The Incest of Our Father – Part I

This multi-part exposé is a journey into the mind ofJuan J. Vaca, a child and victim of abuse, deception, evil and lies. These excerpts are from an original letter to Maciel begging him to stop the lies. Translated from the original Castillian.


To: Marcial Maciel, L.C.
Superior General of the Legionnaires of Christ
Via Aurelia Nuova, 677
Rome, Italy

Dear Father Maciel:

I will begin this letter by giving you my most sincere thank you for sending me a photocopy of my Rescript of Laicization and for the included letter. However, I must inform you that I did not receive it until last week, on October 12 to be exact. Continue reading

Bad Fruits of the Legion of Christ

The mission of ReGAIN, which emerged in the 1990s, is toa as outreach, unite, and support those touched or adversely affected by the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement. Past and present members and all those who quest for justice and truth, resolution, and healing are invited to join in this endeavor.

In the light of Vatican investigations and revelations regarding the double criminal life of founder Fr. Marcial Maciel, ReGAIN is no longer a lone voice crying in the wilderness. ReGAIN’s suppressed exlegionaries.com discussion board has been replaced in the past few years by a new, vibrant, well-informed, and interactive blog that keeps the public informed: http://www.life-after-rc.com Other Web pages in Spanish also monitor the Legion: http://avlcrc.blogspot.com and http://blogs.21rs.es/trastevere I recognize that there are “good fruits” associated with the Legion, or, to be more precise, the people within the Legion. My focus in this paper, however, is on the “bad fruits,” that which Church authorities diminished, denied, or disbelieved for so many years. Fr. Maciel’s Accomplices Of course, the first really bad apple was the founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel.[1] Researchers of the Legion also wonder how Maciel could have lived such a corrupt lifestyle for so long without help from others. Maciel was a master of deceit and control, surrounded by a circle of sexual victims and procurers. Another circle of collaborators helped him deceive everyone and stay in power for six decades. Continue reading

A.L. – Overcoming Sexual Abuse at the hands of a Legionary Priest

My name is A.L. I was born on the 13 of April, 1977, in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, diocese of Down and Connor.

GROOMING
I first met a vocational director from the Legion of Christ in September 1990. I was 13 years old. Having visited the Novitiate many times, including a six- week stay in ‘92 before, on the 15th of September ‘93 I received the cassock or ‘Legionary uniform’. I began to live the vows Chastity, Obedience, Poverty according to the Constitutions of the Legion of Christ with a view to my religious profess. I was also apprised of the ‘private’ Legionary vows not to criticize Superiors or to seek positions of authority within the Congregation. Thus prepared, I entered the Novitiate of the Legion of Christ, Leopardstown Rd., Dublin 18, at sixteen years of age.

My first Novice Master was a middle-aged Irish Legionary with whom I never had any problems. As is the Legion tradition, he was assigned to me as my Spiritual Director and Confessor. The following year, September 1994, he was replaced by the then deacon, ‘Father’ Eoghan [Gaelic version, pronounced ‘Owen’] Devlin, LC, and transferred to Mexico. With several other Novices, I went to Eoghan Devlin’s ordination in Mexico City in November 1994. He was duly appointed my Confessor and Spiritual Director.

I wanted to take my Religious Vows and the Private Vows of the Legion of Christ within a year, at the end of my two-year Novitiate. Under the guise of preparing me for this Fr. Devlin frequently probed me with personal questions of a sexual nature in spiritual direction.

He wanted to know about any “sexual experiences” I had as a child. He asked me about my brothers and sisters, other family and my friends, inquiring if I had seen any of them naked. He questioned me about any “sexual games” I might have played as a child. He inquired whether I had any sexual fantasies, and their content. He wanted to know to what extent I was “sexually aware”.

It was his duty to know this, as he was recommending me as a suitable candidate for religious life, and I answered his questions as openly and honestly as possible. Although I found them to be intrusive and uncomfortable. Besides, I had nothing to hide.

I did tell him, though, that I thought that I was attracted to men. He responded that homosexuality does not exist; that I oughtn’t to worry about it because I was in an all-male environment; that I was attracted to the more feminine qualities of other men around me, due to the lack of women to be attracted to. He assured me that when I was on the apostolate, and in “the world” this would no longer be the case.

I neither agreed nor disagreed with him, but decided that whatever the case, chastity was the same for all who desired to offer it to God. I also calmed my conscience knowing I wasn’t attracted to anyone in particular, male or female, and experienced no real obstacle to the living out chastity. In fact I saw chastity as a beautiful gift to God, and an expression of intimacy with Him.

Fr. Eoghan told me in Spiritual Direction that he noticed I had a “disorderly affection” towards another novice. I did not know exactly what he meant by that, and I was confused as to why he thought so. He asked me if in times of conversation I sought out the other Brother to talk to him, in preference to others. He asked me if I looked for this brother’s company and preferred his company. He stated I had a “crush” on that brother and encouraged me to confess this sin against chastity to him [Fr. Eoghan] anytime it manifested itself.

Individual, or “particular” friendships, are not permitted in the Legion. This particular novice, on whom I apparently had a crush, was a friendly and intelligent man. I found him to be good company and would describe my feelings towards him as those of friendship and appreciation. I liked him. I never had any sexual thoughts, desires or urges towards him. Nevertheless, I found myself continuously examining my conscience and questioning my “purity of intention”. second-guessing myself regarding why I was talking with him whenever I spoke to him. So I kept contact with him to a minimum, scared of ‘sinning’ if I laughed at his jokes. “Did others laugh? Was it just me, my disorderly affection?” I found it very hard to qualify this ‘sin’ against purity and confessed anything I thought might be ‘inappropriate’ or exclusive and thus contrary to ‘Legionary universal brotherly charity’. I constantly reflected on my purity of intention with the other novices, with my family and with my superiors, trying to avoid any disorderly affections.

One night, Fr. Eoghan entered my room after night prayers. I was in bed, but not yet asleep. He inquired whether I was ok. I told him that I was. He asked me if I was wearing any underwear under my pajamas. I said I was wearing underpants. He said it wasn’t normal for someone to wear underwear in bed, under pajamas. He instructed me not to do so in the future .

ABUSING
Fr. Eoghan and I spent many hours each week talking about chastity and he reinforced my efforts for purity. I kept a written correspondence with him almost daily, informing him of my day’s progress. He often gave me special chores to do for him, to “keep my mind busy”. I frequently accompanied him when he went outside the Novitiate. He made me his secretary and also appointed me community nurse ‘infirmarian’. He put me in charge of a large project of his redesigning the novitiate gardens.

One day in the spring of 1995 he was in bed ill. The Assistant to the Novice Instructor, another Irish LC Brother, asked me to help him bring lunch to Fr. Eoghan. I did so, and Fr. Eoghan thanked me. (I’m not exactly sure of when this was. I seem to think it was early in the month of May, as we spent that month working in the gardens and the weather seemed nice; in which case I had just turned 18. I know it was definitely before June. Indeed it may have been before my 18th birthday, as we also had some workdays in March and April.)

In the constitutions of the Legion of Christ, a legionary may not enter the bedroom of another legionary unless they are accompanied by a third person. That was why both the other Brother and I brought Fr. Eoghan lunch.

That night, after we were all asleep, Fr. Eoghan came to my room in his pajamas and woke me up. In the novitiate we were not allowed to close our bedroom doors except when we were getting changed.
He asked me to go with him. He seemed so urgent that I didn’t have time to put on my dressing gown, and I had to run to catch up with him as he went to his room. As is customary in the Legion, we all keep Absolute Silence after night prayers until after morning Mass the following day. Absolute Silence means not only not being allowed to speak, but also trying to make the least possible noise (closing doors very quietly, etc., and avoiding communication with others.

Fr. Eoghan lay on his bed and said he had very severe cramps in his stomach. He unbuttoned his pajama top and told me to kneel down. He poured oil onto his stomach and asked me to massage him. I had never done anything like this before, and he took both my hands and showed me how, placing my hands where his navel was and asking me to press down hard, massaging in a circular motion. He began to breathe deeply. Very soon he unbuttoned his pajama bottom and poured more oil. He asked me to “do it deeper” . I thought he meant harder, but he meant lower down. His penis was erect and I was embarrassed. I started to massage in the area between his navel and the pubic region. He took my hands and put them into his crotch. And I massaged him there. He asked me to do so more vigorously. I was shocked and confused, and I didn’t really know what was happening. I can remember my hands in his pubic hair, wet from the massage cream. I closed my eyes and prayed. His penis was erect and uncovered the whole time. It was wet and dripping.

I can remember clearly the thoughts running through my head:

1. Why were we alone? Where was the third person present that the Constitutions required? I answered to myself that it would be too embarrassing for anyone else to witness. One (1) was enough.

2. Why wasn’t his superior (the Rector, Fr. Eugene Gormley, L.C.) helping him then? Or even his assistant, Br. Patrick Conlon? If in need in the Legion, we asked our superiors for help or permissions, not our equals or subordinates.

3. What horrible illness was this for a priest? I thought his cramps were a terrible affliction, now he had just been ordained. It also entered my mind that he wanted me to masturbate him because he was a priest and I wasn’t, and he couldn’t control this illness. Therefore if I did it, if I brought him to release, the sin would be mine, not his: as such, the lesser of two evils. Nevertheless, I knew that I couldn’t sin this way, and I did’t do it; although I fear and suspected he might ask me to.

He kept asking me to massage harder and deeper. In doing so, several times I inadvertently touched his erect penis, which was moving vigorously, corresponding to the movement of my hands. I kept my head down and kept my eyes closed as much I could.

