Records of the United States branch of the Sodality/Christian Life Communities movement, founded to promote social action and devotion to Mary among lay Catholics, including correspondence, reports, and publications.

Related material in The Queen's Work Collection at the Jesuit Archives and Research Center and the Rev. Daniel Lord, S.J., Papers at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Georgetown University.

Gift of the National Christian Life Community of the United States of America, 1993.


Historical Note

Founded in 1563 in Rome as a lay counterpart of the Society of Jesus devoted to apostolic works and spiritual formation, the Sodality of Our Lady (also known as Marian congregations) spread worldwide in the next three centuries. In the United States, a Central Office was established in St. Louis in 1913 to serve and advance the work of the many separate sodalities. The office became known as The Queen’s Work, after the title of its magazine. Under the leadership of Daniel Lord, S.J., a prolific author and public speaker who linked spiritual development with Catholic action, the US movement reached its zenith in the 1920s and 1930s. By the late 1960s, however, increasing lay participation in the leadership of sodalities, together with a felt need for reemphasizing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in keeping with Vatican II’s call for renewal, prompted a restructuring of the movement as the Christian Life Community. (Traditional sodalities remain.) The Christian Life Community-USA is still headquartered in St. Louis. It is governed by an Executive Council and National Coordinating Council. Its base is composed of autonomous small faith-sharing groups.


Scope and Content

Series 1, Central Office (Queen’s Work) Files, 1922-1967, contains correspondence, information, and reports, notably relating to meetings of the various coordinating groups (such as diocesan, college and university, and provincial sodality directors), the different types of sodalities, and the Summer Schools of Catholic Action. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject or type of record.

Series 2, National Federation of Sodalities Files, 1957-1969, consists of records of a coordinating body. It is arranged alphabetically by subject or type of record.

Series 3, CLC-USA Governance Files, 1968-2012, undated, contains records of the board of directors, commissions, committees, and other administrative bodies, arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 4, CLC-USA Subject Files, 1968-2014, contains general background information, including histories and news clippings, and files on related groups, such as the World Christian Life Community. There are several folders on abortion and other issues of concern to the CLC. The series is arranged in alphabetical order by subject or type of record.

Series 5, CLC-USA General Correspondence Files, 1967-2011, includes letters from presidents and other leaders of the organization. The series is foldered alphabetically by name of the correspondent.

Series 6, CLC-USA National Assembly/Convention Fies, 1969-1999, documents the biennial membership meetings.

Series 7, CLC-USA Regions Files, 1974-2009, documents the organization's regions. It is arranged alphabetically.

Series 8.1, General Publications, 1929-2008, undated, contains booklets and pamphlets issued by The Queen’s Work and CLC-USA, filed in chronological order.

Series 8.2, Periodicals, 1914-2012, contains runs of magazines and newsletters issued by The Queen’s Work and CLC-USA, filed in chronological order by date of the first issue.