An archconfraternity under the name of the Mother of God, founded in 1264 at St. Mary Major in Rome by 12 noblemen, or standard-bearers (gonfalonieri ), as the Compagnia de' Raccomandati di Madonna S. Maria. It undertook the ransom of the Christian captives of the Saracens. Until forbidden by paul iii in 1549, it presented a dramatization of the Passion of Christ during Holy Week in the Colisseum. In 1588, sixtus v made it a kind of third order. Today it exists under the name Arciconfraternita del Gonfalone at S. Lucia del Gonfalone. The garb is a white habit with a red cross on the right shoulder. Its works now include marriage counseling, caring for the sick, and attending funerals. Similar confraternities, affiliated with the one at Rome, exist throughout the world, especially in France.
Bibliography: m. noirot, Catholicisme 5:99. r. hindringer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, j. hofer and k. rahner, eds. (Freiburg 1957–65) 4:1050.
[j. f. jolley]