CONFUSION
He then asked me to wash my hands and get him a towel. I went to his sink and when I returned he was wiping himself with a tissue. He apologized to me for the “uncomfortable circumstances” of his illness. He was often ill like this, he said. He asked me if I had noticed that he had an erection when I had brought him lunch earlier. I shook my head “no”. He sent me to my room, and said I could sleep-in to recover my lost sleep. I went to the oratory and prayed to God that He cure him of this illness, and I offered a sacrifice to Him to help him through the night.

I was very puzzled by these events, but never doubted that Fr. Eoghan was suffering from some kind of illness. I speculated that because we had spoken about sexual things in Spiritual Direction he confided in me to not be embarrassed or to misjudge him in his unfortunate condition. Who else could he have turned to? I thought understandingly.

I never once spoke during the entire event. I didn’t want to break the Absolute Silence.

In the Legion of Christ, we are to obey the superior even in his whims, not solely in his mandates. It was explained to us in the Explanation of Rules that if a superior wanted a cup of tea, even if he just mentioned it as if thinking out loud, it would be the “Legionary Spirit” to go and make him one and bring it to him.

In the Legion of Christ we also take a Vow to never criticize the actions, deeds or person of a superior, and to report anyone who does so. If ever a criticism was to be made, it had to be made in a formal way to that superior’s superior, and in the spirit of Christian Charity.

I felt I had promised this obedience and non-criticism at the beginning of my novitiate and was presently in a period of discernment for acceptance to the Religious Vows.

In my heart and in my conscience I believed that I had acted that night like a true Legionary -putting my superior’s needs before my own- and I stuffed the unsavory thoughts and feelings to the back of my mind.

The next day I saw Fr. Eoghan and Fr. Eugene talking to each other and slowly walking up and down the novitiate corridor, as was usual during spiritual direction. I thought that Fr. Eoghan was informing the Rector about what happened.

After this, Fr. Eoghan had less time for me. He told me that I shouldn’t depend on him so much anymore, because I was to go to the Juniorate in Salamanca, Spain, and that it was a much bigger community and my superiors there wouldn’t have the same amount of time for me.

I noticed a change in him towards me. He was more indifferent and even seemed tired of me. At the end of the summer I took Religious Vows according to the Constitutions of the Legion of Christ, and the ‘Private Vows’ shortly afterwards.

I remember looking forward to reading the Constitutions of the Legion of Christ in their entirety after this. Only professed Religious and Legionary Priests can read them; as Novices we had a censored version.

OFF-LOADING [THE VICTIM]
I was transferred to Salamanca to study Humanities at the Centro de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Legion de Cristo, Avenida De la Merced, Salamanca. After one and a half years there, my Rector, Confessor and Spiritual Director, Fr. Jesus Maria Delgado, LC, told me he didn’t see me as a priest, and encouraged me to leave and “get married”. I didn’t agree with him but never found out why he wanted me to leave. His only explanation was that I wasn’t suitable (though he didn’t say why) and that I didn’t have the “makings of a priest”. When the period of Humanities was over, he wouldn’t recommend me for philosophy studies in Rome, but told me I had a “special mission”. I waited two months to find out what this was, and was eventually told to accompany a priest on the vocational recruitment drive in the North of Spain. I traveled with Fr. Luis Ignacio Nunez, LC, around different Spanish cities looking for vocations to the Legion, to the apostolic movement Regnum Christi, and for donations to the Legion, as well as trying to open a Legionary school in Bilbao.

When, one and a half years after, Fr. Jesus informed me of his certainty about my not having a vocation, I prayed and worked hard, trying to find God’s will. I never wavered in my heart and in the fulfillment of my Religious Commitments. God was calling me, not only to the Priesthood, but to the Legion of Christ; and that, as a matter of conscience, I had to and wanted to obey God’s call.

Eventually, and under a lot of pressure, I took it as a sign from God – manifested through my superiors- that I didn’t have a vocation to either the priesthood or to the Legion of Christ. I also received a letter from the General Director and fonder of the Congregation, Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC, who we called Nuestro Padre. In it he told me I could leave and return home in peace, without a troubled conscience. He assured me that God’s will was for me not to be a Priest. As an act of faith I left the legion, although I really didn’t want to, and still continued to hear God’s call.

From the moment I decided to leave, and the moment I was given a plane ticket, I was no longer considered a Legionary, a member of the community. I was not allowed to tell anyone, except my parents, that I was leaving.

To this day I still have to wrestle with my conscience about this. In the Legion we were continuously told that we were called from all Eternity, handpicked by God to Co-found the Legion of Christ, and that if we weren’t faithful to God’s call, He would spit us out of His mouth, and we would find damnation.

When people leave the Legion of Christ, be it of their own choice or “invited to” by a superior, they did so in secret. They simply disappeared overnight. It was forbidden to speak about anyone who was no longer present in the community. If superiors were asked in private, they would ‘invent’ that that Brother was sent on a “special mission to Mexico” or to some other country.

I was given a suitcase, told to leave all my notes, and only take my clothes and personal things with me. It would be better, they said, in the long run not to have too many reminders. I was given my passport -which the superior always kept-, a ticket from Madrid to Belfast, and a $50 viaticum. They instructed me that if I didn’t spend this emergency money during the trip to send it back to them in Salamanca.

”CO-DEPENDING”
So I returned home to my parents on August 20th, 1998. I told them that I had been living the Religious Vows for the past three years, and that with Renewal of the Vows approaching I had cometo the conclusion that I did not want to continue living that life style. This was a lie: I couldn’t bring myself to tell them that the Legion had rejected me, that I wasn’t suitable material for the Priesthood.

I was also inwardly confused because I had taken the vows for three years on September 15th, 1995. Thus I was still a Consecrated Religious therefore until the 15th September 1998; but I had left the Legion. I didn’t know how to live my Vows at home during that period; I wondered if I had to report to the Bishop or my Parish Priest. My parents gave me money to buy some clothes, but I didn’t know whether to accept it or not as I was still bound by the vow of poverty.

It was hard for me to adjust to normal life again, but I tried to do so as best I could and asked for God’s help in finding His will for me outside the Religious Life.

I enrolled in the university but gradually decompensated and had to leave. It happened this way. At the beginning of my second year I began to feel unwell, with nauseas and chronic fatigue; I was often confused and forgetful. My short-term memory decreased and I even got lost at times, not knowing where I was. I had trouble knowing what time of year it was, and was often disoriented. This, of course affected my university life. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I went to a counselor at university, where I admitted depression. I remember that in my first session I didn’t know why I was there or what I would talk about. I was surprised that I spent the whole time talking about my seminary experiences. I had no idea that I was still so dependent on the Legion of Christ. My whole psyche, my emotional framework, my psychological balance depended on the system of life within the Legion and for as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t function outside this system. Everything became a challenge to me. It is hard to describe this, I don’t mean that I desired to live like a Legionary, or that I got up early in the morning and had an hour’s meditation before Mass, etc., but that I had a sub-conscious dependency on the Legion. This sacred me a lot.

In a way I was like a lion bred in captivity and kept in a cage. After being “rescued” and released back into the wild, to my natural habitat, I could only pace up and down the length of my cage, even though the bars had been removed.

Since then I have been attending counseling, and it has helped me a lot; but it has taken and is still taking years to relearn the necessary and most basic elements of life in “normal society”.

Shortly after I started counseling, November 2000, I found an article on the Internet reporting alleged sex abuse by the founder, Marcial Maciel, LC. I did not want to believe it and felt disgusted. But when I read the detail of the accusations the memory of what Fr. Eoghan Devlin asked me to do when he was ill in the Novitiate came back to me, and I realized for the first time the truth of what had happened: that he had in fact sexually abused me. The similarity of what some of the early Legionaries said Maciel had made them do with what Fr. Eoghan asked me to do was astounding. I couldn’t believe it. I printed off the article, then wrote my own experience and printed it too. I showed them both to my father and to my counselor. I couldn’t say with words what had happened. I couldn’t talk about it. Yet needed immediate validation. I needed these important people to believe me, or maybe to tell me what I didn’t want to believe.

Since then I was often reluctant to clearly affirm that I was abused and wanted to ‘interpret’ the facts. I argued to myself that Fr. Eoghan was really ill, or that it was my fault. But now I can no longer deny to myself the truth about what he did: he groomed me and abused me for his own sexual gratification. My denial only served to mask my pain at the acceptance of this truth. I never denied the facts or was ever unclear about them happening.

CONTROLLING
In hindsight I remember that when I was a Humanities’ student in Salamanca all the communities in the house were called to a special meeting in the auditorium. The Rector, Fr. Jesus Maria Delgado, LC, told us that a newspaper in USA had published a damning and false accusation against Nuestro Padre, (Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Congregation). We received no further detail of this accusation.

We were informed that our personal mail was going to be double checked (all incoming and outgoing mail is habitually revised by superiors in the Legion) for anything that might contain details of this newspaper article. But we had to be careful, and if we found anything in our mail or elsewhere about the accusation, we were to refrain immediately from reading it and give it to our superior at once. We were also forbidden to talk about anything related to the accusation.

I later realized that the newspaper article we were kept in the dark about was the same article I read on the Internet, sparking off the memory of my own abuse. I was angry that the Legion had denied me access to this, and that if I had known sooner, I could have acted while still in the Legion. Maybe others, abused perhaps like me without knowing, were being denied a chance to find the truth.

