When I was 15 I met the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) and I didn’t know it was a sect inside Catholic Church. At the time I was at Hight School doing very well because I got every year the highets qualifications of my class. I was victim of a manipulation exercised by the SCV aimed at depriving me of my personal freedom, making me not only join the aforementioned organization, but also assume the condition of slave of its founder and leader Luis Fernando Figari, becoming an object of the organization, working within their companies in conditions of labor exploitation (without hours or remuneration), which has caused serious and irreparable damage to my health. For this reason, to date I require specialized medical treatment to try to overcome the traumatic situation caused by that experience. I am diagnosed as a case of post traumatic stress disorder. I never filed legal action because the SCV threatened me about it. I have many debts because since I left the SCV, I have spent long periods of time without being able to work. This situation does not allow me to live in peace and therefore I appeal to your generosity to help me cancel this debt that amounts to approximately US$20,000 (twenty thousand US dollars). Any help you can give me, big or small, is valuable to me and can change the course of my life: PAYPAL LINK TO HELP ME HERE
In 1988, when I was 15 years old, I met the “Sodalitium Christianae Vitae” (hereinafter, SCV) in the city of Lima, during my preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation, because in the school I was studying, the members of that organization, called “sodalites”, were in charge of the aforementioned activity.
After finishing the preparation period, the Sodalits organized a spiritual retreat, in which only minor males, between 15 and 16 years old, participated. In that retreat there were a series of activities designed to investigate our personal, sexual and family life, for example, what was the relationship we had with our parents.
At the end of 1988, I joined one of the so-called Marian groups, which was the first step within the SCV and was made up only of underage men like me. My parents only knew that I was meeting schoolmates from my own class, with whom I had done Confirmation preparation, and that we had a “guide” who, at the time, was an SCV aspirant, older than us.
Mainly, the dynamics that took place in that group consisted of camaraderie meetings, where the sodalites carried out a series of activities with an extremely strong psychological component, exposing the fragility of our young age. In addition, issues related to our personality, personal and intimate life were discussed, with special emphasis on the repression of masturbation.
In the year 1989, after completing one year of being part of the Marian groups and still being a minor, I made the promise of an applicant to the SCV. Nobody explained to me what this new commitment meant or what activities it involved, nor was there a discernment procedure, as stipulated in the Code of Canon Law, so much so that I thought it was simply a higher level of commitment for those who were good grouped. My parents were unaware of this promise or the private ceremony in which it was made.
In this period of aspirant, the physical demand was intense and punishments were applied to us if we did not fulfill the commitments that we had to make weekly, which were reviewed in public.
In addition, we carried out absolutely violent and degrading group dynamics. For example, on one occasion, they forced us to have a slapping war. No one objected no matter how unreasonable the activity or order was. These dynamics, together with the “demands”, had the purpose of diminishing our will, after forcing us to comply with irrational instructions for the simple fact that the authority so ordered.
It is at this stage, during the year 1990, that I met the top leader – now under investigation – Luis Fernando Figari (hereinafter, LFF) at a Holy Week retreat, which I attended as an SCV aspirant. There was a mystique around him, which the sodalits were in charge of making us new believe and he of reinforcing. Thus, LFF was syndicated as a person with “special powers” that allowed him to penetrate the hearts of people and their memories, to “read” them at his will. They made us believe that it was a privilege to be close to him, since he was God’s spokesman, his spokesman on earth.
He knew about our personal information, because the sodalites and psychologists linked to the aforementioned organization leaked information and even more intimate matters that we had shared in reserve, without our consent.
That same year, they made me go through the Vocational Orientation Center (hereinafter, COP) to supposedly take a series of vocational and psychological tests, as a requirement to begin the training stage in the premises that the organization had in San Bartolo. I never knew the results of my psychological evaluations until recently, and I was able to corroborate that I was not in a position to make such an important and radical decision as entering religious life. They knew this and, taking advantage of my emotional fragility, LFFR together with the deceased Germán Doig Kingle (number 2 of the SCV, accused of committing a series of abuses against sexual freedom), decided that I join the organization.
