In 1965, the Legionaries of Christ founded their first house in the United States: a novitiate in Woodmont, Connecticut, close to the city of New Haven.
The novitiate in Cheshire, Connecticut.
In 1971, the little novitiate was moved to Orange, Connecticut.
In those first years, a few Legionary priests—mainly Mexicans and
Irishmen—began forming the first Americans who embraced the missionary charism
of the Legion of Christ.
Soon the Legionaries
began establishing centers of apostolate in and around the main
cities: in 1973, near New York City and Washington DC;
in 1974, in the archdiocese of Detroit; and in 1984,
Los Angeles. The work of the Legionaries of Christ now
reached from coast to coast.
As it happens
with every religious congregation in the foundation stage, the first
years were focused mainly on searching for vocations and on
forming the new Legionaries. God blessed these efforts, and in
1982 the Legion opened the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School, a
minor seminary with 12 teenagers who wanted to discern their
priestly vocation. Currently, the school in Center Harbor, New Hampshire
has space for more than 120 students.
in 1982, the novitiate had to be moved from the
small house in Orange to the campus of a former
minor seminary in Cheshire, Connecticut. When the Legionaries acquired this
property in Cheshire, they thought they had “all the seminary
space that they would need for the next 50 years.”
As the Legionaries’ presence grew in the country, the
quantity of their apostolates also grew. In 1986, they founded
their first school in Dallas, Texas, the Highlands School. In
1993 the first family center was founded in the suburbs
of Washington, Our Lady of Bethesda. The formation center for
consecrated women was founded in Rhode Island at the beginning
of the 1990s. The Legionary priests, working with the lay
people, launched the first national apostolates of Regnum Christi:
Familia in 1993 and Youth for the Third Millennium
(now called Mission Youth) in 1995.
other apostolates have sprung up since then, including Challenge
and ConQuest clubs and camps all over the country
for girls and boys, Compass to strengthen college students
in their faith and missionary outreach, Pure Fashion to
teach modesty and values through fashion shows, SportsLeader to
foster values in sports teams, Christian Life for small
group faith formation and bible studies, and Pilgrim Queen
of the Family to foster Marian devotion in families.
The number of missions in the
States and abroad has also increased, with Holy Week missions
now reaching 11 major North American cities and medical missions
gathering hundreds of doctors and nurses for trips to Central
America each year.
The Legion of Christ in
the United States can be contacted at: Legionaries of Christ 475 Oak Ave Cheshire, CT 06410 U.S.A.