Irene Alemany, the director of a Regnum Christi community in Mexico, recently spoke with the Mexican daily, Milenio. During her interview, she noted the community's promise to live in poverty and emphasized she has “never felt abused by the Legion.”
“We do not have any personal possessions, we do not receive a salary, our only work is the apostolate,” she explained. She then addressed how inheritance money is handled within the community. “When our families leave us an inheritance, for a prudent period of 15 years the fund remains intact, in case the sister needs to leave for some reason.
“To us that makes perfect sense because we have detached ourselves of everything material.”
“In a worst-case scenario, if after 20 or 25 years someone needs to leave the consecrated life of the Legion of Christ because of illness or another situation, the Legion always returns the money that had been donated to the Church with interest,” Alemany explained.
Irene Alemany was born in Spain and entered the consecrated life 26 years ago. She said that consecrated life is like living “in a family - we truly are sisters.” However, she continued, the members of the community are prudently asked not to share whatever family problems they might have with the rest of the sisters, but rather “to seek out an appropriate person who can help.”
Alemany also directs the Madox Academy, a K-12 school. She remarked that the Regnum Christi homes follow the same statutes as the Legion of Christ, which are similar to those of other religious congregations. “We live in discipline” and with a special emphasis on education,” she said.
Asked if she monitors the correspondence of the other sisters, Alemany responded, “In many congregations that is the custom. The reason is to try to help them if there is bad news. Perhaps this is more and more obsolete but it is a norm that we have followed. And yes we have reviewed letters.”
Regarding the use of the internet, she said, “It is important to understand that you just look at things from the point of view of rules they can be easily misunderstood. We have access to internet but it depends on the work of each person. There are filters that exist to protect consecrated life; we don’t just look at any magazine out there, only ones with cultural content, that really nourish the culture.
“We live freely in order to cultivate our interior life and our purity in our commitment to Jesus Christ. We remove everything that doesn’t help us, and for this reason we use certain filters, and we also have access to other media and to the news.”
The main objective of the consecrated sisters is “the formation of women,” and for this reason the members receive formation in several areas. Alemany explained that while most of the Regnum Chrsiti women have bachelors or graduate degrees, of the 21 women who live in her community, only five or six have bachelor’s degrees. She said that the rest are studying at the Legionary formation centers, where the professors are usually from the Legion, with occasional visiting professors.
Berenice Garcia, coordinator of the youth groups in Mexico, said girls ages 11 and 12 join these groups to learn about their faith. Later the girls who have the qualities to live the consecrated life and are physically and psychologically healthy are identified. This can take two to three years, and afterward, they are invited to consider joining.
The girls are the ones who must first broach the subject with their parents, and later the leaders of the consecrated communities will talk with them to determine whether there is an acceptance on the part of the family. Leaving behind their families is a difficult process that requires time and discernment, Alemany said.
She also said she was pleased by the recent statement from the Holy See about the Legion of Christ. “It brought me peace,” she said, because the Pope “wants us to continue forward.”
“When we obey our superiors we are obeying someone who represents the will of God. And this is not only something in the Legion of Christ but rather in the entire Catholic Church,” she said.