In October 1991 I carried out what is known in the SCV as a community experience, which consisted of living in the “San José” community located in Santa Clara, Chosic, on the outskirts of Lima. This period, which lasted a month, was physically demanding and had constant endless dialogues about the personal problems of those of us who shared that experience, which always ended up breaking us down emotionally. They forced us to repeat for thirty (30) minutes every day, out loud and as a group, Sodalit phrases or mottos. In addition, they prohibited me from having contact with my family and with anyone outside the SCV.
The slogan that had been instilled in us from the first contact with the SCV, while we were still minors, consisted of “whoever obeys does not make mistakes” and that superiors were owed “blind obedience”. In addition, as I have already related in previous lines, the person who did not comply with the orders or questioned them, no matter how absurd they sounded, was deserving of punishment and humiliation.
At this stage I almost abandoned my studies in economics at the University of Lima. My grades dropped and I failed in a number of subjects. I must point out that, before coming to live in this community, my grades were excellent, so much so that I was ranked 34th in the Faculty of Economics.
At the end of the time of my community experience, I was informed that the next stage of commitment that I had to assume was that of “formation”, which implied that I had to “temporarily” abandon my university studies, which is why I expressed certain doubts; however, through several persuasive dialogues, which affected the idea that had been forming in my psyche since I was 15 years old, regarding that “there was nothing more important than the SCV, that only there would I be happy and that my his true vocation was religious life”, they finally managed to get me to accept the aforementioned commitment.
In addition, they deceived me, because they told me that being inside the SCV I could continue studying, which was not the case, because they imposed on me the Philosophy degree, which I had to study by order of LFF, despite not having an affinity with it.
At the end of February 1992, I entered the “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” community in San Bartolo. A place where I suffered from abusive experiences, both physically and psychologically. In addition, restrictions continued to communicate with my parents and anyone outside the SCV. At that time I could only see my parents once.
At that time, I discovered that it was difficult for me to live in celibacy, but, instead of clearing up those and other doubts I had about my apparent religious vocation, they were strongly repressed with punishments and branded as “weakness and sin”, humiliating me in front of other people in the community without any qualms about the damage they were causing me.
Despite the fact that this training period lasted two years, by order of the LFF they made me leave the community of San Bartolo before the scheduled time. In May 1993, after 10 p.m., the person in charge of the community in which I lived received a call from LFF, who told him to supposedly send me to the “San José” community (where LFF lived) for two weeks with my luggage. . They never asked my opinion. Like any order, I had to obey it.
Those two weeks turned into eighteen years in which I suffered a series of physical and psychological abuse and was subjected to LFF servitude, my case being cataloged by the “Ethics Commission for Justice and Reconciliation” convened by the SCV itself. as one of modern slavery.
Like the other Sodalits who lived in this community, I was forbidden to travel alone. We were confined and visits were infrequent and seen as a sign of weakness. Since I could not move alone, two Sodalits took me to my parents’ house and left me there for approximately two and a half hours, the time that the visit lasted. I always had to ask permission for these visits and was sometimes refused.
At this stage, the manipulation of which I was a victim since I was 15 years old intensified considerably. LFF managed to make my assessment and self-esteem revolve around him. He made me believe that my life had no meaning without him and, therefore, without the SCV, which is why I had to accept and normalize all the abuses that were committed against me, since leaving or leaving the organization was not an option.
In this period I became the slave of LFF. Physical coercion was not necessary, although it did occur, but mental conditioning and manipulation. At that time, my availability towards LFF was absolute, I had been mentalized in such a way that I was willing to give my life for him, despite the abuses and humiliations of which I was a victim from him and from the superior of the community.
Starting in 2001, I became LFF’s personal chef, having the obligation to serve him at any time of the day and every day of the year. There were no schedules, if he called me, I had to drop everything and go see him. For several years I kept the same LFF schedule and when I stopped doing it for health reasons, as a rule I had to go to say goodbye to him and ask him if he needed my services.
