DaniNZ's mental meanderings below underscore a deeper question about God's will and how He brings good out of evil. Consider her experience and let's get to the heart of the matter. Despite cranky comments to the contrary, these musings are important because MANY very good men and women feel bound to the Legion because of it was the instrument of their spiritual awakening. (Think of dear old Sand Pounder.) Those with a real education in life and the faith may be able to put into words how to move forward in the healtiest way possible.
I must say as of late I've found this discussion quite hard. Not because of anyone here's statements, but I see coming up again and again that most people believe this institution to be at its essence diabolical and needing to be suppressed. Basically its a rotten tree. I'm still not sure and I'll explain why.
Please note this is not the 'but the Movement does good' or my 'experience was good' argument, I just am wrestling with this in my head. Prior to being a coworker I was not really a practising catholic at all. I was heading in bad directions and had ZILCH formation in any faith. I had made the decision to become a coworker many years prior and did solely based off 'it sounding like a good idea at the time.' My time overseas changed me completely. Now was it God, was it HIS grace, the church, the sacraments? ABSOLUTELY.
That being said I have had to make extremely difficult decisions in my life where I have CLEARLY recognised the voice of God and giving a third year overseas was one of them. It was not an idea suggested to my by my spiritual director, a thoroughly phenomenal women (Denise F). Indeed my SD spent the whole of my second year working through deeply heartbreaking emotional issues and instead of tellnig me to go do an RC prayer, or apostolate, always told me to take time out of my day, no matter how busy I was to spend time in prayer with Christ in the Eucharist, not doing group prayers, or anything like that. Just being with Him. It was in those years that I fell in love with Christ.
And I was so very lucky; each year my spiritual directors were phenomenal women who respected my human freedom, and guided me to be the best women I could be. In fact in my third year a lot of the strict rules surrounding coworker were relaxed for me because both my confessor and SD recognised my need to connect more with the 'real world' (as opposed to community) because I had never learned to live my faith in the real world.
So now; was my spending three years overseas something God NEVER intended but yet got good out of it? Or did he always want me to have that time? And if he did, does that mean he sent me to spend time at a diabolical institution and just protected me from the worst? I can tell you now, knowing the environment here in NZ and my personality nothing EXCEPT a radical change would have brought me to my knees before God and brought me into personal relationship with him.
None of this means I need to stay with RC and in fact, while I am waiting for the Holy See, am most likely going to leave. I have always recognised the horrific problems and agreed 99% of the time with most of the people here. But how do I fit what happened in those three years with Gods plan? This is my current struggle because though I am so angry at RC, angry at the manipulation, I am not angry at my time overseas. And I never really bought into the whole recruitment thing, for me it was about connecting with other young people, being there for them, getting to know them. I loved it. I recognise massive problems in the apostolic stuff and I am in no way DEFENDING it. I'm just trying to explain my own experience and where it came from and how it fits in.