Observantia SS. Cordis Iesu et Mariae

About the Order of the Knights of Our Lady

Militia Sanctae Mariae

Knights of Our Lady
The Church and Christendom
In order to promote Christendom, i.e. the social and political reign of Our Lord, Holy Mother Church has established two main institutions. First of all, the royal or imperial coronation (anointing the emperor or the king), a sacramental which gives a participation in the Kingship of Christ and graces in order to fulfil the corresponding mission. However, faced with the lack of central power after Charlemagne’s death, and resulting social chaos, the Church reminded princes, barons and knights that they had, at their own level, the same mission and duties as the emperor or the king. Consequently, She christianised the rite of military dubbing and added to it a liturgical version (IXth century) today known as the Roman Pontifical’s Benedictio Novi Militis and modelled on the coronation rite. It is also a sacramental conferred by a bishop, and thus gives an official mission and the necessary graces. It is mainly thanks to these institutions that Christendom reached its full development. However, in order to defend and protect this flourishing Christendom and Christian civilisation, the Church also founded two other institutions: the Crusades, with the temporary vow of the Cross, and the Military Orders, or Orders of Chivalry, permanent by nature, with religious vows for religious knights and private vows for secular knights. So, how could the social and political reign of Christ be restored today? Probably through the institutions the Church has established for that very purpose. By definition, they are the best means to reach the goals they were given: they are excellent, perennial and universal, i.e. good for all times and everywhere.

The Order of the Knights of Our Lady

It is upon two of these institutions (the liturgical dubbing and orders of knighthood) that the Order of the Knights of Our Lady (OKOL) was founded in 1945 in France, where it was canonically established, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Portugal and <>Spain. The Order nevertheless suffered a break-up after Vatican II. Finally some faithful members founded a knightly brotherhood (FCCS) in 1970, whose new knights were all dubbed by  archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. That same year a few knights, who had purchased Ecône, had given it to him in order to open a seminary. In 1989, a traditional branch of the Order was formed, based on its original Rule, and its Constitutions were approved by the Canonical Commission of the Society of St. Pius X presided by H. Exc. Bernard Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. Of course, one does not join the Order as one would join an association. The postulant is received as a squire after a minimum formation of 6 months. After another 2 years, he can make his temporary profession as donate for a 2-year period that is indefinitely renewable. Then, at the call of the Master in Council, he may be admitted to final profession and to dubbing. He receives the white mantle after taking the three private vows of Conversion of life (new life according to the Rule), Fidelity to the Order (obedience within the limits of this Rule and fraternal mutual aid), and Defence of the Church (similar to the vow of Crusade, to defend the Church and Christendom, even at the peril of one’s life). The next day, after the all-night vigil of arms and the Bishop’s Mass, the pontiff girds him with the sword.

The Order Today
The knights pledge to recite the Little Office of the Our Lady and the entire Rosary every week, to set aside a certain time for daily mental prayer, to go on a yearly retreat, to continue their doctrinal and spiritual education, to train physically, to attend the monthly chapters of their local commandery, and to participate in the struggles of the Order for the reign of Christ the King. The wives and daughters of members can also be admitted. Young pages and cadets may be prepared to knighthood and remain all their life in the Order, without having to change orientation or spirituality. Today, the Order has members in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. The knightly vocation certainly is the vocation par excellence for laymen. Archbishop Lefebvre solemnly called upon them during the Jubilee of his priesthood in 1979 when he said: “We must make a Crusade... in order to restore Christendom, as the Church desires it to be... with the same principles… You must act… You should organise yourselves...”