“Records Show Woman Gave Legion Of Christ $60 Million Over 20 Years” & related articles

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The Hartford Courant

7:01 p.m. EST, February 17, 2013

By DAVE ALTIMARI, daltimar@courant.com The Hartford Courant

As Gabrielle Mee lay on her deathbed in a Rhode Island hospital in 2008, the leader of the Connecticut-based Legion of Christ asked her bank to transfer $400,000 from her personal bank account to the church “as soon as possible.”

The bank complied, and the money was the last of nearly $60 million that Mee either gave or bequeathed to the religious organization over nearly 20 years, court records unsealed late last week in Rhode Island indicate.

The documents were part of a now-dismissed lawsuit filed by Mary Lou Dauray, Mee’s niece, in an attempt to overturn Mee’s will, which left everything the woman had to the church group.

Among the thousands of pages of documents are depositions from some of the highest-ranking members of the Legion, bank records, and personal letters that the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the now-disgraced founder, wrote to Mee through the years.

The lawsuit claimed that the group defrauded Mee, in part by keeping from her that Maciel had fathered at least one child and had been accused of abusing seminarians. A judge dismissed the suit late last year, ruling that Dauray did not have legal standing. Dauray has appealed that ruling.

The Vatican took over the operations of the Legion of Christ in 2010 following an investigation that determined that Maciel had sexually molested seminarians and fathered as many as three children by two women.

The lawsuit alleged that if Mee had known fully about Maciel, she would not have donated so much money and would not have made the Legion sole beneficiary of her husband’s charitable trust worth millions.

The unsealed documents show that high-ranking members of the church were aware as early as 2004 that Maciel might have fathered at last one child. The records show that the group’s second-highest ranking member, the Rev. Luis Garza, obtained a birth certificate in 2006 of one of Maciel’s children.

The documents provide the first complete accounting of the money that Mee gave to the Legion since 1989, when she made her first donation of $1 million to help build a seminary in Rome.

It was after Maciel heard about that donation that he wrote his first letter to Mee, sent from Mexico City in August of 1989, records show.

“I want you to know that I am very deeply moved and very grateful for this extraordinary gift,” Maciel wrote. “I would very much like to meet you sometime to thank you personally.”

Maciel did meet with Mee several times, either at the Legion’s seminary in Cheshire or at the Rhode Island headquarters of Regnum Christi, the lay movement of the church that Mee joined in the early 1990s.

Once she became a “consecrated” member of the Regnum Christi, Mee turned over a condominium in Narragansett, R.I., and her former home in Smithfield, R.I., to the church. She also changed her will to give everything that her husband, Timothy Mee, had left her to the Legion of Christ.

An attorney for Dauray said that the Legion used Mee as a “personal piggy bank.” Financial records unveiled as part of the lawsuit show that Mee donated money to the church group every year from 1989 to 2008.

Most were donations that went into the organization’s general fund, according to the Rev. Anthony Bannon, who was the leader of the Legion of Christ in North America for many years and also was granted power of attorney by Mee over her finances, records show.

It was Bannon, using his power of attorney, who wrote to Fleet Bank in May 2008 to transfer $400,000 from Mee’s account to the church, records show. In a deposition, Bannon said he did so without Mee’s signature because she was “incapacitated at the time.” Mee died on May 16 at age 96. The funds were transferred about four days before she died, the records indicate.

In the deposition, Bannon repeated several times that he was “following her wishes” to take money from Mee’s account quarterly rather than once a year.

Bannon and other Legion of Christ officials who were deposed all said that no one ever pressured Mee to give money to the group. Mee went to Mass every day since she was 12, records show.

In a deposition that Mee gave in 2001, when the Legion of Christ sued Fleet Bank for not releasing funds from several of the Mee trusts, she made it clear that she loved the Legion and wanted to do whatever she could to help it.

“They’ve never asked me for money at any time that I have been with them,” Mee said. “When I knew what was going on, I told them that I could help if they needed it.”

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Hearing set for Friday on emergency motion filed by The Legion of Christ to block records release

The Providence Journal

January 24, 2013 2:59 pm

By Tracy Breton

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein has scheduled a hearing for 2 p.m. Friday on an emergency motion filed by The Legion of Christ to stay his decision unsealing court records in a lawsuit relating to a $60-million bequest that a now-dead devoutly Catholic woman in her 90’s left to the scandal-ridden religious order.

