LC Cheshire

This is when my life changed.

Meet Brother Stephen Beins

In my Freshman year of high school, my brother invited me to a retreat called Ignition in Cheshire, Connecticut. At first, I had no desire to go, but after a few moments of convincing I agreed.

I arrived, a bit nervous, at the Legionaries of Christ Novitiate and College of Humanities in the middle of “nowhere” Connecticut. I had no idea what to expect. I was quickly welcomed by a very fiery game of dodgeball which put me more at ease. The retreat consisted of talks by the priests and brothers, activities, and bonding time with kids from throughout the U.S. The retreat was going perfectly and I didn’t think it could get any better. I was surely mistaken. It was 11:45 pm on New Year’s Eve; we were gathered in the chapel for adoration to start the new year, and sure enough, I fell sound asleep while kneeling in my pew. Moments later I woke from my nap and I asked God, “Why am I here in the middle of nowhere?” I drifted back to sleep. A few more minutes passed before I felt a tug on my shoulder, but I thought nothing of it. Again, I fall back to sleep only to feel this tug again, but this time with a voice saying, “Look over here.” I looked toward the voice and found myself staring directly at the 12th Station (Jesus dies on the cross). I had no idea what this meant or even what it could mean in my life, but I understood that I had to lay my life down for Christ as He did for me. This is when my life changed. I felt this sudden zeal to serve our Lord, and did exactly that for the rest of my freshman and sophomore years of high school.

In my Junior year, I fell into the temptations that come from wanting to live the “cool” life. I fell into a pattern consisting of parties, drugs, and alcohol. That year was the roughest year of my life. I was living with no joy or excitement because God was no longer at the center. Yet, I lived this way for an entire year. Senior year comes, and I return to Cheshire looking for that authentic joy and peace I had found here before. It was the same place, the same time. It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m in the chapel. Suddenly, I feel the overwhelming need to stop living the way I had been over the past year and to confess my sins. I was truly done and tired of this lifestyle.

I immediately went to confession and the priest told me exactly what I needed to hear. He said, “Stephen, it is easy to live a holy life in this holy place, but you need to take this experience home with you.” At that moment, all the “cool” things I had done no longer seemed “cool,” and that part of my life quickly ended.

After that retreat in Cheshire, I was thinking about different ways that I could grow closer to Christ. Regnum Christi Mission Corps was a dominant theme in my mind, so I applied to the program and was accepted. During my mission year, I was stationed in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was truly a blessing for me. I grew deeper in my faith and learned to be a responsible young man. I feel that during that year, I truly received my Faith.

That year in RCMC helped me to discover that my mission in life is to lay down my life for Christ as Christ did for me. Today, I am fulfilling this mission as a seminarian in the same place where He changed my life!

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