J. Cheyenne:  Friendship and Confidence: Only while it is

Thanks to the many writings in this site, I finally understood what happened to me. So I''d like to share my personal 8 years experience with the Opus Dei as a St.Raphael kid and "Vocation to be". I also hope that this writing will help me give a final closure to this chapter of my life.

I met Opus Dei people at the University and little by little started attending St. Raphael activities in the centers. It took me months to realize (by myself) that the place was run by Opus Dei, as no one had told me about it before. In fact, I thought many things were quite strange in the centers'' environments such as the fact that suddenly everyone (including strangers) at the centers knew my name and what I did for a living. I also got the awkward impression that some members were analyzing me by the questions and looks they gave me...

I got quite suspicious by all that weirdness but ended up giving it a try since everyone at the center always seemed to be so happy, polite and nice. Additionally, after telling one of my friends at the centre that I sometimes had the impression that people behaved weirdly towards me, the weekly meditation was basically about how bad it is to be suspicious when it comes to things Church-related. A big "coincidence". As a result, I left that meditation thinking that I was wrong for questioning OD people''s intentions, so I tried and succeeded in overcoming my initial suspicions.

I was especially close with a numerary who I ended up working with during an internship. Eventually, this person became my best friend. Someone I trusted completely. We shared a lot of time together at the office, in the center and also during the weekends when people from the centre would call me to join their leisure time activities or help with something. When we got really close that person would often say I was "family".

During our relationship, I noticed that person had mental health problems and took a lot of different medicine in order to be able to work, but I never tried to relate that to the Work. I just felt sorry and concerned for the health issue.

At some point, my friend started suggesting I had a vocation and should join the Work.
It was an extremely confusing time for me since I had never "seen" the vocation myself. I also consulted other members and for my surprise some said they were sure I didn''t have a vocation while an OD priest also told me I had a vocation. I started wondering how come some people thought I have a vocation and how come others thought I didn''t.

Anyways, I continued attending St.Raphael''s activities and also helping at the club.

One day, my friend''s behavior changed completely. Literally from night to day that person started acting coldly and in a rude way towards me, as if our friendship never existed. I was obviously confused and after questioning about the sudden change, that person got furious and gave me different poor explanations (in different occasions) such as "you have changed" and "I''ve consulted people about you and they said you have a ''problem'', so we shouldn''t be friends anymore".

To me, it clearly sounded like someone had told my friend that I should be crossed from the list since I was no longer of interest for the Work - something that was later confirmed to me according to the many writings on this site.

As a result, I didn''t feel like going to the OD center anymore. How could I trust those people? I felt angry, used, betrayed and extremely sad. Also, I felt really stupid because my initial suspicion had been right all along.

From that point, I started to get morally harassed by my former "friend" at work and it came to a point where I even got my work sabotaged. It was an anguishing time for me since I could not leave my job.

Now, years later after these events, I still have a very hard time trusting people, but have been improving thanks to good professional psychological support.

The sad truth that took me too long to accept is that I was basically treated as an object. had my trust manipulated and, to my former "friend", I was just a waste of time since I never got to join the Work. I was just a bad investment.

Thank God, I never left the Church and remain a practicing Catholic, but I know of people (ex-St. Raphael and ex-members) that have even lost their faith due to their bad experiences with Opus Dei.

I do understand that the Church is made of men and women who can make mistakes like anyone. However, it does shock me the fact that OD has a particularly significant number of people who develop psychological and mental health problems such as my former "friend" (and others I got to meet as I learned later). Also, from the people that I have personally witnessed joining the Work, only 10% are still members.

Nowadays I feel nothing but pity for those who are capable of using and harming others at the request of their superiors and in the name of God. They need our constant prayers.