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My son was left alone in an empty house in Venezuela while the rest of the community went off to some event in Brazil. He had a fever of 102 and would not have been allowed to fly with the group. His letter home written at that time, without censor to read it, began, "By the time you get this letter, I will either be dead or recovered..." When he wrote the letter, he may well have believed it to be his last communication with those who loved him and that he once loved back home. We shed many tears because there is no way to communicate with a son whose "last known address" was somewhere in Venezuela and who had no phone number that he could give to his family. Although he recovered from that event, he was discovered to have no vocation, after 9 years in the Legion. When he came home, he looked like a survivor of Andersonville prison -- emaciated, sallow, hollow-eyed, and with a body-racking cough. This was our beloved son! We could not reach him or help him. THIS WAS MY SON!

MG, I am so sorry. That is heartbreaking.

Dear Archbishop Chaput.....

MG, please send this testimony in to Archbishop Chaput if you have not done so already.

shepherd@archden.org

I pray your son has healed from his experiences.

When I was in Cheshire, there was one brother whose job it was to load the frozen food into the freezer. The constant back and forth from the freezer to outside left him with double pneumonia. His symptoms were ignored for a couple of weeks while his cough and fever got worse. Eventually he was taken to the local clinic and diagnosed. He was excused from his normal duties and put on bed rest. Fr. William, our novice master, ridiculed him mercilessly for "sleeping all day", "being lazy", and even for his congested breathing ("Brothers, don't snore like Brother X. It makes you sound stupid.") I was in Cheshire through the Fall and though I asked permission, I was not allowed to put on a sweater when the house was cold. When I was finally allowed to leave, I arrived home with a nice cough and a case of bronchtis. The LC's don't have a great track record when it comes to the well being of its members.

LC '89,

If I remember well, Fr. William Izquierdo (I suppose he's the novice master you're referring to), was at some point accused of sexual molestation. Does anyone remember any of this?

What a piece of work, this Fr. William. Like Fr. Donal in Rome, he is a poster boy for Legionary Charity.

This makes me SICK!!!!

I am a mother to six, and the bear in me is trying to come out; and it is the largest, meanest grizzly bear you can imagine.

I hope and pray for comfort and healing for those of you who have been so horribly abused -

When I gave a year I got severe bronchitis. There was no effort to take care of it, I had to go home to get a doctor's care.

Once I asked my directress if she knew my parents' names, address or phone number. She wondered aloud why she would want to know that. (my parents weren't Catholic) I asked her what she would do if anything happened to me. If I got very sick, injured, or worse, who would she contact? She hurredly pushed the back of a receipt to me and told me to write contact info on the back of it.

I knew she was inept and uncaring. I'm sorry to say that I stayed in because I excused the bad things I saw as cultural differences. I assumed that there was a holy, wholesome core to the group that I just had to find. As a convert I fully trusted that the Church would not allow an organization that was as fraudulent as this one turned out to be.

MG - "This was our beloved son!" Your son's experience and your inability to reach out and help him and then to see him return debilitated is harrowing: my heart aches for your powerlessness at not being able to reach him. I hear your anguish.

I was in an order for 10 years: nothing like this ever happened even for the missionaries in Bangaldesh or Peru. Sick members were treated or sent home for further intensive medical treatment unavailable in a specific country. Families were contacted.
(I was very ill twice: sisters visited, responded to my needs and a physician was called to the convent!).
Giselle wrote above:
"Medical neglect seems all too common; only connecting the dots is the criminal activity in their eyes."
I surely hope that your son recovered on every level: body, soul and mind.

Archbishop Chaput does know about this. I sent him a long letter detailing this and many other incidents. He was very kind. One of the men who accused Maciel, Jose Barba-Martin -- a very kind and good man -- said that he believed that it would be the mothers who would take down the Legion. If prayers and tears can do so, then the entire fraudulent enterprise will implode under its own bloated corruption. Mum26, I like your big mean grizzley bear! Thanks for your kindness, everyone. God can and does send healing to families, even as St. Raphael is sent to minister to individuals, like our son. So, hold fast, if any of you are where I was. The reality of home as Domestic Church is no empty platitude -- the very strength of God is in the foundations of the family, even as it is in the greater Church Militant. But our family's pilgrimage, interesting as it has been, has been anything but a walk in the park.