TAKING ACTION
In April 2001, I visited Monsignor Colm McCahon of the Down and Connor diocese and told him what had happened to me. He was shocked and concerned, to say the least. I thank him for his Priestly kindness and example to me. He informed me of my options as I was concerned that Fr. Eoghan might still be abusing his authority for his own personal satisfaction; I also felt Fr. Eoghan should at least be given a chance to help me recover.

On my behalf the monsignor wrote to the Vicar General of the Legion of Christ, Luis Garza. I warned Monsignor McCahon that the Legion was very secretive and protective of its members and of its image, and that I doubted that any superior in the Legion would believe me over another Legionary. I was scared that sending this letter would be only a fool’s errand. He told me that he didn’t think it would be so, and that that was the procedure of the Church. He suggested that at least we could try it to see what would happen. I agreed. I mentioned to him that I would be interested in speaking to Fr. Eoghan in person, to “clear things up”. I also let him know that I in no way wanted to cause scandal or harm for the Church.

Luis Garza replied, and I found his words hurtful. He was “satisfied that there was no problem with Fr. Eoghan, and that he (Fr. Eoghan) didn’t know how I could come up with such a story”. He offered me the opportunity to speak with Fr. Eoghan if I so wished, but only in the presence of witnesses. I felt intimidated by this, and, still in a period of much denial and confusion, I let it be. In a way I found some peace, because I had let Fr. Eoghan know that the power of his deception was over.

I decided no longer to think about this, and eventually my depression eased -or rather I learnt to accept it and live with its manifestations. I again tried to return to University, but found it hard once more to become part of another “system”. The depression soon returned and I left university studies after three months. I continued with my counseling.

But I cannot forget nor let go of this part of my past any longer. I so often worry that Fr. Eoghan is still abusing children or others under his authority. I have heard he is a Superior of a Legionary community in Colombia, and that he is also the Director of a Legionary High School there.

I feel it is my moral duty to report once more to Church and to the appropriate Civil Authorities what Fr. Eoghan Devlin did to me. In doing so I hope to find justice, to prevent further wrong and help other victims to heal.

I am requesting an external authority make a formal and thorough investigation. I do not trust any internal investigation by the Legion of Christ in this matter, and will not be satisfied by it.
I want Fr. Eoghan to be removed from ministry until a complete and satisfactory investigation be concluded. Specifically because he is at present Director of a Primary and Secondary School in Medellin, Columbia, and also National Director of the Regnum Christi Catholic Youth Movement in Columbia, as well as Superior of the Religious Community of the Legion of Christ in Medellin.

In this investigation I expect that anyone for whom he was Superior at any period of his Legionary Formation, not only as a Priest, but also as Novice Instructor in Dublin, be questioned about his sexual appropriateness during their training.

Note that I was unaware of this abuse for years due his deception and because the use of his position of authority were so effective. There may well be other Legionaries who still live unaware of their abuse.

I request that as a result of this investigation Fr. Eoghan Devlin be removed permanently from positions of authority in the Legion of Christ, and also be removed from ministry with children and young people. It may be necessary to question his suitability for the Priesthood and its demands.

I invite him to examine his behavior and address any problems he may have with his own sexuality.

I am scared. I am scared of the things the Legion will say about me: that I am bitter because I had to leave,; that I am not well; that my continued depression is evidence of mental imbalance, whence my telling grandiose but untrue tales, and so on. An acquaintance told me they had asked someone familiar with the Legion why I had left, and they were told that “A.L. wasn’t well in the head”. This only added to my pain.

I am also scared that coming forward be even more painful for me. But, as my Legionary experience has taught me, the truth may hurt, but lies hurt even more. May the truth lead me to freedom. It has taken a lot of courage, and yes, time, to come forward like this. I felt so lost and helpless. Will I be believed? What good will it do?

I hope that you, the reader, will want to help me find justice and healing.

A.L.

————–
May 7th, 2005

Regain,
here is my original English version of the text which appears in Spanish in the “Documentos Secretos de los Legionarios de Cristo”*.

Do with it as you will. It is the letter which I wrote to the Irish Police and was the basis for my statement to them.

You may wish to let readers know that recently the Department of Public Prosecution in Ireland informed me it decided not to prosecute as they have not found sufficient evidence (my word against his etc). This will be the first public acknowledgment of the end of the police investigation.

The Legion is obliged to carry out its own investigation now as they were unable to do so while the Police were investigating.

The Legion not yet been in touch with me in this regard. I am currently (and rather frustratingly) trying to get an external investigation started, and am requesting this from both the CDF and the CCL (Cong. for Consecrated Life…)at the Vatican. I also continue in contact with my diocese.

*In Spanish: Los documentos secretos de los Legionarios de Cristo by José Martínez de Velasco, Ediciones B, Barcelona, Spain, pages 271-287

————
May 23, 2005
“Fr. Eoghan Devlin voluntarily stood aside from his position as Director of “El Cumbres” school in Medellin, Colombia, S.A., as soon as the police became involved. He returned to the Legionary Center in Rome where he remained until Christmas 2004 when he suddenly left the Legion of Christ.

I am not sure whether he remains a priest or not.

At the time of Fr. Eoghan’s departure from Medellin, Colombia, the directors of “El Cumbres” circulated a letter to all parents about how ‘enemies of the Legion had recently been spreading rumors and lies in the Medellin area to discredit the Legionaries good work.’

A.L.

Brad Robertson – Truth Demands Transparency

My name is Brad Robertson and I was a member of the Legionaries of Christ from May 1997 to February 2006 after having served in the US Navy for 5 years as a Submariner and Corpsman.

I left the seminary due to a yearning for a wife and family, which kept resurfacing, especially during the last three years of my internship period. I have come to the realization that the Legion kept me so busy that I did not have time to reflect or to question my vocation even though I had feelings of disquiet within myself. Fortunately
my vows were all temporary rather than perpetual vows.

When I left the Legion in 2006, moving back into the work force was a struggle. I worked as a waiter for $2.50 an hour plus tips until I was forced to tap into my small financial resources saved from navy years as a submariner, corpsman and anesthesia technician. From my medical training in the Navy, I finally got a job working at two hospitals in Houston.

On June 4, 2007 at I:00 am Monday, I suffered a severe brain aneurysm. My head felt like a ton of bricks and I was unable to stand up to open the two locks on my front door. With dry heaves and sweat pouring down my face as if someone turned a faucet on, I crawled on my hands and knees which was the only way to ambulate. Miraculously I reached my two friends on my cell phone who are both experienced nurses. While waiting for one of them to arrive, all I could do was gaze at Christ uniting myself to Him on the cross which gave me a new spirit to fight for my life and uncertain future trials. When my friend arrived, he called 911 for an ambulance which transported me to the hospital where I worked.

At the hospital, I have vivid but fragmented memories of the unbearable pain I was experiencing. The response team in the emergency room was amazingly quick to act by taking a CAT scan, sending the results by computer to the neurosurgeon at home on call who immediately requested an angiogram and preparation of the OR for emergency surgery. My nurse friend who rescued me called the priest on duty to administer the last rites while I was on the operating table, I experienced the healing and protection that Christ guarantees through this sacrament as the surgery was successful saving my life.

The neurosurgeon organized for me to be sent to two other hospitals where a renowned specialist determined through another angiogram that there was a tiny AVM still present. Further brain surgery was risky so the specialist recommended a Gamma Knife procedure which was only available in the huge Houston Medical Complex. Healing of the AVM (arterial venous malformation) after Gamma Knife surgery requires up to 2 years. Family, local priests and friends are owed so much due to their countless prayers and sacrifices. At this point all I can give are my prayers in return for their selfless love and dedication for my recovery.

In September after speech and motor skills therapy, my doctors gave their approval for me to travel. I went to Rome, Medjugorje, Sydney, Taipei and back to Texas where I picked up my car and a few belongings and headed to LA for what I hoped would be a new beginning. By going to LA I hoped to pursue my dreams being involved in virtue based media and doing what I like – writing and creativity in modern media. It was a great and beautiful weeklong road trip traveling through southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona to California at my leisurely pace. I saw Fredericksburg, Texas settled by Germans, which now has a large wine growing area and the birthplace of Admiral Nimitz. Then to Big Bend National Park, Limestone Caverns, Marathon, Marfa, Ft Davis (spectacular, beautiful, breathtaking) and home of a lot of salt of the earth folks with zeal, zest, guts, and character – felt as though they were family. This is also the home of the Texas Rangers. It?s worth checking out their history. Visiting my old stomping grounds at San Diego where I was a United States Navy Corpsman was wonderful. I saw two huge aircraft carriers docked and Coronado Island where the elite Navy Seal Teams train – a force to be reckoned with.

LC and RC: open your eyes to free you from the shackles that bind you. An act of charity would be to admit the faults and abuses and apologize to those souls who have been hurt for life. By the way, thanks for the number one formation hacer hacer (a coined Legionary term to get other people to work for you). I will use that formation and go full speed ahead to reveal the truth about the Legion?s brainwashing techniques. The lay faithful will be alerted. God uses many instruments to do His good and holy works through common folk. Just look at Church history. There are more than a few examples for you there! Now, I have a new outlook on life outside the grasps of Dictatorial Rule from the LC and RC members; especially away from any type of Major Superior. Although my psyche has been damaged, life goes on.

While on an internship for a movie company from Hollywood, I was sent to Australia in February 2008 for a grassroots blitz on behalf of their film. Upon completion of this film promotion my family encouraged me to remain in Sydney. Now being in Australia away from a constant work work environment, I actually have time to myself. Isn?t that a novel idea! (Ex LC?s and RC?s will know what I mean) My life and what I do with my time is actually up to me now using the free will God has given each one of us. I can actually choose what I want to do each moment and I?m getting stronger with the many possibilities ahead after my near-death experience and release from the Legion after 8+ years.

