This is one of a thirty part exposé on the Children of the Legion. This group of women, then girls, in the Regnum Christi, share their stories of abuse, neglect and the aftermath of being children in the Regnum Christi. For a complete list of stories to date, view Children of the Legion.
I was at the PC 2000-2004 (9th-12th), was a co-worker 2004-2005 in Atlanta and then stayed very, very involved in RC until two years ago. I look back on my time in the PC with mixed feelings. I met my very best friends there, people I still consider my dearest friends and who I think I will always be in touch with in life. I loved Rhode Island and do feel the academics of the PC were quite good. Interestingly, my happiest memories are those brief moments when I allowed myself to break away for a few moments from the rigidity of my normal life and “rebel” against the norms.
The things I struggle with most are more broad RC issues, such as the sickening feeling of listening to MM and all the countless talks, tapes, letters, etc. that focused on him. We meditated on his life . . . ugh! As much as I hate it, I don’t trust priests or the Church hierarchy hardly at all (although I am still a practicing Catholic). I constantly feel I will find out that my family, friends, etc. will turn out to be a giant hoax because of how I found out the Movement was after so much dedication to it. Why did MM and those in LC/RC who knew invest in me (all of us) during my PC, coworker and section time . . . since it wasn’t for the glory of God what was it? Power? The breadth and depth of this hoax blows my mind. It influenced thousands of people all over the world – powerful people and humble, regular people were all preyed on.
I spent some time in the 3df center in Rome in 2006 and there was this “secret wing”. I was there doing a project and was told not to ask anyone else what they were doing and never to go into the other rooms. What the heck was going on there? This has always bothered me . . . anyone know? When I was the director’s helper at the PC, I had to shred tons of documents from many years of the PC – I read some of them and was bothered at the time how PCs were reported on, but justified it at the time as “for the kingdom”. I wonder how many of the LC’s and 3df I came into contact with actually knew the truth of MM (and others). I am 100% sure the majority of the formators in the PC had absolutely no idea . . . mainly because so many have left the 3df.
I had frequent pneumonia and struggled with anorexia (though not as bad as some) while in the PC. I was pretty demanding about getting medical attention so it was not withheld but do think all this was brought on by extreme stress. I remember not knowing if I had a vocation or not, but feeling extremely guilty of ever thinking, much less talking, about doing anything else with my life.
Something that irks me is the way “charity” was misused. A false charity was preached by MM and trickled down to us. It is so disturbing to know that we were manipulated by charity. No particular friendships, no form of criticism, silence, etc. (I could go on and on) that was supposedly charity was a way for us to be completely unquestioning to RC and ultimately MM.
After I left PC I always felt guilty about doing anything I enjoyed or was relaxing. I felt like I was going to hell for wasting time. I was afraid to spend time or effort to make myself look attractive or I might become too worldly. I sought approval for everything from the RC section directress – even though I was a “civilian” normal person in college. It took another ex-PC and my dear friend to teach me how to enjoy life and find some sort of balance. I will always be grateful to her and for the 4 years we were roommates in Atlanta. Thoughts still creep into my mind that I am a “bad person” for not living with the rigidity as I did as a PC, maybe that is something that will remain in my psyche forever. I still feel horrible about turning against my dad because he didn’t “support my vocation”, those are years I will never get back. I hardly spoke to him the entire 4 years. My mom is only now beginning to see me as an adult since I left home (never returned) at 13.
Thankfully, I am blessed with a wonderful husband, beautiful baby and overall great life – but the RC chapter of my life will always be bittersweet and has deeply changed who I am.
This story is a testimony from the 49 Weeks Blog. You can see this and more stories by visiting 49 Weeks.