Crusaders of St. Mary
Founded: 1947 in Madrid, Spain; approved as a secular institute of diocesan right, 1988.
Purpose: To focus on the formation of young people toward integrating the spiritual with the secular through application of Ignatian spiritual exercises with Marian devotion.
Biography of the Founder:
Fr. Tomás Morales was born in Macuto, Venezuela on October 30, 1908. He studied at the school of the Jesuit Fathers in Chamartin (Madrid) and later, Law in the Central University of Madrid,coming first in his class. He actively lived the reality of university life at that time as President of the Catholic Students. He did his doctorate in Bologna, Italy, receiving the Victor Manuel II award. At the age of 23 he entered the Company of Jesus in Chevetogne, Belgium and was ordained on May 13, 1942.
In 1946, he returned to Madrid, where he began an intensive apostolate among workers. With them he founded the Home of the Worker, an apostolic movement of great vitality, which set in motion a number of social projects.
His fundamental vocation, where he put all his energies and his radical capacity for dedication, was working to reach the fully responsible incorporation of the laity into the evangelical mission of the Church. A fruit of his labor in this field was his most important work: the foundation of the Secular Institutes of the Crusade of Mary; the movement for married couples, Homes of Mary; and the apostolic youth movement, Militia of Mary. His experiences and educative approaches appear clearly in his books: Forge of Men - concrete points to direct the formation of apostles and movements of committed laity -, Laity on the Move - a series of encouraging principles to promote the apostolic action of the laity-, Hour of the Laity, reflections on the potential strength of the laity and on the greatness of the lay Christian vocation consecrated in Baptism.
Lately, as well as other spiritual writings, intended for the members of the institutes that he founded, he wrote Sketches of Witnesses to Christ for Modern Times, the lives of relevant saints, collected in twelve volumes, one for each month of the year.
God granted him a rich variety of human, moral and spiritual qualities; a very firm will; bravery and freedom; a capacity for hard work; intellectual capabilities and a great sensitivity; love for the individual man and for nature. Intrepid, in the beginning he took on the works founded on the supernatural virtues of faith, love of the Pope, of the Church, of Our lady, of prayer. From here sprung his appreciation and links with contemplative orders, especially with the Carmelites, and the notable number of vocations to this form of life which the Holy Spirit raised up through him.
His life has been a full and intense one, a life of total commitment to increasing and untiring apostolic work. Now, still present in another form, let us be more sensitive to his ideas and teachings, especially those of us who have seen his example.