The Legion

After reading an article in the New Oxford Review which was in response to the Holy Father?s censuring and penance of the Legion?s founder Fr Marcial Maciel, (WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?) I had an Epiphany Easter Sunday. It all made sense to me. How could the Legionaries respond by saying that, this is a new Cross given to them by the Holy Father, when their charism prioritizes fidelity to the Holy Father? The contradiction is there to be seen by everyone! The censoring action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the article were the catalyst for me to see the deception that took over 81/2 of the best years of my life. I was 24 when I entered 32 when I left one month shy of my 33rd birthday.

Candidacy

My first sign of the Legion?s depredations was when my mom and I attended the Youth and Family Encounter in St Louis in May 1997. I recall seeing all those wonderful holy families, doing their best, as Catholic families raising their children in today?s world. Mom and I remember the personality hype around the founder Fr Marcial Maciel – the undue praise and attention garnered to this supposed living Saint. With their enthusiasm and determination the whole world was going to be rounded up hook line and sinker and saved 100 times over at the end of that weekend, if they liked it or not!

After the St. Louis Youth and Family conference, I started the candidacy program which is a three month discerning period that the Legionaries offer from June through August in the different countries where they are located for young men interested in the priesthood. I took the next step to enter the Novitiate, but on the day of receiving my Cassock, we were watching a documentary on Stalin (how ironic) and I experienced a nagging uncertainty like a burning blaze in my heart. I went to my Spiritual Director to tell him that I was not ready for the Novitiate. I had just left the Navy three months before and was used to the independence – paying my bills and having my own apartment. It was tough to say this to Fr. Christopher Brackett, our Novice Master, but I had the courage to tell him that I was not ready for the next step. He said, Brother Bradley, I think it would be in your best interest to take this next step in life. I reluctantly agreed (bad mistake). He could also have said, Go home for a year, discern if the Legion is for you or not. Is there anything wrong with that? There was no concern for my free will – this is what you will do because the Legion wants it of you right now. Now upon reflection, I see clearly that I made for them a great promoter of the Legionary Cause due to my prior military life – US Navy, Submarine duty – great for the Legionary mystique and militant Legionary want-to-be spirit.

Novitiate

A second sign of fallibility was when a good family friend who has been a deacon for over 20 years (at that point I was now in the Novitiate) did some whistle blowing. He spoke about how divisive Regnum Christi members had been in the Atlanta parishes. Instead of uniting the parish to the priest, they were going against parish orders and doing things behind its back for the Cause and Extension of the Legion?s mission. Wait a minute, is the Legion the only one to own the market with a God given Divine Providential mission? C?mon now, the Church is over 2,000 years old. Who do the Legion and Regnum Christi members think they are?

My cousin in Oklahoma City, who was a Regnum Christi member for a short time, was surprised that a Legionary priest never stopped by to help his flock in spiritual direction or with retreats, so she separated herself from the group.

My brother Steve?s experience of the Legion was when they frequently stayed at the family townhouse. He had a fridge stocked full of food essentials for them. There was never an oh by the way thank you. They just took and kept on taking as if somehow generosity just grew on trees. I also remember on another occasion I was in Houston taking care of one of the founding fathers who was being treated for cancer. My brother visited me for lunch and what struck me as odd was how this priest, Fr Alfredo Torres, on meeting my brother and having no clue as to his religious affiliation or conviction asked him directly if he would like to be a priest. Where is the sensitivity there? The Legion reveals a cookie cutter robotic formation with statements like that one!

There are accounts of Legionaries visiting family friends in The Woodlands, located in Houston, Texas (perfect neighborhood that meets their high expectations for their manipulative fundraising techniques) and asking for $10,000 – by the way can you support us happily with a $10,000 donation? That was probably their 2nd visit. I wonder if the Ask was during dessert dunking their biscotti?s in coffee? Apart from its crassness, don?t they know the sacrifices involved in earning the huge sum of $10,000 for the good of the Legion?

Everything was going smoothly and without a hitch in my Novitiate formation, professing my temporary vows. In September 1999 Fr. Owen Kearns said on Professions Day – addressing families and friends in the auditorium – that you should not speak badly about Catholic priests. Maybe if people took his advice then, the pedophile priests would have gotten away with their misdeeds scot-free. In addition to this, Fr. Owen, as editor-in-chief of the Catholic newspaper National Catholic Register did not allow any editorial articles to be published after Fr Marcial was disciplined by the CDF in September of 2006. Silence and censorship are the Legion?s tools! That seems to be their signature style of defense. Their silence addressing Fr Marciel?s censoring is a sign of secrecy, not transparency like dictatorships! Where is the freedom in that? (What about freedom of speech and expression which such groups attempt to suppress totally.) I thought the Catholic Church and Her institutions were for the people by safeguarding souls from corrupt environments, religious sects, and protectors of the faith. It?s a pity we do not see that treatment and behavior from certain so called religious Congregations and Orders within Her ranks. Why? How can this be when I trusted the Legion to not harm or hinder me in anyway, with my life unconditionally given as a blank check? (I remember my mom would always ask me, How are you? She told me that deep down inside she did not see me progressing like I should have been and she wondered what are they teaching you?) They told me to not let mom, dad or family know about any of the problems we might be having. We were told it was an act of charity to withhold any personal problems we were having inside of us. We were told not to burden mom or dad with those details since we only had permission to speak with them maybe only once every three months or for their birthdays or ours!

Censorship runs rampant in the Legion through lack of contact with family, censored letters and phone calls, absolute control of the person, all personal belongings checked, etc. They tell you what you can have and keep including family gifts and pictures. I remember leaving some track pants in my drawer and while I was out of town they were removed. The same thing happened with a silver rosary (a gift my mom received upon graduation from high school) mom had given me along with various books. This is also how they?ve dealt with members of my family by not calling back or writing when they needed clarification on certain Norms.

Progressing to the Humanities Program, I was surely making them very happy. I remember one night they told me I had a special mission so they put me on a plane the next morning for Houston at 0700 – not a big deal to me. The only thing was the ticket was in another brother?s name. That was before 9/11, so it was okay for that brother to check through boarding, show the ticket with his name on it. In the meantime I was next to him and I just took the boarding pass, as instructed by my trusty brother assistant therefore allowing me to board. Sneaky wasn?t it?

Philosophy

Philosophy in Thornwood New York: I remember in community prayers feeling cooped in, getting severe anxiety attacks due to being squeezed in during community prayers. My spiritual director, Fr Andre LaSana, said it was a passing thing and not to worry about it. But yet I struggled with that for the next 4 years and especially again when a Theologian in Rome. I trusted their leadership with my life! The reason the anxiety attacks came on was due to feeling restricted, not able to move, kneeling in the pews, feeling squeezed in. I did not feel this on the submarine, because I always had room to move, never cooped up or squeezed in, able to move about freely in tight corridors and quarters, still freely able to move my body, arms and legs. For those who have never experienced an anxiety attack, you are blessed, because breathing becomes irregular, hyper-ventilating, gasping for air, uncomfortable, fidgeting on the kneeler. I felt as though I was dying. It was like suffocation, something taking the life out of me, darkness consuming me – like a shade slowly descending. I thought I was going to freak out, flip out, or have a nervous breakdown, because there was no avenue of escape!

Fr Juan Solana, one of my Spiritual Directors, in Philosophy always asked at the beginning of spiritual direction, Brother Bradley, are you happy? We were programmed/conditioned to comply like blind, obedient sheep! Another time I asked if I could keep in contact with old friends. His response was that a Legionaries life is soo busy. It?s best to forget about them as the Legion is your life and family now. My brother and sister-in-law asked me to be godfather for their daughter and I was told that Legionaries move around too much and could not assume such a role. That way they can justify controlling a person, throwing away personal belongings, but most importantly to them – getting rid of the memories you have of family, friends and all prior life you had before the Legion.

I was the infirmarian (equivalent to a medic) for 5 years during Candidacy, Novitiate, Juniorate, and Philosophy. Upon reflection, I remember wondering why I had to dispense so much Zantac, Prilosec, and Pepto Bismol. All of those are anti-diarrhea, heartburn relievers, antacids, or ulcer relief medicines. The stress levels, intensity and pressures are so unbearable and ungodly high – perhaps that is why I had to give out so many of those meds!

Internship

After Philosophy came Internship. My first assignment was Steubenville, Ohio, working with young RC members at Franciscan University. The resident priest, Fr Michael Goodyear, would give spiritual direction with young men and women from the College. I was responsible for the accounting and house duty 24/7 – a totally uneasy task for me. Sticking an outgoing/emotive personality to a desk every day did not make sense. I am a people person. I ask myself now were they totally blind or was I just filling a gap? The Legion is not able to work openly at the Franciscan University in Steubenville. I was told that they just did not want us there because we were supposedly taking their prime vocational candidates. The Priest I was working with claimed the new Director of Franciscan University was not cooperating with the Legion?s needs. By the way that is the Franciscans? turf and the students are their responsibility so why be surprised at the Director?s stance.

During this time on one of my journeys to New York, I remember having spiritual direction with a Major Superior, Fr Anthony Bailleres, telling him the difficulties regarding chastity, yearning for women, marriage, etc. He said, Keep plugging away, not doubting for a moment that I might not be suited for the priesthood.