Silverstein decided last fall that Gabrielle Mee’s niece, Mary Lou Dauray, who has been challenging the distribution of her aunt’s assets, has no standing to pursue her lawsuit, even though he said the Legion may have exerted undue influence on Mee to change her will and trusts.

But in a decision issued Wednesday, he ruled that now-sealed documents relating to his decision and the lawsuit should be open to the public scrutiny.

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Rhode Island records: Relatives worried about Catholic widow Gabrielle Mee’s ties to Legion of Christ

masslive.com

on February 16, 2013 at 9:14 PM, updated February 16, 2013 at 9:20 PM

By The Associated Press

By MICHELLE R. SMITH and NICOLE WINFIELD

217legion.JPG

Attorney Bernard Jackvony poses at his office in Providence, R.I., Friday Feb. 15, 2013. Documents released Friday shed light on the inner workings of a secretive and now-disgraced Roman Catholic order called the Legion of Christ, including new details on how the organization took control of Gabrielle Mee finances and persuaded her to bequeath it $60 million. Jackvony represents Mee’s niece.  

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The disgraced Roman Catholic religious order the Legion of Christ bent its own rules for a wealthy elderly woman while it also isolated her from some relatives, according to newly released court documents, and a lawyer says the moves show the order was intent on becoming the beneficiary of her $60 million fortune.

The Legion counters that widow Gabrielle Mee was independent, strong-willed and happy and was never coerced into anything. The fact she led a less-restrictive life than others in its community shows she freely gave them her money, the Legion argues. Mee died in 2008 at age 96.

The Legion, founded by the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, was taken over by the Vatican in 2010 after a church investigation determined that Maciel had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children. The Vatican knew of Maciel’s abuse for decades yet held him up as a model for the faithful because of the order’s perceived orthodoxy and ability to attract money and vocations.

Part of a lawsuit filed in Rhode Island by Mee’s niece, the documents include thousands of pages of testimony from high-ranking leaders at the Legion, its members, and Mee’s relatives and friends. They were sealed until Friday, after The Associated Press and other news organizations successfully argued that it was in the public interest to release them.

Mee’s niece, Mary Lou Dauray, sued the Legion after her aunt died. She said Mee was defrauded by an order whose leaders orchestrated an effort to hide its founder’s misdeeds from her aunt.

A Superior Court judge ruled in September that Dauray did not have standing to sue. But Judge Michael Silverstein took pains in his order to detail the process by which the Legion wooed Mee, bending the rules to let her become a “consecrated” member of its lay movement, giving her privileged access to Maciel and inviting her on special trips to Rome and Mexico.

Among the documents released Friday was a deposition from one of Mee’s friends, Joanne McKosker, who testified how the two had bonded in the 1980s through their deep Catholic faith. She said she would visit after Mee moved into a Legion center in Smithfield, R.I. Around 2001, she asked Mee for a $5,000 donation for an anti-abortion charity. After Mee gave it to her, McKosker was prevented from visiting or calling Mee again.

“Months that went on, my trying to see her,” she said. “I was getting, I was angry because I, I wanted to be still friends with her, you know, and I wanted, I felt she wanted, too.”

The Legion says Mee had her own private phone line in her apartment and it never screened her calls.

Mee’s grandniece, Jeanne Dauray, testified that a visit to her aunt left her feeling “something was amiss” in the restrictions that Mee lived under compared with other relatives who were members of other religious orders. For example, someone else always had to be in the room during the visit. Mee was also forbidden by a panel of Legion members from going to visit her sister, Fifi, in California, before Fifi died.

After they made the decision, “Gabrielle was visibly upset,” Jeanne Dauray said. “She grabbed my hand very tightly and grabbed on to my arm and she said, ‘Oh, I’m so disappointed. I understand that they, you know, they have to make their decision, but I’m so disappointed, I really wanted to see Fifi.'”

The order tried cutting her off from other potential beneficiaries of her money, Mary Lou Dauray’s lawyer, Bernard Jackvony, has said.

“When you have a goose that lays golden eggs, you clip its wings and don’t let it leave the farm,” he wrote in one filing.

However, other family members, including nephew Stephen Kelley, reported that Mee seemed happy when they saw her, and that they could visit with her in private.

