Gravely disturbing testimonies of former long term residents of Caritas of Birmingham
and associates of self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, and also writings of concerned family members
Other languages: English, Italiano
Date: April 24, 2010
Category: Caritas of Birmingham and "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, Sterrett (AL), Alabama
Content of the article
List of testimonies
Patrick Flynn and family
After almost 9 years of experiences with Caritas of Birmingham and "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco
Dear concerned friend of Our Lady and Medjugorje,
I address this correspondence in this way because you are a friend of Medjugorje and Terry Colafrancesco is not. My name is Patrick Flynn and in April of 2000, I took my pregnant wife and six children and fled Terry's cult after almost 9 years of living there. When we moved there the community consisted of only Terry, Ruth McDonald and Joan McDonald. The rest of Terry's family hated the community and were cruel and ugly to us constantly.
I don't blame them, they acted this way I believe because they know Terry and what kind of a man he really is.
After 9 years of living side by side with Terry, I can tell you my heartfelt and greatly discerned discovery is that Terry is a very sick control freak who is not satisfied unless he possesses complete control of people's lives. He dissolved our authority as parents over our children and manipulated our kids to see only himself as provider and prophet. Just before we left, I had to sit across the aisle from the commune in church. There was no pew available in the section where the group normally sat that could fit my whole family. Two days later, I was called into Terry's office and accused of violating the sacred unity of the community by visually separating myself from them. Terry told me angrily that I, in doing so, opened a door to individualism that would take years to close. He is very sick. He decreed that my seven year old daughter was to accompany his son (21 years old, unmarried) and one of the single women (23 years old) on a road trip where they would spend the night in the back of a truck. Regardless if anything sexual happened or not, this was not healthy for my little girl to witness. I refused to let her go. Terry got mad and told me that I had better never go against any decision he ever makes again. I remind you, this was MY daughter. There are over 200 bizarre stories of Terry's cultic control and strange behavior. Also you did not hear the Loving community call black people niggers while you visited them.
We didn't say it in front of people. We were only racists in secret. This is Terry's influence. People learned racism from him. His wife even admitted that Terry took her to a KKK meeting where they wore the costumes and everything. She told this to another woman in the group when she was mad at Terry, so that we would somehow understand who this guy really was.
To address your concerns, Marija does not know the real Terry. She is deceived. He is very good at hiding the truth from her and her family. He showers her with gifts and favors. She sees this as true benevolence. She does not see this as manipulation because she is sweet, loving trusting and simple. The visionaries were peasants and farmers. They have had very little exposure before their heavenly experiences of people who are manipulators and users. They seem to not have a big understanding of how the power of Medjugorje will attract opportunists like Terry. Our Lady in the early days when the visionaries were children would sometimes warn them of dangerous people who wanted to hurt or use them. Our Lady does not speak to them on this level anymore. They apparently must discern these things on their own. I asked Mirijana once if Our Lady helps them with very confusing things in their life, especially concerning other people, even their spouses. Mirjana said: We have to pray just like you.
We asked Marija last year about Our Lady saying that She wanted to start a community at Caritas back in 1988. Guess what! Marija said she recalls no such thing. Marija also rebuked Terry for teaching so much doom and gloom concerning the chastisements. You should have seen the community franticly preparing for Y2K. Terry wields this fear to keep and nurture control over the people's lives there. This past spring, Terry played Eve of Destruction, a song from the 60s on the stereo in the field. He then tried to scare us into thinking that if we were anyplace other than Caritas we would not survive.
Please ask the Franciscans in Medjugorje about Terry. Fr. Svet knows him. Fr. Slavko was one of the first to figure out his schemes. Now Father is interceding in Heaven. We need intercessors in Heaven.
I am under REAL spiritual direction now that I am free from Terry. My family and I are in the process of healing from his mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. My spiritual director has instructed me to tell the truth to all who need to hear it. I forgive Terry for what he has done to my family. I pray for him and I love him. But, I will not protect him any longer. His power over those good people, my friends needs to cease.
If you are supporting Terry financially then your money is being used to help keep many people in bondage.
God bless you and please do not ever stop praying for everyone there.
Also pray that Terry soon is compelled to get the help that he desperately needs.
All praise, honor, glory and thanksgiving be to God our Heavenly Father forever. Give this praise to God only and NEVER to another human being. - Our Greatest Lesson!