After four months I was sent to Detroit to be Dean of Discipline at Everest Academy, a Legionary school. I did my best but was still not at peace. Five months later, I was transferred to another job doing vocational work in LA.

While in Detroit under the spiritual direction of my Superior, Fr Lorenzo Gomez, my vocation was like pulling teeth and definitely not fitting like a glove as they promised it would! Fr Anthony Bannon often quoted along those lines. I guess my other Superiors just tuned him out. Remember I speak like this because I was a Legionary Brother. By now I was privy to their daily goings-on and knew the strategies and language they use to satisfy their ends. The training or lack of it has paid off as we watch them implode before our very eyes. The Church finally disciplined Fr Marcial Maciel, a half century late, though, and many lives shattered!

In Los Angeles I worked with a Legionary Priest, Fr Thomas Maher, by assisting him in vocational work in three major cities (LA, San Diego, and Phoenix). The work again was not clicking and the priest I was working with was often bending Legionary Norms left and right. For example, there was no daily schedule (all spontaneous) and on road trips we listened to secular music, rock and talk radio which were banned according to Legionary norms. I can understand this, for who could follow those Norms when you had 2 – 7 hour road trips. Again in spiritual direction there was no real receptive listening to the authentic difficulties I was experiencing during this supposed discerning internship period. Where was the help? By the way, Brother Bradley, maybe this vocation is not what God is calling you to do! Why don?t you pray about that?

The straw that really broke the camel?s back was while I was in LA under my Superior, Fr Andrew Mulcahey. My two brothers became engaged and then married within two months of each other. The Legion had allowed me to attend the wedding of the daughter of my folks? friends plus a Regnum Christi couple?s beautiful wedding. Yet, according to the Legionary Norms I was forbidden to attend my two brothers? weddings? Try telling your family members (and the family members of our non-Catholic daughter-in-law who thought this totally absurd – rightfully so) and your mom to smooth things over in the family so the Legion?s supposed obedience and leadership would not be questioned or hindered! Wow, what a huge confrontation that caused in our family! The scars are deep on all sides! Two of my brothers, their wives and children have stopped going to Church as a result of cultish groups like this one!

We would meet every quarter for vocational meetings. Our numbers were always checked and rechecked excessively to make sure we were sending prospects to Cheshire CT for retreats during Christmas, Easter and the Candidacy program. Rome was emphasized for those especially good vocational prospects as candidates. Round ‘em up and rope ‘em in for the good of the Church. The vocational mantra was engrained in our heads it?s quality not quantity that the Legion is interested in!

Before my trip to Rome, there was another huge PR/HR mishap with my brother Steve and his wife by the House Superior/Rector in LA, Fr Eugene Gormley. Steve had sent me a very nice, but discreet Citizen watch. He did not want to go overboard by breaking the Legion?s Holy Norms so he got me a black, conservative watch and sent it to me by mail as a gift for making my next step to study Theology in Rome. However, Fr. Eugene made me send it back the following week because it was too fancy to be in keeping with the Legion image. My brother and his wife, the same ones whose wedding I could not attend, were flabbergasted to say the least at the rejection of their gift, and were justifiably ticked! Steve called my Superior explaining that he was a Catholic trying to live his faith, but had a problem understanding that particular norm and left a message requesting a timely response. Time went by with no response from my Superior to my brother, till then faithful to the Church.

As a Novice, probably due to my prior skills as a Navy Corpsman, I helped this priest?s brother, who is also a Legionary priest totally paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a car accident in Brazil. I gave him showers and cleaned him up like you would a baby. The brain damage made him lose all short-term memory and also caused severe temper tantrums – emitting screams that were deafening. I did a lot for my Superior?s brother but he refused to call my brother back? (He had also stayed at our townhouse in Houston when he was stationed in Texas as a priest.) Steve tried again and again with no response. Sadly, when I left the Legion none of the Priests or Brothers with whom I worked contacted me. It was like I was written off! When I left the Legion, Fr. Eugene could have apologized to me or Stephen and his wife, but he never did. The only time he called was when I was recovering after the brain aneurysm trying to paint a supposedly redeeming picture.

Theology

After two years in LA, I was sent on my next assignment in October 2006 to study theology in Rome. When I told my Spiritual Director there about my yearning for marriage and the difficulties and temptations that I was encountering, he was the one who finally listened. I had to wait until I was in Rome?s formation center to finally get a priest to listen to me! My confession felt like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders. Mind you, I was a prior Navy Veteran of 5 years (Submarine duty) which comes with its own moral mishaps/hardships. You would have thought the red flags would have been waving for all to see. But it was in their interest to continue my usefulness to them so they turned a blind eye to my concerns about my vocation. Draw your own conclusions from my testimony if you will, but hopefully this will help other Legionaries, Regnum Christi members and their families to discern for themselves if the Legion is an Authentic Catholic Organization for the good of the Church.

Finally, why does the Legion not offer any type of transitional programfor those ex-Legionaries who leave where the pitfalls are many – job search websites, guidance counseling programs, and financial programs. (Loans would help due to not having any
Savings Accounts while in the Legion to get you back on your feet) The US Navy had a great program called TAPS (Transition Assistance Program). When I left, they provided TAPS for a week, during working hours before I was discharged from my Military Service which allowed for job placement, contact building (networking), financial planning and assistance of any sort, even Housing If need be, for those in dire need of help. The Legion never called to ask how I was doing or if I needed any help. Despite this, I offered my services as an RC member in Houston. Only after the brain aneurysm, the Legion all of a sudden was my friend and asking, By the way buddy how are ya feeling? The priest on duty at the hospital administered the Last Rites at 4:00 in the morning before brain surgery. When I was taken off the breathing machine the following day, my Parish Priest came to administer the Last Rites also. Even though I was a faithful RC member in Houston, the Legionary priest was the last to visit me and give me the sacrament.

Now I wonder how many selected by the Legion have a true vocation? Are they just looking for numbers to fill the gaps instead of advancing the teachings of the Catholic Church and Christianity?

What I have is personal experience of the Legionaries being a great group of Charming Modern Day Sophists putting on a false front. Please be watchful and discerning of them. At the end of the day, we are all men and women trying to do our best in this life to make it to heaven. Some wear clerical garb who are consecrated to God and we respect and offer our support to them. But what if they are living in sin? We see numerous examples in Church history that reveal many cases of corruption. St. Catherine of Siena is a great example of one who exposed corruption among the clergy. Thanks to God?s love and mercy, there was a conversion back to faith and the truth!

Keep in mind the Unimaginable Tragedy and Crime of 2002 of the priestly abuses that happened unannounced under our noses/radar. (Is that not how the devil always works with sin; sucks us in and then it festers in our conscience? We fall for the false illusion of the perceived good and happiness promised. Then disappointment and regret occur and the temptation cycle begins over and over again without us remembering or learning from our past mistakes.) The victims spoke up and for years the Vatican, for some reason, had to silence/censor and dismiss them as fakes/phonies. Until the fateful year of 2002, (oh my God, help us) they took advantage of our trusts and confidence by hurting the most precious gift from God, our children?s innocence which was stolen/ raped! They are OUR children, because we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

I learned a hard lesson the rough and tough way! Life always moves on though. May the wheat be separated from the chaff!

Anonymous – Why I Left The Regnum Christi

A testimony in the form of the letter of resignation to her spiritual director was recently posted on a blog by a former 2gf lady from New Zealand who made a decision to leave Regnum Christi

In her letter, she makes the following statement, which she underlined: I would not recommend anyone joining the Movement now unless some very real and huge changes are made and I am unsure that the Movement is capable of making those even with outside help?.

To see the blog and the letter explaining the writer’s reasons for leaving:
Resignation Letter – Click Here

Xavier Leger – Testimony of His Life During and After the Legionaries of Christ

He Who Would Act The Angel Acts The Brute (Blaise Pascal)

My name is Xavier Leger. I’m 33 and I’m French. I come from a fairly liberal Catholic family. I studied philosophy at a Catholic institute, the Faculte Libre de Philosophie Comparie. When I entered this college, I had not been practicing my faith since my childhood catechism. But the wise teachings I received there and the friendship of the students helped me to get closer to the Church.
In 1997, I went to the World Youth Days in Paris. This experience moved me deeply. I came out transformed… There are a lot of things that I cannot explain. I can only say that I understood that God was a GOOD FATHER. From this time on I never lost my faith, even during the toughest years I spent in the Legion.

During the World Youth Days, I also met the Legion of Christ, thanks to a young Mexican deacon, Father R.M, LC. He had been sent to France as a Legion recruiter -of course, I was not aware of that at that time. After the WYD, he urged me to join the Regnum Christi. I was bothered by his intrusive manner. I felt he was too insistent and, besides, he had even managed to make me leave my previous spiritual guide in order to take his place.

But probably being too naive, I followed him. From the moment of my spiritual experience during the WYD, I really wanted to become a priest. Quickly recruited into the Regnum Christi, I did not try to compare it with other paths … And I joined the Legion in 1999.

I have to say that, contrary to some former Legionaries who say they were very happy in the Legion, I was never so. Maybe, to feel normal, I convinced myself at times that I was; but honestly, I have very bad memories of my life in the Legion … Six years of suffering, going against my better judgment, my real conscience.

Coming from a family of artists, I am a very emotional person. I need freedom and sometimes solitude. I need to walk at my own pace. I hate to be under pressure.

During my novitiate I had the feeling of being constantly spiritually raped. Because I had studied philosophy, I appreciated the wisdom of St Thomas Aquinas, in particular regarding the operation of will and reason in moral action. In the Legion I had the impression of being in an opposite system, where everything was duty and obligations… our own will was denied, even placed under suspicion.

