Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Candy Nesbit: Wife, Mother and Business Owner

This is the story of a small-town girl from Connecticut and her symbiotic relationship with Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ.

The relationship is symbiotic in that both parties have been beneficiaries and the life of neither would have been the same over the past three decades absent what each has contributed to the other.

The small-town girl is long-since grown into a wife, mother and owner of her own successful business. She is Candy Nesbit, who for more than three decades has been the travel agent, meeting planner, event creator and sometimes, Cheshire house mom to the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi in North America – and often the rest of the world.

But to understand Candy’s story, you have to start with Charles Lucore. And to understand his story, you have to peel back one more layer in the history of Cheshire, CT.

Cheshire, CT

In March of 1957, the La Salette Missionaries bought 106 acres of farmland at 475 Oak Avenue in Cheshire. The property included a farmhouse, barn, silo and shed. They blessed the property and over the next couple years built a seminary for 125 young men.

Things went well for a few years, but declining vocations to the order forced a decision to close the facility. However, there was another religious congregation that was growing and leased a portion of the property in 1977, and eventually purchased the entire property and expanded the building.

That growing congregation was the Legion of Christ. And in addition to acquiring the property, the Legion made the wise decision to retain the relationship the La Salettes had with a local entrepreneur, plumber, electrician, and building owner: the afore-mentioned Chuck Lucore.

Chuck Lucore

Chuck helped the Legion run the facility and had become coach and mentor to the priests and brothers, teaching them how to repair things that broke – and how to maintain things so they didn’t break in the first place. He was a rather lukewarm Catholic when his relationship with the Legion began. But over the years, the exposure to the Legionaries brought him back to the faith with strength and gratitude.

In addition to helping the Legionaries directly, Chuck recommended a local travel agent, the afore-mentioned Candy Nesbit. This isn’t surprising; Chuck, who passed away in 2010, was Candy’s dad.

Candy Nesbit

During her high-school years in Cheshire, Candy worked in the local grocery store. She got to knowpretty much everyone in town. She went on to nearby Briarwood College for her degree, then started working at a travel agent.

Candy loved to travel and spent two years learning the business. Then her father intervened (he was the local businessman) and told her she ought to go out on her own and have her own agency.  He sweetened the deal by offering her free rent in one of his properties.

Thus was born Elite Travel Inc. It was 1980, the early years of the Legion seminary in Cheshire, and she became the person who booked travel for the priests and brothers, helping them plan events, and (little-by-little) becoming a key resource for the Legion – and eventually Regnum Christi – in the North American Territory.

Candy’s First Assignment

Her first “big” assignment came in 1991. On the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Legion of Christ, Saint Pope John Paul II ordained 60 new priests in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. At the same time, the first world Regnum Christi event was held in Rome, gathering thousands of members.

Candy’s assignment was to get 500 North Americans to Rome and back. In addition to making sure they were housed, fed and cared for in Rome and, as she recalls, “don’t do anything to embarrass the Legion.”

That event remains Candy’s most memorable – despite dozens of major events since – because it was the first, involved the ordination of many Legionaries she had known for years, and was a big step in deepening her own spiritual life.

Incorporating into Regnum Christi

During the week, an opportunity arose for the North American participants to incorporate in Regnum Christi. Fr. Lorenzo Gomez, LC, tried to convince her to join, but there was so much chaos with the travel details that she had to handle and she was just too busy, so it didn’t happen.  She also had been working a rather challenging schedule for the entire trip: in bed at 2 a.m. and up at 7 a.m.

Several years later, Candy planned a similar event for ordinations in Mexico City. Again, there was an opportunity to incorporate in Regnum Christi and she agreed. Ironically, the priest who guided her through the ceremony was…Fr. Lorenzo Gomez, LC.

Other Memories

Another of Candy’s favorite events (and a favorite of many Regnum Christi members around the world) was the Youth and Family Encounter in Rome, held in conjunction with the 1998 Pentecost Celebration of the lay movements called by Saint John Paul II. More than 10,000 members came from around the world, participating not only in Regnum Christi events, but in gatherings of more than half a million in St. Peter’s Square on consecutive days.

Candy was in the middle of it all, but notes that “whether you are planning for 100 people or 10,000 people, the amount of hours to plan really is the same.”

“Still, I look back on some of the events and can’t believe we did all of it,” Candy recalls. “It truly was by the grace of God.”

That isn’t to say there have not been challenges along the way. When you move thousands of individually minded travelers around the world, things can go wrong.

“One thing I struggle with is when we’re planning an event and my knowledge and experience tell me something should be done a certain way, but someone else has an alternative they are sure will work better,” Candy explains. She draws on an example from World Youth Day 1993 in Denver.

“We had rented an entire nearly ski resort to house Regnum Christi youth from all over the world,” Candy remembers. “Of course, we needed a fleet of buses to move them to and from the airport and various events.

“One of the Legionaries I was working with said he had a supporter who ran a bus company in Dallas and would send his buses to Denver and give us a great price. I had concerns, but gave in and the Dallas company hit the road.”

Candy’s concerns turned out to be well-founded. The buses from Dallas weren’t prepared for the high elevations and mountain grades of Denver; they all broke down. And Candy had to scramble to find more buses from another city in Colorado.

“Life would have been boring without the Legion in my life,” Candy admits. “And even when there were problems during an event, we handled it behind the scene so the participants were still having a great experience.

“We had a great team for the YFEs. I was always amazed by the numbers of volunteers who helped and made everything work.”

Candy was just 23 when she started working with the Legion. Today, she and husband, Richard, have been married 34 years and have grown children. And the Legionaries she has known have been a key part of her life.

“These men helped me, my mom, my dad, my family,” Candy says. “I’ve know many for years and saw them grow up and do so much for others.

“They are family. I don’t know what I would have done with them. Most of all, they brought me closer to Jesus.”

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