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I apologize that this comment is so long, but whenever I see another testimonial about the apostolic schools, particularly Center Harbor, I feel the urge to chime in. One of these days I’m sure I will get around to writing a large entry for REGAIN’s testimonials segment, but for now, here’s a portion of it pertinent to the post above.

It is an over-simplification to describe an attempt to explain or withhold truth about the apostolic school experience with a parent as lying. As a former legionary who joined at twelve years old I can attest that even if I had known what parts of the life-style would appear twisted to my parents, I didn't have the vocabulary to describe them with.

When I was in ninth grade I wrote my parents a letter in November that in no uncertain terms explained that I couldn’t come back after Christmas. I handed the letter in sealed and assumed that when I didn’t hear about it from Steffy that the letter must have made it through. But when my parents never acknowledged my situation, I assumed that leaving was out of the question to them and, in the first of many acts of complete despair, gave up my resistance for the time being.

The summer before my final year at NH I told my mother in no uncertain terms that I would not return at the end of July. When prompted to explain myself, all I could say was that I was not happy. I had been under LC control for years, 12-17, some pretty formative ages. I didn’t know enough to realize that what I was experiencing was contrary to catholic teaching regarding respect for myself, my conscience, and all of the topics that are regularly discussed on this blog. In short, I believed that the LC was just what it purported to be because I had nothing to judge it by except what it had taught me. My parents’ solution that summer was to tell me that I could either return to NH or be sent to another catholic boarding school (described to me as a minor seminary) for my final year. To me the choice was to stay in NH which I already knew or go to another school with strangers that I expected to be exactly the same experience.

A lot of words to make a simple point: the formation of those in the LC is designed to make them incapable of critically evaluating their own personal situation. This formation is very effective, especially for those who join through apostolic schools. The effects are long lasting, remember what we are talking of is raising children. After depression and despair have finally been called by name and dealt with, it is time to learn how to interact with people without using, demeaning, judging etc. And after this is over one has to learn what it means to trust. And on and on and on...

I can’t imagine everyone’s experiences were the same. I’m sure they varied wildly. But I’ve learned that the positive experiences don’t make the horrible ones any less real. A place capable of breaking a child so thoroughly is scary. A place that can do so without remorse is dangerous. One that can do so and believe that its actions are in the child’s best interest is delusional.

Please, if anyone else who reads this spent time in Center Harbor, I urge you to share a little about your experiences, good and bad.

Dear A120, thank you for sharing your story. I hope you had an opportunity to share these details with Abp Chaput.

If you don't mind my asking, is your family still involved in RC at all? Does your family now have clear knowledge of your experience?

It would be so helpful for other families to hear about these experiences before they send their sons off to the apostolic schools. When I was in RC, families with sons in the apostolic school or daughters in RC formation seemed to be the royalty of the movement. Unfortunately, I get the sense that many of our young people paid a heavy price so their parents could enjoy that status. I do not mean this to slam your parents, A120, as I too was one of those parents who hoped and prayed for that special status (which fortunately, never occurred in my family, thanks be to God)

My prayers are with you as you move forward, A120.

sheepish,

My parents are out and we've sorted through the experience in our own way. there was a lot in common between our experiences of LC and RC since they both quit their careers to run a family center for the Legion full-time which was an intense, rough, and under-paid experience for them and my siblings. Not having to feel like I was thrown into my experience while they sat on the sidelines helped me to forgive them outright and get on with the work of becoming a part of the family again.

A120,

I was consecrated for a few years, and I joined in my early 20s. I can relate to those feelings of unhappiness, and even I who was older couldn't express what was going on, even to myself, until years later.

I could just imagine how difficult it would be at such a younger age.

I'm glad to know that you are out and that you are on the road to recovery. I wish you and your family all the best.

A120 = laundry number of J.B. Aren't you the same person as the author of B.V.P. Is your brother still LC?

A025,
J.B.'s laundry number is A 124 and yes I am the blogger at BVP. Who are you?

A=some number that is not your true Identity.

I want to tell all of you who have been through what the original poster here has expressed that there are those out here who are praying for you and have been praying for you for decades.

God Bless you. God Bless you for your witness and God Bless you for your suffering.

God Bless you, however, especially for your beautiful faces. He has seen them. He knew them. He knows them and He has not forgotten you.

Thanks for your testimony. It gives me much, much hope.

Hey James! I'm MB. I joined a year before you but was in 8th grade when you were in 9th and in 11th when you were in 12th: the two years we were together. That laundry number brought back memories. The 120s were those who joined in 1996: 121 & 122 were the two brothers from Michigan. I can't remember who 120 was. Perhaps MS? Thanks for sharing your testimony. Having been so young at the time I at least tended to think everyone had the same experience as I did: fairly spaced-out and enjoying the day-to-day camaraderie. Since then I've learned different, thanks to testimonies like yours from former companions. Their experiences varied wildly, as A120 says above, and I appreciated hearing all of them. Some were much more positive even than my own; others weren't. Some made me wonder how I could have not realized someone was so unhappy and if I could have done something to be a better friend or even a friend at all. I'm just glad that we're all talking now.

Hey, I'm having a hard time figuring out your game of initials, but lets see if I can do it 20 questions style. Louisiana and several brothers MB?
-DR

No, a year ahead of you MB. Seattle. DR=Connecticut then Notre Dame?

yes. not sure how intent you are on hanging onto this anonymous thing so... like broccoli?

Amen :)

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