This work became my priority activity, before any other activity typical of the life of a religious, which, in practice, I did not carry out, since I hardly prayed according to the times indicated for the other Sodalites. My entire stay at the SCV revolved around carrying out this domestic work, for which I did not receive any type of remuneration, and, on some occasions, I had to travel outside the country with LFF to cook and take care of him.
By December 2010, he had been in psychiatric treatment for more than a year. She suffered from severe depression and anxiety, which manifested itself in sleeping difficulties, constant desire to cry, suicidal ideas, in the sadness and discouragement that she suffered daily. He was exhausted and frustrated with himself, as he attributed all my discomfort to my weakness and sin. He spent long hours alone in the dark crying, unable to recognize that this whole situation was the product of the abuses he had been suffering within the SCV.
I must point out that a priest, today investigated for financial mismanagement, witnessed all the abuses I suffered at that time, since he was my spiritual director from 2001 to 2011. I told him about all the abuse I suffered, as well as my health problems described in the preceding paragraph and my constant thoughts of committing suicide. He was fully aware that I was a slave to LFF, as well as the damage to my health that staying in the SCV was causing me, and he did absolutely nothing.
In December 2010, after LFF resigned from the position of Superior General, I spoke with the sodalit who assumed this position of maximum power in the organization, a person of extreme confidence of the founder and considered his favorite after the death of Germán Doig. I asked him to change my community, due to all the problems that I have narrated in this writing, and that he knew perfectly well, because he told me so, despite which, he refused.
Finally, at my insistence, and being evident the damage that the situation to which LFF had subjected me was causing me, they agreed to my change of community, and offered me a time off, which I accepted. I was sent to the SCV community in Denver, USA, for three months.
Then, I returned to Peru to live in a Lima community, until August 2011, when I was informed that I would go to Arequipa to teach at the San Pablo Catholic University and study an online postgraduate degree in Philosophy.
I lived in Arequipa (an important city in southern Peru) for about a year and a half. All this time I continued with a treatment for depression and anxiety. He slept more than the others and was physically/psychologically exhausted. In addition, I experienced a deep inner dissatisfaction, for which I felt disoriented and the anxiety grew more and more.
Given this situation, I asked to be allowed to receive psychological therapy in order to manage the aforementioned problems. For which I was sent to the Sodalite community in Argentina, where I received intense therapy for a year.
After that time, I decided for myself and against the opinion of the SCV authorities to leave the community, for which I returned to Peru and definitively left the SCV in May 2014, with nowhere to go, no job, savings or money. something that allows me to continue with my life. In this situation, the SCV agreed to give me temporary help until I can reintegrate into society.
Even having left the SCV, its authorities tried to outline a life project for me according to their own ways of seeing reality. Therefore, after months of unsuccessful dialogue and not wanting to acknowledge any abuse or damage to me, they suggested I go to the commission that they themselves formed to investigate the abuses committed by LFF and other sodalits, which came to light with a journalistic investigation published in October 2015.
All the dialogues I have had with members of the SCV and their ecclesial and legal representatives after leaving the community have been marked by intimidation, lies, threats and other mistreatment. Not allowing me to have any legal representative or go to the authorities to make a complaint, because I would lose all opportunity for reparation. It is important to consider that they were aware that I did not have the emotional or financial support to take any legal action against them.
It didn’t take long for me to fall back into deep depression and anguish, under a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress desorder, which I struggle with every day. In this context and given my professional training, I have great difficulty finding a decent job, I am removed from various social circles for the sole fact of having been part of the SCV and denouncing its abuses, I do not have any type of savings or compensation for times of service (employment benefit enjoyed by all formal workers in Peru). Rather, I have many debts because since I left the SCV, I have spent long periods of time without being able to work. This situation does not allow me to live in peace and therefore I appeal to your generosity to help me cancel this debt that amounts to approximately US$20,000 (twenty thousand US dollars). Any help you can give me, big or small, is valuable to me and can change the course of my life.