My own experiences were quite mild. I suffered from chronic headaches for a year or so (I still suffer from them -- no doctor has been able to do anything but offer me pain medication), and my formators did feel bad for me. I was dispensed from having to ask the vice-director's permission to get aspirin; I could go straight to my assistant and ask for it. I was also given permission to wear sunglasses outside. Sometimes all I wanted was to lie down, but I was not given this permission.

I had also, for a time, a hacking cough or wheeze, especially when outside for sports. I thought it might be asthma (in fact, I hoped it was, so I could get out of sports, which I hated) and told my directors. They badgered my parents to have me sent to a doctor -- which was hard to do with their insurance -- but eventually I did go and was told I did not have asthma. From then on out I was expected to perform like the others at sports, and was given very harsh criticism when I failed to. They basically saw my wheezing for all that time as a ploy to get out of sports, and since I turned out to be fine, they weren't going to let it go. I no longer wheeze like that, so I have no idea what it was. I was NOT faking, though.

There was a time, right after we came back from Rome, when almost every single one of us got very sick. It was a flu that made you dizzy -- people would even pass out. After we'd all gotten through the worst day or so and could stand up, we weren't allowed to stay in bed anymore. It was Christmas break, so most students were at home (sick with their families), and they needed us to keep the place running. So the 15 or so of us that were left had housework days -- I remember I washed windows. We had special food at meals, and got a lot of laughs out of the fact that none of us could walk a straight line. I don't remember seeing any of the consecrated sick.

That was probably the most egregious thing -- although, in their position, I'm not sure what they were supposed to do. There weren't enough people healthy to serve those of us who were sick.

Has anyone heard the story of the consecrated who died on a plane trip? We were always told it as an "inspiration" to continue faithfully in our vocation until death, but it always creeped me out. I don't remember what she died of, just that it was very sudden.

I have a friend whose son was at the school in New Hampshire. They were ice skating on the lake and he told the Br. in charge that his feet were so cold they hurt. It was ignored and he ended up with frostbite.

I forgot to mention: one VERY hard-and-fast rule for us was not to talk about our health problems with our companions. So when one of us was sick, the only way you might tell is that they stayed in from an outing, stood on the sidelines at sports, or had a special diet -- you would never be told, by them or anyone else, what was the matter.

While my family does not have any personal health issue stories w/r/t the Legion, consecrated or coworker programs, I do know that our section has lost a number of young women over the years who were assigned to work here as coworkers but who had to up and leave in the middle of their service due to unspecified health issues. I recall wondering several times just what could be happening to make these girls sick. No details were divulged and when our section ass't at the time was asked she would equivocate or change the subject.

Now I realize that much of it could be stress-induced, including sleep deprivation!

Another thing I noticed was that our coworker teams always seemed to be getting in auto accidents. This was a common ocurrence, to the point that it was almost expected. While some passed it off as just part of their age, I thought it was highly unusual. Responsible young adults simply don't spend their time cracking up the company car, especially on a regular basis.

Again, now I'm beginning to suspect their driving mishaps were the result of stress and sleep deprivation.

Well, now I have the answer! Thank you!

A friend of mine was concerned about the health of a middle-aged LC who was ill for months with a cough. She finally called the local LC Superior to ask if there was something she could do to help. Possibly drive him to a doctor? Pay for an appointment? His response was short and quick, "Don't worry. We take care of our own."
The flipside? Some of the LC's I knew would take pleasure in the sympathy they would receive from the families. I'm sure a few were sending donation requests shortly afterward.

I broke a bone in my foot playing soccer while in the LC. My foot swelled up and my superior was reluctant to allow me to get medical attention.

I also know of a brother that fell asleep at the wheel of vehicle and crashed it...this was at Cheshire on Cheshire property...talk about sleep deprivation....he was plowing snow and fell asleep!

On a trip to Rome I got terribly sick (fever, hacking cough, dizziness and fatigue, just a little delirious). I was left completely alone. After 2 days, Elena Sada brought me a bowl of soup. That is the extent of the attention, medical or otherwise, that I got.

As soon as I could get out of bed, I said I'd like to go home. It took them 2 or 3 days to call me a cab; I had to keep asking. I never understood why they dragged their feet on letting me leave. They obviously had no intention of helping me, so why not just let me go?

nyota,

Sorry to hear your story. I'm sure they didn't want you to get home UNTIL you were (more) fully recovered, to avoid complaints from your parents.

