Anonymous – A Decent Irish Boy’s Testimony

Come Holy Spirit!
I write this to help, not to hinder.


I was a novice in Dublin in 1980, the year I left High School. The candidates’ program was my first experience of the Legion. All seemed fine to me at 18 years of age, though I was annoyed that letters in and out were opened by the Superiors; also that the first we heard of this was when we were at breakfast and received our mail opened, with no real explanation. Likewise, when we handed away our watch one day, we were just asked there and then to hand it over immediately.

One candidate did start to ask questions and he went to a diocesan seminary instead. This decision was reacted to very badly, as if he were doing something seriously wrong. Indeed, looking back it seems as if gradually all our friends and family came to be seen as a bad influence, a temptation, a problem. We were told we would not see them much for any family reunions. I think we got three days at home after taking our vows, very short time indeed. I was told to make sure that my father left half the family business to me. Even I knew that was not normal. However, as I had just taken vows I thought it best to obey.

I had my doubts about the Legion as it seemed so very strict. We were told that all sections worked in the same way and specifically that corporal penance was banned. I mean thediscipline, that little whip, also the spiked chains. So I was both surprised and annoyed to find both were used in Salamanca. Also I objected aloud to the novices who used to eat their meal kneeling down. I was depressed, and, as much of my mail was withheld, I felt very isolated. Also I was sick and got no doctor.

Finally, one morning I looked in the mirror and realized I had lost my identity. I could remember my mother’s face but I could no longer picture my father’s face. (Photos, of course, were not allowed.) I decided there and then to leave, while I still retained some sanity. I do acknowledge that I was allowed to leave immediately. However, I did ask for help to apply to a diocesan seminary and the Legion did not assist me.

I thank God for all graces and I wish the Legion well. I know the law of the Church was broken in that we had no access to any outside priest for spiritual direction and Confession. Also I can confirm that one Superior there thought that nudity could be a helpful aid to chastity. I do not really understand that idea, and I do not wish to discuss it. I mention it now, only to confirm the testimony of others who suffered.

I still don’t like to look back. I study cults now to know and understand more.


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