In fact, Mee led a far less restrictive life than the vast majority of the women at the facility, according to Heather Sellors, a former member of the community.

The Legion points out Mee lived in her own apartment, had newspaper subscriptions, cable television and her own Mercedes-Benz she could take out on outings. She often took the other members out to lunch or for ice cream and would shop at the mall or grocery store, Sellors said. The Legion argues in court documents that the fact that she paid her own way showed she had control over her own finances.

That would violate many of the rules that other consecrated women were forced to live under. Former consecrated women have said they lived regimented, isolated lives where nearly every minute of their day was occupied with chores and prayers, where they were forbidden from forming close friendships and were told how to eat, speak and interact. They said they were told that a violation of the most minor norm was a violation of God’s will.

Jackvony said in an interview Saturday that the order’s decision to bend the rules for Mee was designed to “gain her favor and keep her under their wing.”

“The rules did not apply to her, and when you look at it the reason why is clear: because she had the capability of providing enormous amounts of money on a regular basis,” he said.

Among the other documents that were released Friday were some that showed the group’s former second-in-command testified he discovered that Maciel, the order’s founder, had fathered a daughter in 2006, but never confronted Maciel about his double life and didn’t share the news with the group’s broader membership.

Winfield reported from Rome.

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Rhode Island judge releases documents revealing inner workings of Legion of Christ

The National Catholic Reporter

15 February 2013

Jason Berry

Documents released Friday by a Rhode Island judge provide a new window into the internal workings of the Legion of Christ, a religious order of priests whose founder was revealed to have sexually abused seminarians and fathered children by at least two women.

The release of the voluminous court records by Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein came within days of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who ordered an investigation into allegations against Legion founder Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado when Benedict played a powerful role in the Vatican as a cardinal and again in the early years of his papacy.

These documents are expected to shed new light on a scandal Benedict inherited from Pope John Paul II, who was a longtime and loyal supporter of Maciel even after the allegations against him were filed in 1998.

Benedict’s trip to Mexico last year ignited a blaze of negative media coverage because of his failure to meet with sexual victims of the late Maciel, and the global reach of the scandal has cast a shadow on Benedict and his papacy.

The documents first surfaced in a suit accusing Legion officials of defrauding a wealthy widow, Gabrielle Mee, of tens of millions of dollars. They remained sealed when Silverstein dismissed the suit against the Legion and Bank of America. He ruled that Mary Lou Dauray, Mee’s niece, lacked legal standing to bring suit.

At the time, however, the judge’s 39-page ruling detailed questionable fundraising tactics and raised suspicions about the Legion: “The transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets — through will, trust and gifts — from a steadfastly spiritual, elderly woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious spiritual leaders raises a red flag to this court.”

The documents were released in response to a petition to Silverstein by the National Catholic Reporter, The Associated Press, The New York Times and the Providence Journal.

The manner in which Maciel and the Legion used their funds as a religious charity is central the fraud allegations in the Rhode Island probate case brought by Dauray, who is seeking to recover the fortune her late aunt handed over to the Legion as a “consecrated woman” in its lay wing, Regnum Christi.

“They used her as a piggy bank,” said Bernard Jackvony, Dauray’s attorney. “They saw her as an economic engine and used her for $30 million in donations for 16 years. The defrauding of Mrs. Mee looms over this entire case.”

Fleet Bank, which later merged with Bank of America, facilitated the Legion’s access to the flow of money from Mee and the charitable trust of her late husband, Timothy. According to Jackvony, the bank should have maintained a wall between its duty to administer a trust and the Legion’s aggressive action to gain control of the funds.

“The Legion’s business relationship as a customer of the bank facilitated a sharing of information on the Mee trust that should have been kept in confidence,” Jackvony said.

With access to the trust and Mee’s donations, the Legion bought a $35 million corporate campus from IBM in Thornwood, N.Y., in the 1990s.

Maciel’s status as a successful fundraiser and his ability to attract laypeople and seminarians to his organization was due in part to a close relationship he had with the late John Paul II. The pope championed the Legion and praised Maciel in 1994 as “an efficacious guide to youth.” John Paul continued praising Maciel after Jose Barba, a Mexico City college professor, filed a 1998 case in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seeking Maciel’s ouster for abusing Barba and other youths in the Legion seminary. Ratzinger would go on to be elected to the papacy and take the name Benedict XVI,

As a cardinal, Ratzinger arguably came to know the multiple cases against Maciel as well as anyone. Although he initially blocked the case from going forward in the Vatican’s legal machinery, he later reopened the investigation of Maciel. In 2006, the pope dismissed Maciel from ministry to a “life of prayer and penitence.” In 2009, the Legion acknowledged Maciel had a daughter and apologized to the seminary abuse victims. Two sons have since come forward claiming they were Maciel’s children by a different woman.

