Regnum Christi is Devoted to Forming Apostles in Service to Others
It takes a family to build the “kingdom of Christ,” and Regnum Christi is calling the faithful to do just that.
“We are a federation, a movement in the Church; a spiritual family serving the Church,” according to Kathleen Conklin.
Her leadership term as advancement director for the Upstate branch ended this summer, but she has taken up the role of a worker bee.
“We are a spiritual family that includes priests, consecrated and lay people.” Everybody works together, she said.
Regnum Christi is an Apostolic Federation approved by the Vatican. It was founded in 1941 to mold priests, and by 1968, lay people joined and it began to blossom. Regnum Christi is now in 38 countries globally.
According to its website, regnumchristi.org, it is composed of four vocations: the Legionaries of Christ (priests), consecrated women, lay consecrated men and lay members. The largest branch is the lay group, which includes over 25,000 people.
The organization’s Christ-centered spirituality is lived in communion with all four vocations, with the whole Church and through a mission to build the kingdom of Christ. It’s no easy task given how our society and nation have fractured.
“You have to go against the tide now, and that’s what the Apostles did,” according to Katie Zeiler, a member of Regnum Christi in the Upstate.
Regnum Christi faithful are following that example. Members meet each week to study the Gospel, pray, look at the needs of society and respond to those needs.
It starts with a deep, contemplative look into yourself, Zeiler noted. When she was searching for a group that could help deepen her faith, she said she asked herself, “What do I need to do to form my conscience?”
“I needed accountability. There were not many groups around for formation,” she said.
Zeiler found Regnum Christi, which included formation through prayer, internal reflection and contemplation and evangelization.
Bonnie Murray has been with the movement for 25 years. She said it helps others “find their gifts, their mission, their apostolate” in life, and that it embraces the core values of St. Ignatius.
“It helps us to find our root sin (pride, vanity, sensuality) and replace it with spirituality. God should be the center of my heart,” Murray said.
She explained that the Upstate group meets for Bible reflections and examination of conscience. They talk about seeing Christ in others.
“Each person is a brother. Each person is a sister. Each soul is so precious. How do I bring them to Jesus?” Murray shared.
And it’s much more than a faithful support group, she added. It’s a calling and a vocation.
Conklin said the women of Regnum Christi look to their communities for people who are making a difference, who are living life in Christ or creating positive change. They talk about how that person or deed inspired them.
“Everybody brings a story and shares the virtue that that story encapsulates. A lot of times it’s about pro-life issues,” Zeiler explained. “At the end, we would come up with a resolution. What are we going to do about this?”
Then they take action and do what Jesus told his Apostles to do.
“It is reaching out to the culture and evangelizing the culture,” Zeiler concluded.
It works and people notice — one of them was Aimee Miller.
“I knew some other women who were part of it,” Miller said. “They were super-upbeat, happy, generous people.”
She remembered wanting to do more as a young mother, and the group always stressed family first, so Regnum Christi called to her and she began truly living her faith.
“Week to week we would bring case studies, then we would have resolutions, then we would go out in the community” and fulfill those resolutions, she explained about the gatherings. Whether it was with a smile to someone having a bad day or helping a person struggling with groceries at the store, Miller has been able to bring Christ to her community by focusing outward on the people in her life and inward on her faith.
That faith, she said, is crucial.
And for those determined to build the kingdom of Christ on earth, it’s critical.