The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded at Rome, Italy in the Roman College of the Society of Jesus in 1563 by John Leunis, for personal perfection in virtue and study, and works of charity and zeal for souls. In 1569 the older members formed a separate sodality with the title Primary Sodality (Prima-Primaria) of the Annunciation. This sodality receives persons of both sexes, every age, and every walk in life, and has branches throughout the world.