I remember that during one of the first quiete (time allotted to conversation in small groups), some brother asked me who my vocational recruiter was. I was disturbed at what he said… My what? Vocational recruiter? I was discovering the human part of the methodology… and felt very humiliated on realizing I had been the prey of a recruiter… I felt betrayed and, in hindsight, I was beginning to understand why Fr. R.M. had urged me so many times to quickly join the novitiate.

But maybe because I was too weak, I trusted their promises (stay one year at least, and then, you choose…), believing that maybe I had a legionary vocation. I stayed six years and a half.

This might be easier to say today, but I must confess that I always felt repulsion towards Marcial Maciel. While I was following all the instructions and learning all the details about the virtuous life of Maciel, inside my heart I could not compel myself to love him. I was often thinking back to a book, in which the author, Daniel Pennac, explained that there are verbs that cannot take the imperative form. We cannot say love!, since the act of love is created, not by the strength of the will, but by the kindness of the object. I was feeling very bad about all the devotions we had for Maciel, a man that I did not know, and that I had to venerate as a father and a saint.

A haunting image came to my mind all the time, during my prayers or even in my dreams: there was a shadow between me and the light. This shadow had the shape of Maciel. I was angry. I wanted to tell him to go away, because it prevented me from seeing the light.

I was ashamed to think that. It made me feel guilty.

During my years in the Legion, I suffered many humiliations. Some of those humiliations took place in public, in front of the community… Today, I think that the priests who did this, who used their authorities to gratuitously humiliate me, were simply poor unfortunate guys, very unhappy themselves. But the worst thing is that there was no room for me to defend myself. The superior was right, always. And I could do nothing but accept with bowed head.

From the novitiate of Gozzano to my internship in France

After my novitiate in Italy, I was sent to Salamanca, thence to Thornwood, and finally back to France during the summertime of 2003 to do fund raising.

I had a lot of very bad personal experiences in the Legion but since they only concerned me I accepted them. When I was sent to do apostolate, however, and asked to follow the methodology for fund raising and recruitment, I slowly sank into a deep breakdown.

I still tremble when recalling some shameful situations… For example, when I begged some old people for money: they where trapped between two young brothers wearing clerical collars… I often ask God to forgive me for that.

At the end of the summer, having worked in fundraising for two months, the Territorial Director Fr. H G asked me to stay in France to work with ECYD (Study, Education & Sports). The reason for that was very simple: before joining the Legion, I used to be a Boy Scout leader in a parish that was very close to the Territorial Direction Center. When my former boy scouts learned I was in Paris, they gathered to greet me. It was a wonderful moment. Fr G was surprised to discover that I was very well known here. Some weeks before I arrived in Paris, the brother who was taking care of ECYD in Paris had suddenly left the Legion. So Fr. G saw an opportunity and I was asked to stay.

I was happy to be back in my own country. My family was only 30 minutes away from the Territorial Direction, and I could see them more frequently. During the last four years, I had had very few occasions to be with them. My older brother was married… and I had not been allowed to be present for the wedding. This was an enormous mistake by the Legion… because from that moment on my family got less and less enthusiastic about my vocation.

During my stay in Paris, I witnessed a lot of strange events. I saw how Fr. R.L. successfully infiltrated the French Jet Set. I met some very important people at the TD. One day, I was even asked to be acolyte at a private Mass for Cecilia Sarkozy, the former wife of our President. I remember that on one occasion Maciel came to Paris for a special dinner with some of the biggest French leaders. I was not allowed to be present at the dinner, so I went into the chapel that was just beside the dining room. I caught some snippets of conversation while trying to say my night prayers. I was appalled when I overheard Maciel making a strong comment: he accused the last French governments of letting too many Muslims into France. I was deeply deeply shocked to learn that the Legion had rented a magnificent classic car to chauffer Maciel in Paris. And that he was staying in one of the most expensive hotels in Paris. How could such a thing be possible? The Territorial Direction is a grand house, located in one of the wealthiest private avenues of Paris… Why doesn’t Maciel stay here? Why rent a very expensive car when we already have Fr. G?s beautiful car? I could not sleep any more.

One activity that I enjoyed among my various apostolates was the catechism I taught at a small parish near the Territorial Direction. The Legion was trying to infiltrate the dioceses of Paris and my superiors had sent me to participate in some diocesan events. I was feeling much better in this atmosphere than inside the Legion. For the first time I began to dream of leaving the Legion and joining the diocese of Paris.

Leaving the Legion

After two years, I was totally exhausted and disgusted with the bad example of some recruiters working in France. I was thinking seriously of leaving the Legion, but I did not feel able to go through this tremendous humiliation. As you all know, the brainwashing of the Legion leads us to think that doubting about one’s vocation is a serious sin… I was feeling like a graft that was not taking. My superiors sent me to Rome in order to save my vocation. This was in September 2005. When I arrived in Rome I felt lost in the enormous Center of Study, like a sheep lost in the enormous flock. I could not bear the rhythm of daily routine anymore. Every moment was painful. The superior of the Center of Studies, who was also my Spiritual Director, made me many promises in order to prevent me from making the decision to leave. But in January 2006 I told him that I had made up my mind: I wanted to leave. At that moment he said something that totally shocked me: he said that he had also been thinking about me and had come to the conclusion that in fact I did not have a legionary vocation… And he also added that it would be better for me to abandon the idea of the priesthood altogether. He advised me to get married and to keep on with some apostolates with Regnum Christi. I still feel bitter when I recall this final conversation.

My worst moment ever came the day of my departure. I felt that I was making the worst mistake of my life: I was putting my salvation in jeopardy; I was betraying my vocation, my mission… the very reason of my existence. As usual, they had chosen to send me home during a time the community was out. This was a tough humiliation: the superior of the Rome house and the brother who had been my Assistant for religious life took me to the airport with an expression of compassion in their eyes. When I got on board the aircraft, I was trembling… saying to myself: What have I done! My God, I have betrayed You!

Arriving home I threw myself into my mother?s arms and wept. I was suffering. My parents did not know how to handle my condition, but they took me back as their son. During the next few weeks I lived at home; a kind of new birth. My dear parents, with love and without any judgment, took care of me.

I was almost thirty years old. Time had passed, and I was lost. I had to rebuild my life from scratch. But I knew I was too weak. There was still this sword of guilt in my heart, and this feeling that whatever I did after was only a means of justifying myself. I had betrayed my vocation. I had disobeyed the will of God…

A New Start In Life

But things began to change more quickly than I imagined. I remembered that the only place were I had been successful was in my work with youth. I had been a Boy Scout leader. I had worked in catechism in different places… I could not imagine myself working in an office, too far away from my former experience. So I thought that the best thing I could do, at that moment, was to find a job with youth, in a Catholic atmosphere.

Some months before I left the Legion, I had met a parish priest who was the director of an important oratory in Paris. I don’t know why, but I had a strong hunch: I should offer him my help. I found his phone number and called him:

Hello Father, I do not know whether you remember me. I was in the Legion of Christ. I just left the order. I do not know what I am going to do now but I need time to think. If you are still looking for counselors, I would be glad to help you.
That’s amazing! I have just learned that the leader of the children’s activities is in the hospital. I need you tomorrow!

The following day I went to the oratory and worked during the whole day with the children. At the end of the day the director came up to me and said: You, you stay here.

This was the best thing that I could have hoped for. At first I was working only on Wednesdays and during the weekends. I had a lot of experience in working with youth, and after some weeks I made a bunch of proposals to the director in order to revitalize the activities. The central point of those little reforms consisted in creating a service to help the children with their homework. This was necessary in order to gain the confidence of the families: If the children could stay in the oratory after school and do their homework, the parents would be glad to entrust their children to us. The idea was very simple, and easy to carry out. For that, I needed people to give of their time to helping the kids do their homework. I looked for some schools requiring the students to volunteer work. And I was successful. When summertime arrived I was able to present a project proving to the director that the oratory could hire me. I had a solid financial project, including the creation of different activities for every age group. The director consulted his team, and in September I had a full time job. I also found a small apartment near the oratory. Despite some hesitations at the beginning, most of the activities worked even better than I had even hoped.

This period was a very important stage in my life as it was part of my healing process. I began to recover from the serious damage that my experience in the Legion had done to my self-esteem. I was still very weak, and I had kept some ties to the Legion. The director of the oratory advised me to cut myself off all ties. I had to start a new chapter in my life.

Like many ex members, I experienced a very strong breakdown in my spiritual life. I was feeling anxiety each time I came into the chapel. I could not pray at all. At the time I did not know that this was normal because I was suffering from post-cult trauma. I was confused, feeling guilty at progressively abandoning any kind of prayer. But, strangely, at the same time I became able to formulate some light criticism of the Legion.

I remember that at that time I began to read some articles on ReGAIN and other web sites. I was as excited as an adolescent secretly reading porn sites… ReGAIN and the other web pages critiquing the Legion were doing the work of the Devil! Of Course! But since I was already bound for hell what would it matter? Anyway, I was still so suppressed that I did not read very much… In my mind all these accusations against the Legion could simply not be true because the order was at the center of the Church. The Legion seemed so strong, so huge, so successful…

The keystone of the movement in France leaves the priesthood

Something happened at this moment which totally blew me away. Fr R.L., the French Jet Set Legionary priest I spoke about already, sent out an email announcing that God was calling him to a special mission in South America. He had to leave ASAP… Well, this was strange because Fr, R.L. was the most important Legionary in France. Nobody could replace him. He was at that time the keystone of the apostolate the Legion was developing in France. Something strange was going on…

The true version came through the priests of the diocese. The director of the oratory told me that Fr R.L. had left the Legion, and even the priesthood. The Legion was trying to hide the scandal, but it was already too late. Fr R.L. had left the Legion to meet up his former girlfriend (the girlfriend that he had left when he decided to join the Legion).

