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.
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.
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.
Also 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
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.
Many 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.