The captives who have been granted freedom in the Jubilee Year.
Carole Conrique, who worked two years at Caritas of Birmingham
Wrote the following on Caritas of Birmingham and Terry Colafrancesco - the self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje"
Hi, I have three family members at Caritas. Three large families left last year after giving 9 years of their life to this cult! This is a very serious situation! Our family members have cut off all contact with us at the prompting of Terry Colafrancesco! He professes to know so much about the apparitions and what a person's vocation is...What a farce! My brother has been at this cult for over 8 years and Terry has promised him all this time that my brother's vocation of being a priest would be through Caritas! That will never be possible as they do not place themselves under the authority of the Catholic Church/local Bishop. This man has been misleading many innocent souls away from their family members for too long now. He is trying to take over as their spiritual director, yet he has never had any spiritual formation through the church. I know lay people can be spiritual directors, but only though instuction through the church! I used to work there for about two years and this man literally ripped my brother and I apart and convinced him that he was weak for staying in close contact with his family. I witnessed large amounts of money being taken in and used for other things than what they were supposed to be. This man has laundered money through those poor, and I mean POOR IN EVERY WAY, PEOPLE'S accounts and has them write checks back to him for his own use. I have black and white proof of this. He is not going to get away with the sacrilege he is teaching there.
Oh, by the way his home schooling has been shut down, as 85% of the kids there couldn't even pass the state tests much less read on their level(in fact, Terry's own son 14 years old at the time, could only read on a fourth grade level at that) If you would like more proof, I would be glad to answer your questions. The truth set my siblings free! I am merely notifying everyone possible to let them know of the terrible things that are being allowed to go on there...Innocent people's lives are at stake and each day he is allowed to practice his phony preaching is another day we live without our loved ones. My grandmother is dying of pancreatic cancer and is not expected to live much longer as she has now broken her hip. Yet, my brother believes (through Terry's words of "wisdom") that if she is dying it is because we are going against Terry! My poor brother is under so much mind control that he actually believes this mess! The families that left, assurred us that our family members have doubted Terry before and many times expressed their unhappiness. I will never stop praying that Our Lady flood their hearts with the God's honest truth.
Marija, in Medjugorje, has been notified by those who left about all of Terry's lies and deception, even including her. Yet, she is only human and from what I've noticed through meeting her, she feels obligated to Terry for decorating her house, etc....and let's not forget the part he played to help her brother..(yet, no one knows that Terry was given over $50,000 to bring her here). People have even given her money in order that they might meet her when she has come to the U.S. However, we have proof that he never intends to make good on those promises as they never happen! We know, because someone who left, told us they had to keep making excuses why they could never meet with Marija and coincidently more money was even requested from these people in hopes that next time the meeting may be possible. Terry was heard saying that would never happen. He is purely evil for doing this to innocent people with good intentions......His pocketbook was the only thing that has gotten satisfaction. Well, I could tell you over 180 things that would probably make your skin crawl, but I have others that need my attention...my children and my husband. Please pray about what I've said. God bless your efforts!
Excerpt from a letter by Patricia Locks
About her children Greg, Erin and Jenny living for many years at Caritas of Birmingham under the guidance of Terry Colafrancesco - self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje"
"If you show the letter to Marija she may call terry and tell him, when I left messages on her Milan # that Pat Flynn (Terry's old right-hand man at Caritas before he left) gave me, Marija must have told them at Caritas because my son Greg called me in a hysterical rage telling me Marija was mad at me for calling her home? I feel close to her because Greg has spent so much time with her and kept her sons so often etc. that I felt she might talk to me Mother to Mother, since Greg is my only son and we used to be so very close and now living in "Our Lady's loving community that SHE ESTABLISHED HERSELF" he will not see or speak with me unless I totally agree with and support terry! Greg dictates to his sisters what to do, always-he is the "man". What I want to believe in my heart is that Marija may have called and said, "Greg, your Mama called me, what does she want?", but I will never know? I am Italian on both sides of my family, my Dad was born near Paulo's home, so I know how much Italians value family, so I thought Paolo would understand our pain.