The departure of Fr. L, and the way the Legion tried to hush up the scandal, pushed me one step forward in my ability to critique the Legion. There was something wrong with the Legion. I could say that at least,

Making the Decision to Join the Paris Seminary

In June 2007 I asked to join the seminary of Paris.

My intentions for coming back onto the rails of the priesthood were very muddled. I had the firm conviction that God was calling me to become a priest. There are elements of my life, very personal, that I cannot explain right now. Inside my heart there was also an intuition, which I could not explain with words, but I was thirsty to have another experience of the Church. I understood that I NEEDED to come back to a totally different kind of training system… because I was looking for answers and healing. I also had the hope of getting a second chance.

When the Director of the Oratory learned that I wanted to join the seminary of Paris he published an announcement in some catholic newspapers seeking to hire someone for my post. I was very proud of my achievements because most of the activities I had created were working quite well.

During the last days of June the director of the oratory was receiving many applications by post. One day as I was strolling in the oratory I recognized a man who was waiting in front of the office. It was an ex-member of the Legion, J D. I knew him quite well because we had spent one year of novitiate together in Italy. He had even been appointed to be my guardian angel to introduce me to the religious life.

I was not aware that he had left the Legion and above all I was very surprised to see him without a cassock or clerical collar.

I walked toward him. He startled, very surprised at seeing me. He did not know that I was actually the leader of the youth activity center. I greeted him and I asked him what he was doing here… Well, he confessed, he had just left the Legion and that he was looking for a job -showing me the newspaper with the ad. I explained to him that I was the one who had created this post and that I was leaving now to join the Paris seminary. I felt a bit of embarrassment on his part… We shared our phone numbers and I told him that, after his meeting, I would invite him to take a beer together in order to share our recent experiences.

I was thinking to myself: well, I have had an extraordinary opportunity with this job. Thanks to it I have been able to overcome many personal difficulties. I was sure that if I supported his candidacy JD would have the job. But for some reason I quickly approached the director in his office and said: Father, I know the man who is about to meet you for the job. He is a former Legionary. I cannot explain why, but I feel this guy is very fragile. Please, trust me, do not hire him. And the Director accepted my suggestion (A new twist to this story will be told later).

The Year Zero

The seminary director asked me to start all over again. The diocese of Paris was very suspicious of the Legion of Christ and its training system. So they wanted me to spend a year at the Maison Saint Augustin (San Augustin House), considered year zero. Why year zero? Because during this year we were not yet seminarians. This is a special year for spiritual foundation and discernment. From the very beginning I was told that nothing compelled me to stay on this path. It was a time to discern the will of God and to test my own capacity for the priesthood. We were immediately told that participating in the year of discernment we were being very generous with the Church and therefore the diocese was contributing to our social care and our individual retirement. It was explained to us that although the above was very expensive it was the diocese? moral duty. And with all our needs covered by the seminary the diocese was also offering us a small salary. I could not help thinking about the 500 Euros the Legion had given me day I left after six years in the order…

The pedagogy at the Paris Seminary was absolutely different from my former experience in the Legion of Christ. Everything was based upon trust and freedom. There was some discipline, of course, but also great flexibility. We were not being constantly watched. For the first time I was told about a principle I had never heard of in the Legion: a spiritual guide or director should never be in position of authority over the seminarians. Never! We did not speak of Spiritual Director, but of Spiritual Guide… And we could even choose the one we wanted!!!

Everyday we gathered in the chapel to pray the liturgy of the hours at lauds and vespers. The atmosphere was again very different. The formation of the diocesan priests revolved around the study of Holy Scriptures. We had very good teachers to introduce the readings… I was amazed and ashamed to discover that, after having spent six years in the Legion, I was totally ignorant about the Bible. During that whole year I studied and read the entire Bible, book by book. This work began to transform many things in my mind… I was beginning to understand that many things in the Legion were somewhat in contradiction with the pedagogy of God which I was witnessing through reading the Bible.

In contrast to this new template I was also beginning to understand that the driving force behind the whole system of the Legion was based on two principles: guilt and seduction. I do not know how many hours I spent that year with my spiritual guide. During our conversations I began to throw up my former experience… becoming more and more aware and convinced that the Legion of Christ was indeed one powerful machine for crushing personality and vocations.

The healing process allowed me to exteriorize the anger I had repressed inside myself for too long. I was angry but, strangely, I was getting better; I was breaking down the walls of inhibition that the Legion had created in my mind. This anger was not bad! As a temperature is a good thing when we are sick because temperature means that our body is defending itself by producing antibodies… my conscience was progressively rejecting all the pathogenic aspects of the Legionary methodology.

I remember that one day a fellow companion asked me during a meal what I thought about the Legion. Spontaneously, I answered: It?s a cult! This was the first time I used the word… and I felt relieved to affirm it.

Admitting this idea, however, leaded me to others difficulties: If I was right it would mean that the Legion of Christ, that was growing in many parts of the Church, having more and more responsibilities in the Vatican, was pushing the Church in a wrong direction.

At that time, however, I could not yet believe that Maciel was guilty of pedophilia… It was too horrible to be true… Even if, somewhere in my mind, I was thinking that it would explain a lot of things. But no, such depravity could not be possible… for many reasons:

    – First of all, despite some cult-like behavior that I was finally admitting, there were the fruits: the enormous centers of formation, the growing number of vocations, the mega-missions, and all those enormous apostolates… all those things were visible proofs of the holy origins of the Legion. Weren’t they? Would God choose a pedophile to create all that?
    – Second, the Legion had introduced an irrefutable defense: on the Web Site of Wikipedia, they had explained regarding the accusations that one of the accusers, Miguel Diaz, had withdrew his accusations, confessing under oath, that he had been approached by people who were trying to attack Fr. Maciel so as to satisfy their personal desire for vengeance. Other people had also confirmed that they had been approached with the same purpose. This defense was very strong: would those people, and the leaders of the Legion, lie without scruples and sell their souls to defend Maciel?
    – Third, there were the many approvals of the Church authorities. Could they have been so blind? And what’s about the Great Blessing? The Church had already carried out an investigation 1955-58… How could those Visitors have been fooled? And all the marvelous stories about the incredible life of Maciel… all were lies?

Informing the Church’s Authorities

Nevertheless, during the vacations of February 2008 I decided to write to my Bishop, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, who was also the President of the French Bishop’s Conference. Such a task was very difficult and hazardous. I was not yet accepted into the seminary… And I was afraid because criticizing a religious congregation blessed by the Church could be seen as a serious lack of humility.

Nevertheless, I had reached the point of no return. Keeping silent meant that I was in league with lies… I had to do it. I had to inform Church authorities about the danger rife in the Church. At this point I felt that I had to take the role of Judas… because the roles had been subtly reversed.

So I wrote a ten pages letter, adding ten other pages of documents. To get it down I spent an entire week alone in my room. As I wrote the first draft I became increasingly upset. Everything was becoming clear in my mind.

I told the Cardinal that I was struggling with my conscience because of my former experience in the Legion, and that I wanted to entrust my doubts to the Church. I explained him that, according to my humble opinion, there were many cult-like behaviors in the religious discipline and in the apostolic methodology. There were many internal contradictions that I could not understand. I put the emphasis on the lack of discernment, the means that the Legion used to make the members feel guilty, the poverty of the spiritual formation, the voluntarism leading to transform faith into an ideology, the idolization of the founder, and the culture of secrecy.

I finally explained that I was very worried about the Apostolic School of Mary-sur-Marne. According to me, there was something very dangerous for the students… It appeared to me that because of the lack of privacy, the lack of freedom, the spirit of guilt… the Legion of Christ could create frustrations among the religious. I told him that I was worrying that this atmosphere of frustration, added to the almighty powers of the superiors, could generate or set off psychological disease leading to pedophilia. I had learned that a light case of pedophilia had recently occurred at the Apostolic School. According to my informant, this was not a big deal because the religious brother perpetrator had been stopped very quickly. He was only accused of some caresses.

Regarding the accusations against the founder, I told him that I did not believe they were true because of the declarations of Miguel Diaz and other reasons I already explained. I sought possible explanations, saying that Fr Maciel, like other founders, had a strong character…

My letter was introduced by a special word of the superior of the Year Zero house. He had followed my thought process and gave his approval for my initiative.

Cardinal Vingt-Trois did not answer me but I know he read it. At the end of the year he visit our house. He greeted me with a friendly smile. I understood that he had read with attention my letter. I began to feel relieved.

Summertime, before Joining the Paris Seminary

At the end of the Year Zero I formally requested to join the seminary. I was feeling much better. At this point I was hoping to put the Legion issue behind me. But there was still something that I could not get out of my conscience: there was a student at the Apostolic School who had joined the school because of me when I was still in the Legion.

Now he was already 16 years old and was going through a troubling period When he was at home for a weekend he called me. I spoke with him very calmly for two or three hours. He could not bear the life in the Apostolic School anymore. He needed to breathe! As I listened I grasped how the Legion had succeeded in brainwashing him. He was full of prejudices about diocesan priests; he was showing off about belonging to the best branch of the Church… At the same time he was trying to find a way to get out – a strange contradiction, very common among legionaries.

