I am of Cuban American origin but grew up in Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. I first became in touch with Opus Dei when I was 9 years old. My mother read an ad in the paper for ceramic classes. My parents enrolled me in a Saturday morning club. All they knew about it was that it was a Catholic place where girls could get together ans learned ceramics, cooking and to play the guitar. The first time I went to take classes I was told there was a priest available to hear confessions. This was nto a foregin concept since i grew up Catholic and priests are commonplace in Puerto Rico. The pressure, however, was intense. We were lined up to go to confession and on the way out there was a woman--I later found out a numerary--who would become our counselor of sorts. Fron the get-go I was told I possibly has a "vocation". By the time I was 11 years old I was following their plan of life--rosary, 30 minutes of meditation, the Angelus--this is nothing bad, of course. But to put su! ch a strict regime on a girl who is only 11 under penalty of sin is outrageous. In addition, I was told from the very beginning that my parents "would not understand." So I kept everything a secret. I joined at 14 years and did not tell my parents until I was 16 years old. My parents were avidly against the idea of joining so young even though they were conservative Catholics. My life became a hell of sorts. Opus Dei constantly telling me that if I abandoned my vocation I'd never be happy and possibly lose my soul. My parents threatening me that if I attended any activity at an Opus Dei center I'd be punished for life. I finally went off to college in [xxx-town] where I secretly attended a center. There were many strange incidents at that center. I was told "Curiosity was a sin." (What about intelectual cuiriosity what about scientific curiosity?). As you know from many other testimonies, control was exerted on all aspects of your life. I finally left after I came ! close to a nervous breakdown. Intellectually I could no longer accept what I knew for a long time to be wrong. There is no freedom in Opus Dei and that is something that is God granted and should be respected by everyone. Control and mind control is rampant. Everything becomes a lie. What is said and what is meant is always at odds. Dignitatis Humanae states clearly that all men should be free. The Roman Catholic Church stands by that statement. But, in the name of God, Opus Dei does not. If you want a more detailed story, I'd be happy to supply details. When I left I was told that I would never be happy and lose my soul. I don't believe that for a second. It was very traumatic to depart. But I now live in the Washington DC area happily married with two kids. I am particularly interested to see if you have received any mail from ex numeraries in this area. As you know, once you leave Opus Dei you are isolated by the people that were once your family. It is a painful experience. If I could help anyone in this area, please send them my Email.
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