Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ICSA fellowship Cruise, Geneva, 5 July 2009


[Some ICSA members from Spain, Mexico, US and Guatemala; Arthur Buchman, American in Denmark, with Aura Lennon; Mike Kropfeld, Canada cooordinator, ICSA]

Networking in Geneva, July 4, 2009

Paul & Aura Lennon [Wash DC area], Carmen Almendros, Psychologist and Spain ICSA Coordinator [Madrid], Jose Barba, PhD,[Mexico City], spearheaded Maciel's survivors' complaint against Fr. Maciel lodged at Vatican, 1998-2008

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cultic Studies Conference, Day 3, Geneva

Comenting on Saturday, July 4th,
must say I did not have time to remembers much our national independence, but I suppose I can be excused for devoting my energies to those who have been and are still enslaved and subservient to cults and their leaders.

At dinner with my wife, Aura, Jose Barba -Maciel's accuser, a psychologist friend and her husband, after a long ranging conversation about our Legionary of Christ experience, I was moved almost to tears when remembering my encounter with Felix Alarcon in Galicia, a few years ago. He also had signed the petition requesting the Vatican take action against Fr Maciel for his abuse of seminarians. In a private moment Fr. Felix confided: "If it had not been for Jose Barba asking me about the abuse, that is something I would have carried to the grave!"

So we must always be sensitive and aware of the presence of sexual abuse; with our sensitivity, acceptance, understanding and tact we can free others from their chains

The same skills are needed for dialog with past and present members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members.


Cultic Studies Conference, Day 2, Geneva

Commenting on Friday July 3rd,
We were joined by more local people, "walk-ins" and session got underway from 9am covering the areas the ICSA considers important in its information, healing, study of cult like groups:
Workshops for exmembers and family members
Exmembers divided into two categories; those not born in cults, and those born in cults, called Second Generation Adults, SGAs
Psychological and sociological studies on High Demand Groups
Therapy with exmembers of both categories
Reviewing last years work and planning for the future.
Next International Conference to be in the NY, USA area

Personally, I was lamenting the absence of one of the most knowledgeable and healing presences in the area of RECOVERY, Carol Giambalvo, who was home taking care of her husband Noel

Another person sadly missed was Paul X, the director of the only residential treatment center in the USA for transitioning former members.

Friday, July 3, 2009

From Geneva avec amour, International Cultic Studies Association Conference

Thurday July 2, 2009 [Pre-Conference Day]

Not that the Genevans[?] would be so effusive; but they are kind and efficient. We arrived without luggage due to a lock down at National Airport on June 30 that delayed our flight out of DCA about 6 hours; the reason given was that there were storm over Newark. We, Aura and I, lost our connections there and they sent us through Madrid; there was made a long trip from terminal A to D or whatever; it seemed like we were going to Santiago...

Once safely in Geneva 8 hours behind schedule, we could not find our bags and went to the complaints office. The lady person behind the desk took painstaking notes and sent us on our way with "Sorry for your trouble; usually the luggage arrives a day later and we deliver it to you." What a relief as we made our way out of the airport to be greeted by Gustavo our Mexican [Jalapa] friend who came to pick us up and bring us to his home and get us installd before taking off for the night shift at WHO. By this time we had been on our feet 24 hours and were feeling jet lagged. That was Wednesday, July 1.

On Thursday we made our way to the Uni-Mail, one of the campuses of the Universite de Geneve, where I was glad to start seening familiar faces such as that of Michael Langone, Arthur, Patrick Ryan -who told us about his recent trip to County Tipperary to find his ancestors' place and his humble origins. They all gave Aura a warm welcome. It was good to be back with this "support group" which has been part of REGAIN's and my personal story for about a decade. Today, the focus was on support for exmembers, research and information on cultlike groups all over the world. Conferences were in English, French and Italian reflecting on the diversity of presenters.

Kudos to the Maciel survivors who first put us in touch with this organization. I can't remember right now the story of our alliance with them. Juan Jose Vaca has been an important liaison through the last several years until family obligations took him away. I remember the Conference in Enfield CT where the Legion came and tried to prevent him and me from presenting our testimonies as ex Legionaries for the firt time at ICSA. This time I was looking for Jose Barba, Maciel's nemesis, who was arriving from Mexico City via Paris. Saw Jose after the first session and we continued our networking. Jose had not missed the opportunity to tell of REGAIN's legal battle with the Legion. To people here, familiar with cult tactics and Modus Operandi this sounds like more the same, very Scientology like.
Au Revoir,
Paul and Aura from Geneva.