As we conversed I helped him understand that it was not a shame to leave. I insisted about the fact that God was a good father: what is the most important thing for a loving father? the personal success of his son… or his happiness? I helped him to analyze some words of his superiors who were trying to make him feel guilty. I told him that this was not fair. This was not true. Those superiors were going above their authority. And I explained to him why. He was relieved by my counsel and was able to leave the Apostolic School despite some bad comments from his Assistant accusing him of fostering rebellion among the students.

But I made a mistake letting him know that I had written to my bishop about my problems of conscience. He shared it to his mother who got upset and immediately informed the Legion Territorial Direction. After a couple of days I received a message from Father J, superior of the Legion?s Paris community. He wanted to meet me urgently. I answered quickly that I could not meet him at this moment because I was about to take care of a summer camp. There were eighty children and I was the person in charge… No time, sorry. In hindsight I understand how my letter could have upset them: The Legionaries had been working for a couple of years to infiltrate the diocese of Paris. They were trying by all the means to seduce the priests and the authorities of the diocese. My letter was jeopardizing all their attempt to infiltrate the diocese.

I was clearly becoming an enemy of the Legion.

The mother of Bernard suspected me of having encouraged his son to leave the Apostolic School. This poor woman who had joined the Regnum Christi Movement became furious. During the summertime she sent me hundreds of text messages everyday insulting me.

But I was becoming free, and relieved to be able to finally act according to my conscience.

First Weeks in the Seminary

At the end of summer I joined officially the seminary of Paris. I thought that the worst was behind me. But something happened once again.

It happened on the very first day of classes. All the students of the Studium were gathered for a special conference by the dean of the studies. There were about one hundred and fifty people in the conference room: around seventy seminarians, maybe thirty teachers, and the remainder were composed of lay students and other people working for the school. At the end of the conference the dean presented the youngest student of the Studium: P N., an 18 year old girl from a family that lived in the Paris suburbs.

I was very surprised. I knew this family.

Flashback:

In 2005 I had been contacted by her parents because they had two children wanting to become priests. Some of their friends, who were members of Regnum Christi, had spoken them about the Apostolic School. They wanted to know more about it. So they invited two Legionaries to dinner.

During the meal I became very moved by the kindness of those people of such modest means. Amidst the typical hubbub of a large family I could feel the joy and spontaneity of people of faith… Something similar to the joy I had felt in other occasions before joining in the Legion. Now I had taken religious vows and wearing a clerical collar but I was spiritually dry. The family invited us to participate in their night prayer, a very simple moment taking no more than ten to fifteen minutes. All the children were gathered together, kneeling or seated around a small altar that had been decorated with drawings and holy pictures. Parents and children began to spontaneously pronounce some words of worship, thanking God for this or that… In the depth of my heart something was moving deeply. There was in the simplicity of this prayer more truth, joy and sincerity than I had experienced during all my years in the Legion. I was very moved. But I had to contain my emotions because I was sent there with the mission of recruiting their children for the Apostolic School.

After the prayer the children went to bed. We stayed alone with the parents. They told us that they had received more information about the apostolic school and were not disposed anymore to entrust their children to the Legion of Christ. One way or the other, I had a good time with them. They were very kind and respectful. As I and my Legion confrere drove home that night I felt someone had slapped me on the face with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I, the consecrated religious coming to evangelize the family… was knocked out by the shinning example of this simple family. The brother who had come with me looked upset.

So, when the Dean of studies said that name I startled. I did not know that girl personally because when I came to visit her family she was not at home. At the break I approached her and told her that I knew her family. The girl was surprised. I said:

A few years ago, I used to be a religious. Your family contacted me to learn a little bit more about the minor seminary run by my former religious order.
Were you in the Legion of Christ?
Yes, I was.

She looked confused. And answered firmly:

My brothers have left the Apostolic School. My parents are disappointed with this congregation.
But, I thought that your brothers did not enter the school…
Yes they did, in 2006. But my parents took them out, two months ago.

She explained me that after our visit her parents were still wondering whether to send their sons or not… They visited the Apostolic School, and later received a visit from Fr. M. Finally, attracted by the good appearance of the school, they accepted to entrust their children to the Apostolic School. But they realized progressively that something was wrong: their children were losing their spontaneity. They were speaking always about Father Maciel, more than Jesus Christ. And, by the way, the academic level of the school was very low.

On this particular day I happened to be carrying a copy of the letter I had written to Cardinal Vingt-Trois. During the next class, I sat at the back of the classroom and wrote a letter to the parents. I briefly told them that I had left the Legion of Christ but had kept a wonderful memory of my visit to their home. I invited them to read the letter that I was attaching to my message begging them not to disclose it to anybody.

That night P N?s mother called me. She was very emotional. She had carefully read the whole document with her husband. She told me that they were finally able to understand what was going on with the Legion. During the two years their children were in the Apostolic School they felt that something was not right. She said something that I will always remember, because I think it summarizes the whole issue: When they joined the Legion, they were praying. When they came back, they were reciting their prayers.

She added that the Legionaries had tried by all their means to prevent the children from leaving the Apostolic School. They even dared to threaten the parents. They became very upset. She told me that I should have spoken more about the cases of pedophilia because that was very serious. I asked her to tell me more. She answered that there was two cases that happened later on. Many children had been psychologically wounded. The first pedophile was French, and the other one, Mexican.

A French brother? But I know all the French brothers in the Legion! I asked her his name but she could not remember. She asked me call back; she would find the name.

Right after this call I made another call; to B, the young boy I already spoke about. His mother answered. She was still very angry at me but she accepted the call. I told her that the family N. had informed me about two cases of pedophilia in the Apostolic School. The mother immediately questioned her son who answered that the N. family was lying because they hated the Legion.

I called the N. family once again. The mother gave me the name of the French offender: Brother J D Brother J D used to be in charge of the Apostolic School students. At night when the children were going to bed he used to call a child into a separate room and fondle him. It happened in 2004 during the General Chapter while the rector was in Rome. From information she had gathered she knew that the rector was willing to e-mail the families, but Fr. G the Territorial Director, forbad him to do so. So, some families learned through other families that their children had been abused… Afterward, the rector went to visit all the families and cried in front of them to express his shame and beg pardon… The Legionaries were acting that way to cover their traces. Without proof they could not sue the Legion.

I could not believe it. Brother J D this ex-brother who had tried to get my job at the oratory. But could it be possible? After our encounter in the oratory he had become my friend of Facebook. A few months later, I learned that he got married. I had sent him a message for the occasion, saying jokingly that he had been very quick… I remember that I had noticed the presence of a Legionary in the wedding picture that he had published on Facebook.

I had to confirm this information. I needed to know the truth… I called him. But he did not answer. I called him, again and again but as soon the phone began to ring he hung up. I tried another number. He answered. I told him very quickly that I had to speak with him about a very serious issue. There were bad rumors about him. I asked him: what happened in the Apostolic School? He became furious and angrily said: You are meddling with things that do not concern you! If you really want to know, you should ask the Legion authorities. And he hung up.

His answer was an acknowledgment. I began to weep alone in my room. I was thinking about the children he could have abused in the oratory if he had been hired…

I called B?s mother again. I told her that I had received confirmations about the abuses, and I told her the name of the French brother. Her son finally confessed:

Yes, it is true.
But you lied to me? You lied to your own mother?
Yes, but you know that in France the media and the government are trying to expel the Legionaries… We must protect the Legion!

I think that this issue led me to appreciate the seriousness of the matter. The last veil that was still over my eyes was torn to shreds. In my mind the Legion was not a real catholic order any more, but a cult suffering from a persecution complex. I told him that we should never fear the truth. But I did not try to argue.

The families of the victims did not sue the Legion. One of those families explained me that they had been invited by the Territorial Director to personally meet with him. The parents thought that Father G wanted to present his personal apology but when they arrived at the Territorial Direction, instead of Father G they had to face the Legion of Christ lawyer. And this lawyer explained to the parents how they would deal with the issue.

French justice is still doing an investigation (in France, for this kind of serious issue concerning sexual abuses of children there is automatically an investigation lead by the police). But without a complaint from the families there is no serious threat for the Legion.

Nieves Garcia – Do Not Be Afraid Message, Former Regnum Christi 3gf

A translation of a message shared by former Regnum Christi consecrated member Nieves Garcia Click Here for message as posted in Spanish and English on Ex Legionaries Blogspot.

Her letter describes how she and other consecrated women lived in an atmosphere of fear that paralyzed them and made them feel vulnerable. She refers to the strange concept of obedience and the ongoing deceit.

One night when reading scriptures, Jesus’ words let not your heart be troubled, believe in Me spoke to her heart in a special way. This insight gave her renewed courage to face her worst fears and to break free.

ReGAIN Comment:
From the book of Genesis (15:1) to Revelation (1:17) God reassures us to not be afraid. When Jesus appeared to His apostles after the first Easter, He told them to be at peace.

Nieves Garcia shared her experience of living in fear in an environment of blind obedience that included accepting lies from superiors. When she turned to Jesus, she discovered the inner peace and freedom that she had been seeking.

This is a powerful testimony from a 48 year old woman without social security who through God’s grace was granted the courage to do what she felt was right for her. What a wonderful message she has for people in any difficult situation to find freedom by turning ones life over to God and trusting in Him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with this brave woman and with all those who are willing to say no? to enslavement and dishonesty and to open their hearts minds and spirits to Jesus, believing and trusting that He has a plan for them, that He will provide for their needs and lead them to where they are truly called to be.