Recently, I watched the new documentary, "Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets" on the Duggar family and, "The Institute in Basic Life Principles," most commonly known as IBLP. It greatly disturbed me to see the number of similarities between this radical organization and the horrific experience of life in the convent for me along with a multitude of other survivors of abuse in religious life. The reason for why there are so many commonalities is because both the organization and the convents that so many of us entered were run as cults.
Abuse is rampant in religious life and goes un-named and never discussed. My novice master did not allow outside spiritual directors in direct contradiction of Canon Law. His “reason” was that he had to determine fitness for vows--another contradiction of Canon Law. I revealed nothing to him other than what he wanted to hear. Further he played at being a therapist as did other formators even though they had no training other than a general psychology class. I’ve had superiors abuse the vow of obedience.
It’s not surprising that they get very few vocations and of those who make it past novitiate few stay on for final vows or ordination. Young people today can spot disfunction and hypocrisy very quickly. In twenty years they will cease to exist. Maybe then a true reform and re-founding will take place and the community will truly follow in the footsteps of Christ and St. Alphonsus.
Convents can be run as cults because they also want people who will be obedient to them and their rules. What better way is there for this to happen than to require a vow of obedience from their members? Then there is the inevitable guilt associated with breaking a vow if one chooses to disobey. IBLP twists Scripture to promote its version of obedience which also produces guilt in those who would choose to disobey.
Beating you down until you break is a false path to holiness. The whole itinerary is a false path to holiness.
I am not familiar with the Dugger Family. I spent time (2 years) in the convent, and it was the happiest time of my life. However, I did experience abuse as a child in the public school system. Later on I married, and it was the worst time of my life, a time of abuse. I am free now, thanks be to God! But healing from my childhood and this marriage is on going.
I think abuse is part of the fallen nature of humans and is found in all walks of life. Let us pray for one another!🙏🕊
Thank you for sharing your story, it means more than you know.
Great, they have been and are of much help to me!
Christina, have you heard of Hope's Garden? My daughter, Jenny DuBay, introduced me to them. Though it might seem to be for those who suffer from spousal abuse, It isn't. No matter the source of abuse, abuse is abuse and the abusers all use the same methods and tactics. I highly recommend them for healing and wholeness!!!! Contact my daughter, who also writes for Missio Dei. She can help you get in contact with Hope's Garden and tell you much more about them, and answer your questions.
I'm sorry to read about your experiences. Undoubtedly abuse but not every community is like that, thankfully. As St Benedict said in his Rule, they will have to answer for that at the Judgment. I pray for healing for you and others in the same position.
Wouldn't it help other women to name the community so that they know to avoid it?
I’m appalled. I hope authorities have been informed. 🤯😡🤬