Well before the charges and revelations, Mee entrusted her finances to Maciel and the Legion: According to documents Silverstein quoted in a ruling last fall, Mee in 1998 visited the Legionaries center in Cheshire, Conn., and on Aug. 8 of that year gave the order a check for $1 million. In 1991, she revised her will, giving 90 percent of her assets to the Legionaries. She also joined Regnum Christi that year and gave another $3 million to the Legionaries.

“Her estate-planning documents were in the possession of the Legion in Rome,” Jackvony said. “They breached their duty to her in trust and confidence.”

As the 1998 allegations against Maciel in Ratzinger’s tribunal sat dormant during the latter years of John Paul’s papacy, Maciel was giving Mee advice on her financial investments. She gave Fr. Anthony Bannon, the Legion’s North American territorial director, her power of attorney in 2000 and appointed him executor of her estate.

Bannon became more aggressive in pushing her to increase the flow of donations, but Fleet resisted the encroachment of Timothy Mee’s trust. The Legionaries sued the bank in 2001, generating deposition testimony by Mee. The parties finally dropped the suit, which gave the Legion free access to the Mee fortune. “I preferred to put all my eggs in one basket than have it fragmented,” Mee said in a deposition in the bank case the judge quoted in a recent ruling.

“I don’t know if she was brainwashed, but Mrs. Mee was unduly influenced and defrauded,” Jackvony said.

[Jason Berry, GlobalPost’s religion correspondent, has been working with National Catholic Reporter on the Maciel story for several years and will be going through the just-released documents. NCR expects to publish what these court files reveal early next week. GlobalPost’s religion blog, Belief, will be publishing excerpts of NCR‘s reports as they come out.]

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RI records show inner workings of Legion of Christ

The Houston Chronicle

Associated Press | February 15, 2013 | Updated: February 15, 2013 11:25pm

MICHELLE R. SMITH, Associated Press, By MICHELLE R. SMITH and NICOLE WINFIELD

FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2004 file photo, Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, during a special audience at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined that Maciel had sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children by two women. Following a decision Thursday Feb. 14, 2013, by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, documents are set to be unsealed related to a lawsuit contesting the will of Gabrielle Mee, who left $60 million to the Legion. Photo: Plinio Lepri

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Documents released Friday shed light on the inner workings of a secretive and now-disgraced Roman Catholic order called the Legion of Christ, including new details on how the organization solicited money from an elderly widow, eventually persuading her to bequeath it $60 million.

The documents, previously sealed in a lawsuit brought before Superior Court in Rhode Island, include thousands of pages of testimony from high-ranking leaders at the Legion, its members and relatives of wealthy widow Gabrielle Mee. They are the first-ever depositions of high-ranking Legion officials and include how the order’s former second-in-command learned in 2006 that its founder had fathered a child.

The No. 2 said he didn’t go public with the news of the paternity because the founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, had already been sanctioned by the Holy See for having sexually abused seminarians and forced into a lifetime of penance and prayer.

Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined that Maciel had lived a double life, including fathering three children by two women. The pope ordered a wholesale reform of the order and named a papal delegate to oversee it.

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge said last year that the documents raised a red flag because Mee, a steadfastly spiritual elderly woman, transferred millions to “clandestinely dubious religious leaders.” But they had been kept under seal until The Associated Press, The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter and The Providence Journal intervened, arguing that they were in the public interest. The Legion had argued media coverage of the documents could taint prospective jurors if there was a trial.

The Legion scandal is significant because it shows how the Holy See willfully ignored credible allegations of abuse against Maciel for decades while holding him up as a model of sainthood for the faithful because he brought in money and vocations to the priesthood. The scandal, which has tarnished the legacy of Pope John Paul II, is cited as an especially egregious example of how the Vatican ignored decades of reports about sexually abusive priests because church leaders put the interests of the institution above those of the victims.

