lady, can be seen on the following pages:
The address of the Knights of our Lady in France is:
La Commanderie de L'Immaculee, Montireau, F-28240, Chartres.
The web sites associated with the MSM are:
http://fda.etudesfda.com/ (French Brothers of arms - Novices)
http://msm-prieure-de-france.fr/ (French, news etc)