Dr. Brian and Valerie Doran of Alberta, Canada, are a Regnum Christi family with seven children, and have been married for 20 years. Brian is a Family Physician, and currently has a full-time practice with hospital privileges in a rural area. Together, they lead the internationally acclaimed top-tier Catholic camps Arcātheos (for boys) and Captivenia (for girls).
Brian and Valerie first encountered Regnum Christi just as Brian was about to begin 10 years of education to become a physician. Their hearts soared at the call to holiness, community and mission, but they wondered how they would manage it with a large family and the educational and professional ‘burdens’ ahead of them.
What they found is that the formation and mission they discovered in RC helped them to live their family life and professional life better. It also brought out the missionary zeal of their children. Brian takes his calling as a Catholic man, a father, and a Regnum Christi member very seriously. He believes that putting God first has helped him manage his time and priorities in order to live his prayer, family and professional life well.
In 2003 Brian launched Camp Rivendell, which would later become known as Arcātheos. His dedication to the apostolate of Arcātheos comes from a sincere desire to help form young men in the faith. The camp has grown in numbers and in excellence- with themes and story lines that call to mind The Lord of the Ringsand The Chronicles of Narnia, and a setting, costumes, and props that belong on the set of an epic movie, but all at the service of an experience that teaches boys that Christ is the Lord and they were born to live the adventure of serving him. Each year up to 90 men join his leadership team and 150 boys from across North America come to the camp, which ranges from 7-11 days long, depending on the age of the boys.
After seeing the success of Arcātheos over the first eight years, Valerie heard a growing cadre of girls ask for a similar camp. In 2010, in spite of her introverted nature, she took the leap to found the girls’ camp, Captivenia, and gathered a team of talented young women and mothers to lead with her. They have endeavored to help girls discover God’s love and the gift of the feminine genius he gives them. This is Valerie’s true passion. She was adamant that “this would not be just a copy of a boys’ camp,” stating, “I wanted to help girls become women of God filled with authentic beauty, dignity, grace and leadership.” Captivenia has grown from 25 people the first year to an annual average of a 40 person leadership team (20 young women and 20 moms) and 100 girls attending. Many of the women who help Valerie lead the camp grow in their own spiritual lives, learning to pray, and some going on retreats for the first time.
Arcātheos & Captivenia fill a unique role in building up the kingdom. But how do the incredibly successful, but demanding, camps help the Dorans build their own family? Brian and Valerie include their children every step of the way. The Doran kids are involved in the planning, building, scripting and running of the camps right along with their parents.
Their oldest daughter Maria is now a Regnum Christi member herself, and is currently serving as an RC Mission Corps missionary in France. Their son Stephen is in the early discernment of a potential call to the priesthood while completing his high school education at the Legionaries of Christ’s Apostolic school in Rolling Prairie, Indiana.
When asked how they manage it all, the Dorans light up. Valerie encourages people to “imagine if your family was open to the inspirations of the holy spirit and united in a common mission of evangelization.” Brian continues, “What if God provided the grace needed to include your children and your family in evangelization, and actually drew you closer as a family through it?” This has been the Doran family experience of Regnum Christi and their mission of leading Arcātheos and Captivenia. The camps involve the whole Regnum Christi spiritual family as well, with Legionaries of Christ and Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi serving as chaplains.
Their advice to other families? “Be open. Allow God to take you out of the box, to take you past your pre-conceived limitations. Allow him to inspire you and challenge you to do something unique and different. There’s more that God knows you can do than you could imagine. We are called to an ascent of family life, to work with our children to build up his kingdom and bring people to Christ.”