Mary Lou Dauray had alleged that her aunt, Mee, who died at age 96 in 2008, was defrauded by the Legion and unduly influenced by its priests into giving away her fortune. Her late husband was a onetime director of Fleet National Bank.

The Legion said that it didn’t exert undue influence over her decision-making and that the gifts were made of her own will.

“Our actions with regard to Mrs. Mee and her estate were appropriate and honorable,” Legion spokesman Jim Fair said. “We were respectful and diligent in carrying out her wishes in the handling of resources provided to the Legion.”

In a separate lawsuit, Mee said in a 2001 deposition that she had “complete confidence and trust” in the Legion, despite never asking details of its activities.

Mee said she had met with Maciel and he told her the Legion was “in a crunch.”

“We only ask God for what we need,” Maciel said, according to her testimony.

She replied, “‘And the angel Gabriel came down from heaven.’ My name is Gabrielle.”

She said she was never directly asked for money but it was “understood” that she’d help whenever the Legion needed it.

“When I, through the grapevine, hear that something is going on and they know it, it’s understood if I can help, I’d be very glad to,” she said. “Because I have total confidence, you see. Whatever they do is part of my life.”

In other documents released Friday, the Rev. Luis Garza, the former No. 2 of the Legion, details for the first time how he confronted Maciel’s mistress and daughter, starting in October 2006, after he became suspicious while visiting Maciel in a Jacksonville, Fla., hotel that June and seeing the two women there.

Both women confirmed Maciel’s paternity, and Garza said he obtained the daughter’s birth certificate as proof — listing the father as Jose Rivas. Later, it was revealed that Maciel used the same pseudonym with his other hidden family, a Mexican woman with whom he had two sons.

Yet Garza said he never confronted Maciel about his double life and didn’t think it was necessary to share the news with the broader membership of the Legion or its lay movement Regnum Christi. He said he only told the Legion’s superior and two other priests.

“I didn’t think at the time that the fact that fathering a child would change in any way the way we needed to behave vis-a-vis Father Maciel or the actions that we needed to do,” Garza said in the 2011 deposition. “Because we needed to comply with indications of the Holy See and also because there was an issue of privacy and respect for the mother and the daughter.”

The Legion didn’t acknowledge Maciel’s children or the sexual abuse allegations against him until February 2009, about a year after he died.

Bernard Jackvony, the lawyer for Mee’s niece, said taken as a whole, the depositions expose how the Legion knew by 2004 that the Vatican was investigating Maciel for sexual abuse and by 2006 that he had a daughter yet kept the information private. He argued that Mee never would have given the Legion her money had she known of Maciel’s true nature.

“In terms of fraud, when you withhold information from people, that’s the same as if you said something to them that’s not true,” he said.

Garza also confirmed he was a member of a committee of three Legion priests who met annually to decide how to distribute funds from Mee’s trusts.

A Superior Court judge ruled in September that Mee’s niece, Dauray, couldn’t sue, but he noted there was evidence that Mee had been unduly persuaded to change her trusts and will.

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Winfield reported from Rome. Contributing to this report are Associated Press writers Matt Brown in Billings, Mont., Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia and Chris Sherman in McAllen, Texas, and AP Projects Editor Brooke Lansdale in New York.

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Legion of Christ controls $28 million estate in Rhode Island

The National Catholic Reporter

23 October 2012

Jason Berry  |  Oct. 23, 2012

The Legion of Christ drew $2.19 million last year from a $28 million charitable trust that it controls, thanks to Gabrielle Mee, a wealthy widow who spent her final years as a consecrated woman in Regnum Christi, the order’s lay wing. An orthodox Catholic, she was unaware that Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion, had out-of-wedlock children or that the Vatican had banished him from ministry.The Timothy J. Mee Charitable Trust — established by the late husband of Gabrielle Mee, who died in 2008 — paid the scandal-battered Legion $2.19 million in contributions, gifts and grants last year, according to the trust’s 990 form, a public record that private foundations file with the IRS.

The Timothy Mee trust’s $28.27 million net value is slightly less than half of the $60 million at issue in a lawsuit filed by Gabrielle Mee’s niece against the Legion, Fr. Anthony Bannon and Bank of America, which manages the Timothy Mee trust with the Legion.

The niece, Mary Lou Dauray, sought to revoke the will and retrieve the assets, on grounds that her late aunt was deceived.