After the story broke out back in the 90s about the two Legionary novices (or brothers) who had to literally escape from their center because they wouldn't let them leave, I asked Fr. Bannon why the brothers weren't allowed to leave when they requested it.

Fr. Bannon's explanation went something like this: "When people are in an altered state of mind, they tend to make wrong, mindless choices they don't really mean. So we wanted to let them cool off first, and for them to have enough 'serene' time to think and pray about it."

As much as I was heavy Kool-Aid drinker back then, I didn't like Fr. Bannon's answer at all, and I was quietly frustrated by it.

I do know for a fact that the 3gf's in our area must get their medical care for free. Parents who are physicians or dentists at the LC school here are asked if they can provide free care or know of someone who can.


When I was a novice in Italy, my mother mailed me a toothbrush, maybe some toothpaste, and probably some dental floss. She had sunk thousands of dollars into my teeth through 6 years of braces, 4 wisdom teeth removals, 4 gum grafts, and 1 filling. My mom is a nurse. She was not about to let the Legion ruin my teeth out of neglect. When her package arrived, my Novice Instructor opened the box and looked through its contents. He then told me that Americans are obsessed about their teeth. To his credit, I'm pretty sure he let me keep those items. Okay, your superior, God's will for you, a novice, who knows nothing about anything, tells you that Americans are obsessed about teeth. How are you supposed to process that? A good LC would agree with him and say "yes Father" and forever adhere his mind to what God had just told him through his superior.

When I was in Salamanca, another brother became terribly sick and lied in bed for days. He was eventually taken to the emergency room, only after his appendix had already burst and become infected. He almost died. He came back a few weeks later as a living skeleton. He eventually recovered and eventually left the Legion. I am glad to say that I have recently found him on facebook and he seems to be doing fine with his family in Mexico.

To my knowledge, your standard LC does not have any sort of medical coverage whatsoever. If certain LC's develop a condition or their medical expenses increase, I believe that they are issued insurance. I think this happens if you get cancer or some very serious disease like that.

I never had insurance during my 10 years in the Legion. I thought it was a liberating experience to be completely in God's hands. Thing is, I wasn't in God's hands directly, I was in the hands of men who in no way had my health as their main concern. It was one of their concerns, but it was not their main concern.

I had two simple surgeries while I was in the Legion and the Legion paid for them out of its pocket. I'm thinking that I probably asked my parents to help pay for it too, I'm not sure though. At least that money from the LC general fund did not go towards Maciel's girlfriends or his children.

One of the LC priests I worked with told me a story about when he was in charge of the summer candidacy program in Cheshire back in the late 80's or early 90's. One candidate, a big strapping young man who I believe is still an LC priest today, skinned his shin badly. It became infected, but he was carefree, trusting in God in everything, like the rest of the bunch, so he continued playing sports and swimming in the murky pond outside. I'm under the impression that at least one assistant told him not to play sports, but he continued to play regardless. A few days passed, the infection worsened, and a black line started to creep up his leg. The priest who told me this story (he was a brother at the time) took this young man to the hospital. While the young man was in the room, the doctor walked outside to speak with the brother in private. The doctor told the brother that he was fairly confident that he would be able to save the leg. The young man's leg had developed gangrene!

A few months ago these stories would have shocked me -- but now I know that neglect of people under their care is the LC/RC practice. Doesn't make it any less infuriating, though.

BTW, about the dental health issue -- recent research has strongly linked poor dental health -- including failure to use dental floss -- to cardiac disease. So your mom who is a nurse was absolutely right, not only about your teeth, but about your overall health -- and the arrogant LC/RC person, as usual, was completely in the wrong. (Shouldn't have questioned mother's judgment in the first place -- who does he think he is?)

Off topic-- I noticed that Thomas Williams has an article in National Review Online today, and that his bio no longer mentions an LC affiliatiation.

Could they have dropped it on purpose to further confuse the issue of who's out and who's in? After all, if all the LC priests drop the LC at once, you can't tell who's Ex-LC and who's still in.....

Or maybe that's just Staurday AM paranoia talking......

Mouse,

Impossible to be paranoid about the sneakiness of LC/RC! Once you think you see something -- LC/RC has already been doing it for a long time!

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