This is one of a thirty part exposé on the Children of the Legion. This group of women, then girls, in the Regnum Christi, share their stories of abuse, neglect and the aftermath of being children in the Regnum Christi. For a complete list of stories to date, view Children of the Legion.
I would like to share one thing with all the former precandidates, if you are trying to figure out why you were treated the way you were, I suggest you give up and remember the following – your formators had NO TRAINING WHATSOEVER on how to help you be a better person, how to respect your human rights, how to develop your personal talents or help you discern a vocation. The only training they were given was how to get you to comply with the ideals and discipline and how to make you feel God’s calling.
We acted as if we were equipped for the task set out for us, and interpreted attitudes, family background, any silly thing into a psychological diagnosis, then used that to determine if you had a vocation or not.
Those of you who were told you didn’t have a vocation probably did not fit the mold of the perfect 3gf or you weren’t easy to brainwash – you thought for yourselves and were not “docile.”
If any of you had an obvious best friend, we got really scared and concluded you did not have a calling. If you had a “particular friendship,” you would be asked to leave, or we would be overly strict with you so you would decide to leave on your own.
We all definitely thought we were doing God’s will. Sometimes something we said to a PC came directly from a vice-director or director who asked us to mention it to a certain PC, sometimes we didn´t even know why, but we trusted.
So, if you feel confused because you don’t understand why someone treated you a certain way well, this might be 80% or 90% of your answer. No one saw you as an END, only as a MEANS to benefit the Movement and enlarge the numbers for the consecrated life.
I know, things are changing, there are more humane rules, etc etc blah blah blah… I am talking about how it was THEN, before 2009 (maybe 2010). Formation for formators was offered after they had the job, not before, they were not tested to ensure they could carry out the task.
The lack of training, the youth and inexperience of the consecrated who were charged with forming you, and the excessive power we were given, magnified our flaws and defects and you were the fallout.
Just remember, there isn’t, nor was there anything wrong with you girls, and don’t worry if you can’t solve the whole puzzle.
We had very clear guidelines on our role and on how to lead you, but authority was given too much power and too little responsibility.
Everyone was taught to treat those in authority like little gods and never to question them, correct them or doubt them. That was unbalanced and made our defects, flaws, mistakes and egotism influence our actions and attitudes.
No one consciously thought she was damaging the PCs, but I bet many of us did question if those means were right. Some of us even made suggestions of changes, but not even the director herself was listened to.
Every week we sent reports on human and practical matters about the PCs under our care to the vice-director. Every two months, we all put together a report the director sent to the territorial director, informing on each point of the yearly work program for the Precandidacy. And attached “particular cases” of PCs either because of their leadership as future formators or because they were trouble, or their family was trouble, or because we had questions.
Once upon a time, a territorial director came to visit. The topic of one of the meetings was that we realized we had divided PCs in 3 groups (accidentally): “future formators” (leaders, good recruiters or very obedient PC’s who influenced others), trouble/issue/always sick/reluctant PCs and THE NORMALS!!! hahahahaha We realized we were not dedicating time or attention to the normals because we had our hands full with all the goals they gave us to form the FF and trying to make peace with the trouble PCs.
So we had all these resolutions to attend to the “normals”. Believe it or not, if you were on the “normals” list, you are probably not hurting much now, did not feel pressure to leave or stay, we did not worry if you never went for dependence and we did not inform much about you.
One thing I still can’t understand is that there was never any sex ed! Perhaps this is why so many have had difficulties with sentimental relationships, emotions, dating and even husbands. Maybe you got that education later on – lucky you! Some left their home at 14 or 15 and went back at 18 or in their 20s. During that time many of your friends had their hearts broken, got sharper at dating, lost naivity and had helpful experiences regarding sexuality (some not helpful at all hahaha). And then the ex-pc arrives home and the whole guy thing gets complicated, she does not know how to handle it. I find the lack of sex ed at the PC and even 3gf life to also be one of the “damaging” aspects, even if we didn’t clearly notice it. Some 3gf suggested to higher superiors to include some books on sex education during formation years. The answer was no, it was “imprudent” because, what if they got aroused while reading that information? (yep, my jaw dropped too when I heard the answer).
This story is a testimony from the 49 Weeks Blog. You can see this and more stories by visiting 49 Weeks.