Victims of Abuse Urge Vatican to Shut Down Legion of Christ Schools

A group of 77 women who attended a high school run by the Legions of Christ is calling on the Vatican to shut down the program. In a letter to the Pope’s envoy, the women described the psychological abuse that they suffered while “trying to live like teenage nuns,” including anorexia, stress-induced migraines, depression and suicidal thoughts.

The women who signed the letter suffered a wide variety of traumatic experiences. They were forced to follow strict rules, detailing how they should walk, sit, pray and eat. They never had more than five minutes between activities so that there was no time for self-reflection. They were prevented from making friends, had to obey strict silence for much of the day, and had very limited contact with their families.When the girls developed health problems, including anorexia, migraines, sight problems, they were forbidden from telling their parents and were prevented from seeing a doctor or going to a hospital. In the end, the abuse suffered by these women cost them many years of psychological treatment costing tens of thousands of dollars.

On the blog 49 weeks a year, some of the women have been sharing their stories:

  • Sarita wrote: “One of the most damaging aspects of the PC was the manipulation of conscience and Godís Will. Everything was considered Godís Will: the norms, the schedule, your director, and your spiritual director. If you were told to do anything you were expected to obey instantly with a spirit of supernatural obedience and without questioning.”
  • Tricia wrote: “The continual need to find fault with each and every action and report my failings not only to my confessor but often to my spiritual director and sometimes even peers created a deep sense of insecurity and self loathing. The Regnum Christi Movement implemented several activities to find and express oneʼs faults to the point of creating a scrupulous conscience. More importantly, the danger that persists is that you begin to have a disgust for yourself.”
  • Frances wrote: “How is it that 80 girls could live so close together, do absolutely everything together for years, and yet know so little about each other? I think we were only allowed to speak a total of about 30 minutes a day, maybe less. The rest of the time we walked about like drones, taking in what we were told we could take in, nothing more, nothing less.”
  • Elle wrote about the difficulty re-adjusting to normal life afterward: “I felt very lost not being able to see Godís plan for me in black and white, literally in black and whiteÖat ICA our schedule for the day was printed and posted and we were told it was Godís will. I didnít know how to deal with boys, dating, coworkers, college, drinking, drugs, or conflicts with friends.”

Some of the women told of broken confidences, where the priest was given a record of their behaviour prior to them attending confession so that he could reinforce messages about “God’s Will” for that child. The practices described by these women are reminiscent of the tactics used by cults to brainwash members, render them helpless and prevent them from seeking outside help or leaving.

The school’s director, Margarita Martinez, claims that they have made significant changes and apologized for the past suffering of the women. She told the Associated Press: “For any errors made by our order in the past, we do apologize. We’re sorry these young women have suffered and been harmed in any way.”

In addition to asking the Vatican to shut down the program, the women say that they are now telling their stories to warn parents not to send their children to these programs.

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Photo credit: on flickr


Cindi Martin
Cindi Martin5 years ago

Really folks you are talking about an organization that refused to do anything back in the 50s when the founder sodomized young seminarians, so the Vatican doing anything about young girls being abused is not happening

Sandra Fuenterosa
Sandra F6 years ago

Hello, Sandra S from Sandra F: There is NO proof of any kind that Joshuah ben Joseph ever existed. And if he did, his true name would have been Hebrew, not the Greek name Jesus Christ, which the nascent Christian religion gave him. Had anyone addressed him by that name he would not have known whom they were talking to. If he existed, according to the New Testament, he was a Jewish rabbi, and rabbis in those days, did not convert to other religions nor invent them. In that era, however there were many soapbox preachers who prolaimed themselves the Messiah, an apocalyptic Jewish figure, not a founder of a new religion. It was really
Constantine who used the new Christianreligion to bind together all the various peoples he had conquered, into a new empire. He, himself never converted to it. He was a brilliant man, but a congenital liar who murdered his sons and wives. Nice person to follow as a spiritual model!
There ia no document anywhere that speaks of Christ´s existence except a letter supposedly written by the Judaeo/Roman general Josephus, which has been proven to be a forgery written 200 or so years after Christ´s era. Believing in a loving omnipotent Creator is one thing, believing in human stories is another.

Sandra Fuenterosa
Sandra F6 years ago

Sorry, in my comment I mistakenly typed 1818 for the year the Suffragettes attained the vote and right to study in university. The correct year was 1918. One hundred years would have made a tiny, and always grateful difference, but considering women have bee enslaved for approximately 10,000 of humanity´s 3 million years on the planet, it would still have been only a blip in our long period of enslavement.

Sandra Fuenterosa
Sandra F6 years ago

In response to LeAnne´s comment about the church being ¨the old boys´ network¨...what on earth isn´t? Over the past 10,000 years
after men destroyed the matiarchies, they´ve spent most of their time waging war all war al over the planet, enslaving,
prostituting and murdering women at wiil. Until 1818, when Brisith and Amrican suffragettes fought for and attained, the right to vote and go to university for the first time in history, women were treated either as children, slaves or prostitutes...
subject to the whims and wills of the men who ¨owned¨ them. So, the church, like all social organizations, is really no better nor worse than any other male-created organiation. What angers us is that is purports to be God´s representative on earth. Well thank goodness, people are begining to wake up and realize that religions do not really represent the Divine Intelligence any more than banks do. If the organization was created and is run by fallble, testosterone,violence-motivated, men. Good men do exist, but judging from the state of the world, in general, they constitute a very minor percentage of humanity.

Leanne B.
Leanne B6 years ago

Old boys corrupt network is what that church is. Always trying to keep women down and wounding children around the world. I left the church behind many years back now. And have never been happier!

Kasia Y.
Kasia Y.6 years ago

The church should be shut down, it's assets used to pay damages to victims of christianity (islam should suffer the same consequences), and the pope and other top leaders brought before the world court on crimes against humanity. Religion must be stamped out.

June Lacy
June Lacy6 years ago


Brian Sklar
Brian Sklar6 years ago

What else can you expect from a church which defends child sex abusers with legions of lawyers? As one who was abused as an altar boy, nothing surprises me when it comes to the actions of the Catholic Church. The priest who abused me was sent to a seminary in Manitoba and then expelled when he abused young men there. There is no record of him ever having been in the city where I was abused, and all evidence was buried when they kicked him out of the priesthood. But it gets better...he eventually got a job as a parole officer for young offenders! After all, there was no record of what he had done, so it was like a smorgasbord for an abuser! He and several others from the sex ring committed suicide just before they were to go on trial back in 1999. Check out the Cornwall Inquiry on line. By hiring a whole raft of high powered lawyers, the Church managed to bury the whole issue. So nothing surprises me, when it comes to the Catholic Church. Disgusting!

Marianne Barto
Marianne B6 years ago

It saddens me greatly to hear of activities as these for innocent young girls, who simply want to be nuns..not treated this way and be manipulated by a certain sect. So, I have to agree to shut it down, if this is how they are treated. Is this just in Mexico?

Carol Fyfe-Wilson

It is all about power and control, especially of females.