Thursday, May 31, 2012

Susan's Story

I am among those who did not suffer obvious ill at the PC. I, unlike many, love rigorous schedules and often just suck up and accept arbitrary regulations. I am a stoic by nature, to a fault. So, I did not have the traumatic experiences that others had of feeling pressured, having nightmares, etc. You might say that I was “cut-out” for the PC. Looking back and reflecting, however, I think my experience shows even more so how it was flawed at its foundations and would prove damaging to anyone.

First, as someone mentioned earlier, the PC stunted my ability to make friendships. I had normal, healthy friendships with boys and girls in middle school. But then, at the PC, I had to stop cultivating many of these because it wasn’t really encouraged, was it? Some of these friendships I’m still trying to make up for the two years I lost. And it wasn’t as if the PC made up for this. Now, all those who I was a PC with, I love you! But I don’t think I could say in honesty that I had a true friendship with anyone of you. I wish I could have met you outside of the PC. And this is because I did not open up ONE BIT to any of my “companions.” We weren’t supposed to, so I didn’t. I actually remember thinking ill of one PC who was more familiar to another PC. A little twisted, I’d say, and I still regret it. Oh! And not knowing why or when another PC would leave?! I always was a little dumbfounded by that, but I just kept going on and didn’t question. Another bad fruit: I also became estranged from some of my immediate family. Again, I’m still trying to make up for the distance my two PC years created.

Second, I feel utterly betrayed that RC claimed the simple zeal that is typical of young people. It’s hard not to become almost cynical after you throw yourself headlong into a thing, sincerely believing that you are serving Christ by good means, and it turns out that the seemingly most sound things are actually horrible.

Third, the persecution complex that was fostered at the PC is extremely harmful, I think. I hate sounding like I’m construing things as a conspiracy theory, but it is very unsettling that we were all in a way prepared for persecution (wasn’t there something in MM’s “letters” that talked about a certain number of crosses or something?), that we were discreetly taught to distrust and look down upon other groups within the Church. We all knew that RC was going to be hated wherever it went, but nonetheless, we should keep doing all the good we knew we were! It’s awful. I’m still turned off when I hear defenses of RC and the news about MM saying that we all have crosses to bear, etc…. And remember learning about the movement’s foundation? Wasn’t it strange that it was such a good thing that the letter from the Vatican meant to stop its founding happened to be in the mail office, just not delivered? Didn’t we all think, back then, “What a miracle!” But wasn’t it slightly odd that we held RC sort of higher and better than the Church in a way? And now, I can’t help wondering why it was so difficult for MM to be ordained, why he got kicked out of so many seminaries. I used to think these were all trials sent to prove the movement’s greatness. I definitely don’t think so anymore.

Fourth, to those who think the rigorous norms of the PC are similar to religious life, I can’t really say. But I do know that almost never do nuns leave their orders once they’ve taken their final vows. Yet many consecrated, especially those I most looked up to, were constantly leaving. I never could get my head around that as a PC discerning such a vocation as I firmly held that a commitment of one’s life should be for life. That so many were continually and still are leaving shows a severe and deep flaw, I think.

Finally, thank goodness my Mom started having misgivings by the end of my 10th grade year and pulled me out! That same year, the news came out about MM. If I was at the PC, I think that I would have fallen into the persecution complex, summoned all my stoicism, and kept fighting “for the Movement.” What the heck was and is the Movement?! Good thing I was at home and was in a setting that allowed me to realize that it was good and healthy to question (differing from doubting) that RC was not, in fact, a supreme and ultimate good. I basically cut myself off entirely from RC for a while, mostly because I feared falling back into my previous mindset. I still am fighting against the pressure and guilt of not sticking it out, especially as superiors had said such things to me as, “You will be a pillar in the Precandidacy” or “I look forward to seeing your progression in holiness.” Such things should never be said! It leads to a false and twisted humility.

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