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Community of Jesus


The Cape Cod-based Community of Jesus appears to have moderated and evolved in recent years, especially following the 1988 death of leader Mother Cay and the retirement of Mother Judy. Leaders’ control of members has been relaxed and people who live offsite are now accepted as members. . . The Globe and Mail (Toronto) of 9/4/07 published a case study of an aggrieved former Community member. [csr 7.1 2008)

The Cape Cod leader of the Community of Jesus, Elizabeth Pugsley, has been named in an abuse suit brought by Roslyn Price English, a former student and staff member at Grenville Christian College, a prep school in Brockville, Ontario, where Pugsley taught in the 1990s. Price English is one of four former Grenville students or staff alleging misconduct by two Episopal priests at the school, which then had strong ties to the Community of Jesus. Price English says she was one of 12 women, ages 17 to 26, ordered by Pugsly and headmaster the Rev. Charles Farnsworth into a “boot camp” existence in a 15-foot-by-15-foot room. “We had regular sessions where we were told [by Farnsworth] we were like ‘bitches in heat’ and that we were too focused on looking good.” A mind control expert sees similarities between the school, in Price English’s account, and life in the Community of Jesus during the 1980s, when he studied it. Both the school and the community appear to exhibit many of the characteristics of destructive cults: forcing people into demeaning behaviors; controlling language; equating refusal to do what the group wants with violation of God’s will; and more. The Ontario Bishop of the Anglican Church in Canada is now investigating the allegations. [csr 6.3 2007 2007]
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Life at the Community of Jesus
I spent 40 years at the Community of Jesus. The extreme practices of self-denial and submission to authority were taught to be the way of purification and holiness. We were often compared to the military, and that our training was so much more important than theirs, since it was preparing us for service to God. I have been out for 3 years now, and finally feel ready to talk and write about my experiences there. I have started a blog describing various experiences I had and observed, and what the teaching was. I welcome readers and comments and questions.