In a Sept. 7 summary judgment, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ruled that Dauray did not have legal standing to sue because she had no direct material interest in the outcome. Her stated intent was to apply any recovered funds to charities consistent with her aunt’s religious beliefs.

But Silverstein’s decision showed striking sympathy to Dauray’s argument. The “transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets,” the judge wrote in a lengthy ruling, “from a steadfastly spiritual, elderly woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious spiritual leaders raises a red flag to this Court.” Silverstein cited extensive information from discovery documents unavailable to the public.

Dauray is prohibited from giving interviews under the protective order the Legion requested and the court previously approved.

Tuesday afternoon, NCR joined The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Providence Journal in a petition to the court requesting that the protective order be lifted, which would allow the release of depositions and documents in the long-running dispute. A final decision on that could take weeks.

Dauray’s Rhode Island attorney, Bernard Jackvony, told NCR last month that she was considering an appeal. None as yet has been filed.

The same court order prohibits Jackvony, a Republican and former lieutenant governor of the state, from discussing evidence under seal. That barrier does not exist for a public document like the 990.

“The Legion used Mrs. Mee’s money and the trust of her late husband to fund ongoing operations of the order in North America,” Jackvony told NCR. “On average those funds came to $2 million a year, which was a major infusion to cover the cost of operations, from 1991 until her death in 2008.”

Silverstein’s order opens a window on the Legion’s secretive finances. In November 1991, the widow joined the lay movement and gave $3 million to the Legion. “Father Maciel wrote to Mrs. Mee,” writes the judge, “and encouraged her to submit a monthly budget to Fathers Bannon and Alonso in order to fulfill her promise of poverty as a consecrated woman in Regnum Christi.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Mee never had any children, although Mrs. Mee had seen a Catholic doctor about pregnancy and fertility issues,” the judge wrote, citing Gabrielle Mee’s deposition from a legal proceeding in which Fleet Bank, of which Timothy Mee was a founder, resisted the Legion’s attempt at seizing his charitable trust, which Fleet managed as a trustee. With Gabrielle Mee in its corner, the Legion’s litigation caused the bank to settle, ceding revenues from the trust to the Legion.

Silverstein wrote: “When Mrs. Mee moved into the Regnum Christi facility and became a consecrated woman, in her own words, ‘God’s promise to the childless wife that she would be given a home and children to gladden her heart was fulfilled!’ Mrs. Mee considered herself the grandmother [to] the young, consecrated women.”

A 1999 amendment to the Gabrielle D. Mee Charitable Trust specified that the bank, as trustee, should invest only in companies and business whose products were “consistent with Catholic moral teaching and in accordance with the investment guidelines of the Legion of Christ, Inc.” The amendment further provided that “no assets of the Trust be invested in companies in the liquor industry, health care or pharmaceutical companies that perform abortions or develop artificial contraceptives.”

Several companies in the 31-page investment list of the Timothy Mee trust 990 form appear to conflict with Gabrielle Mee’s specification:

  • Bristol Myers Squibb, which paid the trust $5,171, sponsored a 2010 clinical trial for an oral contraceptive, according the National institutes of Health.
  • Anheuser-Busch Inbev, which netted $496 to the trust, is a multinational beer and beverage company.
  • Heineken NV, which also does beer brewing, paid $80.
  • LMVH, for Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, includes fine wines and beverages among its products. The trust received $465 from the investment.
  • A small stake in Molson Coors Brewing netted $211.

In his decision, Silverstein spotlights the role of Bannon, who held Gabrielle Mee’s power of attorney “to represent her in any discussions with the Bank.” Her 2000 will left all assets to the Legion with Bannon as executor of her estate.

Silverstein draws a bead on the May 2006 Vatican ruling that Maciel renounced ministry after the long-standing allegations of sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Gabrielle Mee knew nothing of that. “In December of 2006, Mrs. Mee made a $1,210,000 gift from her personal bank account to the Legion of Christ,” writes the judge.

“In August of 2007, Mrs. Mee made a gift of $590,000 to the Legion of Christ from her personal bank account,” the ruling states. “On May 12, 2008, just four days before Mrs. Mee’s death, Father Bannon wrote to the Bank and requested a $400,000 gift be made to the Legion of Christ from Mrs. Mee’s personal bank account. … The Bank complied with Father Bannon’s request and made the transfer on May 14, 2008. Mrs. Mee passed away two days later on May 16, 2008.”

