Photo: Associated Press
Women who attended a Legion Of Christ high school are asking the Vatican to shutter it, claiming their strictly regimented lives there tormented them psychologically.The women wrote the Vatican this weekend, claiming they suffered anorexia, stress-induced migraines, depression, and suicidal thoughts after attending Rhode Island’s Immaculate Conception Academy, the Associated Press reported.
“I have many defining and traumatic memories that I believe epitomize the systematic breakdown of the person,” Mary, one of the women who agreed to talk about her experiences, told the AP. “The feelings of worthlessness, shame and isolation that are associated with those memories are still vivid and shocking.”
She developed anorexia after joining the school and dropped down to 85 pounds, the AP reported.
In a blog post from last spring called “49 weeks a year,” some of the women described what life was like inside the school, which was run by the Legion of Christ, a Catholic order that has been likened to a cult.
The post describes a rigid schedule with a 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. day and only 5 to 10 minutes of “free time” here and there, according to an entry by Sarita.
“Frankly, I was suicidal. I was unable to relax among my peers and I turned to alcohol and drugs to take the edge off of my social anxiety and depression,” writes Sarita.
The Legion Of Christ was scandalized in 2009 when news emerged that its founder was a pedophile and drug addict who fathered three children, according to the Associated Press.
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