The Beginning of Magnificat
Magnificat was begun by a group of Catholic women from the Archdiocese of New Orleans who observed a need among Catholic women for a faith-sharing experience in a relaxed social setting. With the encouragement of Archbishop Philip M. Hannan and Bishop Stanley J. Ott, then Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, its first function, a prayer breakfast, took place on October 7, 1981.
Magnificat is a private association of the Christian faithful, whose statutes were originally approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and are in accord with the norm of Canon 305.2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. While Magnificat began under the auspices of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and was first incorporated in the State of Louisiana, each local chapter functions with permission of the local ordinary and is incorporated in its respective state. It was born out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and has been nurtured by it.
Magnificat (pronounced Mag-níf-e-cot) is the verb in the Latin phrase, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum” – “My soul magnifies the Lord.” These words recorded in Luke 1:46 are the beginning of Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s joyful greeting. The entire scene of the Visitation is the inspiration for this ministry, which adopts the name of Mary’s hymn of praise and the spirit of this biblical encounter as its own. Following the example of Mary and Elizabeth, this woman-to-woman ministry within the Roman Catholic Church attempts to generate a lively faith in God and His action in our lives along with a love for Mary and the Church.