[Jason Berry is the author of Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, which received the 2011 Book Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.]

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From the Regnum Christi website

Mrs. Mee Enters into Eternal Life
INTERNATIONAL | MEMBERS | NEWS
Mrs. Mee, a consecrated woman in Regnum Christi, passed away at the age of 97. Hers was an extraordinary life full of wisdom, humor, and great love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

 

Mrs. Mee, desde su ventana, saluda a las consagradas el día de su último cumpleaños.
Mrs. Mee waving hello to the consecrated women from her window on her last birthday.

On Friday, May 16, 2008 at 10:10 a.m., the “grandmother” of the consecrated women passed away peacefully, surrounded by the prayers of the entire formation center for consecrated women in Greenville, Rhode Island. In the obituary below, we salute an extraordinary woman who embraced her married vocation and her consecrated vocation as two phases of a life that had always been dedicated totally to God.

A Life Spent Close to the Eucharist
Gabrielle D. Mee was born on June 10, 1911, on the feast of the Sacred Heart in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. She was the sixth of nine children in a family of French descent. Gabrielle received a strong religious formation at home and was educated by the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, from whom she learned the Memorare, a prayer that was deeply meaningful to her.

When she was 12 years old, she made the decision to go to Mass every day. She asked her mother for permission and her mother answered, “What a blessing for the family!” For the next 84 years, Gabrielle would receive Jesus in the Eucharist every day.

In 1948, she married Timothy J. Mee, an eminent banker in

El P. Álvaro saluda a Mrs. Mee en una visita al centro de formación de las consagradas del<i> Regnum Christi</i>.
Fr Álvaro Corcuera greets Mrs. Mee during a visit to the formation center.

the area, with whom she shared her deepest religious values. Childless, they dedicated the greater part of their time, talents, and material means to help the Church. After her husband passed away in 1985, Mrs. Mee began searching for a work of the Church that she could support, and got to know the Legionaries of Christ. Upon entering the chapel and seeing that the tabernacle was in the center, she realized that the Legion was a faithful religious congregation and became a benefactor.

Some years later, she met the consecrated women in the days when Maricarmen Perochena was the director of the formation center. She began going to Mass with them, and one day spontaneously asked Maricarmen if she could be consecrated. On November 7, 1991, she consecrated her life to God along with a young woman, Mimika Garesché, in the formation center for consecrated women in Rome.

Gratitude for the Gift of Life
Mrs. Mee constantly spoke of her love for Christ and also of her love for life as one of God’s greatest gifts. She began every day saying, “Thank you, God, for another day here!”

In December of 2005, one of the consecrated women who was taking care of her transcribed one of her spontaneous “contemplations”:

I’m glad to be here.  One day I made that decision.  One day I was on the street walking, somewhere, and it crossed my mind… Out of the blue sky I thought… I have a life!  What’s it all add up to?  What a gift!

 “We have life… body… soul… intelligence… Think about it!  I have a life. This is something enormous!

A life… what do you do with it? This is potential. Think of everything involved in it.  What will I do with it?  It’s not like a leaf on a tree or an apple… It’s a life!

How would a young person reflect on this?  What would he do with it?  It’s not a sum of money.  You can really do stuff with a life!

God-given… Where’s it going to bring me?  Or where am I going to bring it?

Right now, I have a life!  I’ve come into existence.  God gives it to me… a lot of possibilities.

We each have this gift but at some moment the question arises.  What’s he going to do with it?  A lot of choices to make in this life given by God. 

WOW!  It floors me!  Reality…. actuality… having something in my hands… A life.  A puzzle.  A gift.

How will I use it?  How will I be happy?

I’m not just a little bird at the end of a branch looking around.  What’s a bird have to offer compared to me?  I have a life!  It can be scary or happy or a puzzle… A life!

Thank you, God!

She also dedicated herself to spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart through the Memorare prayer,

Señoritas consagradas llevan el féretro con los restos mortales de Mrs. Mee.

which she had translated and printed in 14 languages, including Arabic.

To the very end, Mrs. Mee’s days were centered around the moment of receiving Communion. She also enjoyed participating in special activities with the team, like Christmas Dinner, the feast of the Epiphany with its comedy show, or talks with major directors who came to visit the formation center.