Father Jeff VonLehman, the wonderful young Pastor from Covington, who is very devoted to Our Lady is the one who is spiritually guiding us and he is the one who tried to see Marija. He was devasted when he approached her and she DID frown at him and turn away when he tried to talk to her?! Terry prob. told her bad things about him. Before he went this Aug., Greg called him and threatened to tell his Bishop on him for going against Terry! We wrote his Bishop and told him how great he was to help us and his Bis. thanked him!(my son would never threaten a holy priest BEFORE Caritas!!!) He was just made a Pastor this summer. He had met her at Caritas last Dec. 99' when she was there for their big retreat. He goes to Medj. each year and takes a group of teens.
My beautiful Erin, 22 was very fond of him. He was on her BVM tour she led for Caritas. Erin was very bright and out-going and loved life and spoke out always to defend her faith in high school. She got an Honors Scholarship to college and was their top student they sent around the country her Freshman year. She wanted to be a BSN and help the sick like Mother Teresa etc. She also wanted a family more than anything. After we sent her to Medj with Greg and Caritas the summer after her Freshman year she came back and wanted to drop out of college because it was all "BAD" and Terry does not believe in higher Ed. at all (naturally!) We were devasted, but said she could take a semester off to pray. After 1 month at Caritas she told us she was never going back and she had "grown spiritually higher than us at Caritas"!!! This was an 18 year old whom we had to force to go to Medj, that summer because she had a summer job! That is when we got a Catholic Atty to go to Bishop F. for us, and the Bis. said I cannot do anything because they are not affiliated with the Church-as you heard him say.
The sickest thing was when she told us Terry told her it was a sign when Mother Teresa died, that year, 4 years ago, that she was "called to Caritas which does the most important work in the world"!!! We had wanted her to pray at Mother's house she has near our home then in Memphis. This beautiful young vibrant and good woman is now "sacrificing her life to make up for the sin of playing sports in high school" per terry!!! She is 6 ft tall and played all sports and was a great player for her Catholic school where her Dad was Principal for years. I called her my Lizzie Sunshine and she used to smile all the time-no longer-those that left told us how she suffered! Terry has "consecrated her a single woman for life"! Sorry, to go on about my kids, you are a father-hopefully you will understand!
Our Jenny quit a good job as an awesome writer for a hometown newspaper in St. Augustine, Fl-the religion page! But Terry says ALL the media is BAD and she was to be married but Terry did not approve! The young man was devasted she left for Caritas and did not ever contact him again-terry’s advice!
WE WILL TRUST AND WAIT for Jesus and Mary-Much thanks and prayers for YOUR ministry
-Love the Locks"
Former member of Caritas of Birmingham for over ten years
Testifies about the "Caritas" and the self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje" as "a destructive group lead by a TRULY NARCISSISTIC man who deceives in the beginning especially if money is involved."
"I am very familiar with covenant communities, however, have had some inquiries regarding Caritas located in Birmingham, Alabama. This group seems to have some similarities to abusive covenant communities.
What I know is that the group is governed by a former KKK member who believes that his purpose is to have the folks in his group live according to the "teachings" of Mary - related to apparitions in Medjugorje. While most folks whom I know who are involved in Medjugorje prayer groups have a healthy relationship with one another and the Church, Caritas seems over the top.
Apparently, for example, members are not to have contact with family members for at least the first year of their membership; incoming mail is read and censored prior to being given to the intended recipient; women are fully submitted to their husbands; the leader lives in a fine home while members live in poverty; complaints to the local bishop have come to nothing.
Any info would be appreciated.
"I was a former member of caritas for over ten years and I can say whole heartedly that it is a cult. A cult is defined by it actions not it's similarities to other "valid" groups. The proof is that many who have left there have had to undergo treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) Many other leave "valid" groups and don't experience this horrible consequence. Yet the proof is in the pudding. Caritas is a destructive group lead by a TRULY NARCISSISTIC man who deceives in the beginning especially if money is involved. Be warned---- Utopia's on the outside are usually great signs of the falsehood that is being promoted behind the scences. Trust me I have been there for over ten years and I know the truth. This is not the product of "sour grapes", it is the 100% truth. Please avoid for your own sake."
Another former member testifies about the Caritas of Birmingham
as "isolated cult outside Catholicism, not associated in any way or form with the Roman Catholic Church nor its local authority, the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama". He testifies about disturbing teachings, manipulation and practises of Terry Colafrancesco (i.e. the self-styled "A Friend of Medjugorje") and concludes that "if someone supports Caritas of Birmingham, they are supporting a strange, religious sect and this potentially, which may cause serious damage in an individual's personal and family life". - Read more...