Frank Duff was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 7, 1889. He was the eldest of seven,
two of whom died as children. He attended both Belvedere and Blackrock Colleges
and was a gifted student. However due to his father’s premature illness, money was
in short supply and a university education was no longer an option.
Frank entered the Civil Service at the age of 18. At 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 under-
In 1917 he found a second-hand copy of
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by
St Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, the
contents of which he found difficult to come
to terms with at first. In 1919 he went to
Mount Melleray Cistercian Abbey and read a
book entitled The Knowledge of Mary by Fr.
de Consilio, that opened up a new world for
him. It gave him a theological knowledge of
Our Lady which was assumed in St Louis de
Along with a group of Catholic women and Fr. Michael Toher, Dublin Archdiocese, he
formed 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