With her rich personality and keen sense of humor, she gave as much to the team as she received. For many consecrated woman, she was a model of accomplished femininity, a reminder of the strength of a woman before the days of the feminist revolution. Mrs. Mee was strong and definite in her decisions, yet always graceful and dignified in her manners. She combined a strong sense of how things ought to be said and done, from proper diction to the right way to prepare tea, yet she was also sensitive, kind, and obliging, ready in spirit to stand up and serve even when her body was no longer able.

In her conversation, she listened with interest to others, asking perceptive questions and reflecting deeply on what was said. And when it was her turn to speak, her words showed how she lived with a contemplative spirit, with a long-range vision of what is most important in life against the horizon of eternity. Anything could make Mrs. Mee speak of heaven and of God, from the bird perched outside her window to the snowflakes falling at dusk.

She took a great interest in the people living alongside her, and relished her role as the “grandmother” of the center. When young visitors came to call, she delighted in offering them specialty chocolates while telling them (quite audaciously at times) her experience of human and divine love. She never expected, she would say, to fall in love again after her beloved Tim passed away. And yet, Christ had truly stolen her heart. For Mrs. Mee, the vocation to the consecrated life was precisely that: the soul’s unique love relationship with Christ, a response to a mysterious call that could come at any time in life, even at the ripe old age of 80.

On April 23, Mrs. Mee’s journey to eternity began to accelerate as she entered the hospital, always accompanied by two consecrated women. Visitors and well-wishers were not lacking, as cards and messages poured in from all over the world. Fr Álvaro, LC, sent her a card expressing his desire to accompany her in her suffering; and the bishop of Providence, His Excellency Thomas Tobin, spent some time with Mrs. Mee while passing by the hospital.

Upon her return to the center on May 7, she was given all of the necessary medical care and the constant attention of the consecrated women who kept her company. During her last days, the members of the center visited her in small groups to pray with her and sing her Marian

Sobre el féretro de Mrs. Mee, una estampita del Sagrado Corazón con las que difundía su devoción.
On Mrs. Mee’s tombstone: one of the Sacred Heart prayer cards by which Mrs. Mee spread her devotion.

songs. Each member had her turn to say goodbye to Mrs. Mee, who was conscious and who was able to respond several times with a word or a gesture.

On Thursday, May 15 in the afternoon, her breathing became labored and her agony began. By around midnight, she fell into a coma, and the next day, around 10:10 a.m., after the consecrated women finished praying the Rosary, Mrs. Mee breathed her last. She was accompanied in her final hours by Mónica Treviño, Luly Fernández, and several other consecrated women. Fr Alonso, LC, then led the team in the prayers for the dead.

Two hours later, Bishop Gelineau, the emeritus bishop of Providence, visited the center to express his condolences. He spoke to the team of consecrated women about Mrs. Mee and the value of life, and then prayed with them, commending her soul to God.

At 6.00 p.m., Mrs. Mee’s body was brought into the chapel for the wake, and Fr Alonso presided over the Mass. During the homily, he said that throughout her long life, Mrs. Mee had kept a part of her heart reserved for God alone, and spoke of the great love that she irradiated to the entire community. The consecrated women then kept vigil in turns throughout the night.

On Saturday, May 17, Fr Joseph Burtka, LC, the territorial director of New York, celebrated the funeral in the center. Fathers Alonso, Andrew McNair, and Javier Fayos, LC, concelebrated. Afterwards, there was a procession to the cemetery, where they buried her alongside her husband. During the burial, the consecrated women sang, and after the burial, expressed their farewell with a strong applause.

After a long life lived in fidelity, gratitude, wisdom, and love, Mrs. Mee had triumphed. Now her true life is just beginning.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2008-06-20

1 Response to “Records Show Woman Gave Legion Of Christ $60 Million Over 20 Years” & related articles

  1. Sylvia says:

    Check the dates as you work your way through this travesty. In an attempt to give as complete a picture as possible I have pulled together several articles , dating back to Regnum Christi’s coverage of Mrs. Mee’s death 15 May 2008.

    I do not for a moment doubt that, had she been told the truth about Father Marcel Macial, Mrs. Mee would have refused to give one more red cent to the Legionaries. I think that the deception of a trusting widow by the Legionaries disgusts me as much as does the cover-up of and for its predatory founder.

    The wealthy widow was used. May she rest in peace.

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