Kristine Bruce has only been a member of Regnum Christi for less than a year, but she’s already the founder of an apostolate! Praying for Our Prodigals is designed to guide and encourage people to pray, fast, and do acts of mercy for their loved ones living far from the Church, and is itself a fruit of Kristine’s own daily prayer.
The idea for the Praying for Our Prodigals apostolate came to Kristine two years ago in November of 2018. While reading a meditation on the Magnificat, a passage from St. Faustina’s diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, leapt out from the page. In the passage, Jesus was urging St. Faustina to “rescue souls” through prayer and silent sacrifice. This exhortation from Christ to pray and make hidden sacrifices, permeating with love, for the rescue of souls immediately stirred Kristine to action.
“My life changed that day,” says Kristine. “This passage dramatically grabbed my attention and rocked me to my core. My friends and I all have loved ones who have left the Church, and it’s heart-wrenching. It came to me in prayer that I should start encouraging people to pray for their loved ones.” From that day on, Kristine was inspired and determined to create an apostolate that would give both hope to those whose friends and family members were far from their faith, and the help and support they needed to pray them home. And she’s prayed the passage from Divine Mercy in My Soul that first moved her to action every day since.
Using the words of Jesus to St. Faustina as a guide on how to pray for the rescue of souls, and with the guidance and mentorship of her spiritual director, Catherine Vendetti, and Legionary, Father Martin Connor, Kristine founded Praying for Our Prodigals about six months later, in April of 2019. The apostolate provides support, encouragement, and prayers for parents and others praying for the return of their loved ones to the Church. People are encouraged to pray a daily rosary for their loved ones, and Kristine leads a call-in group rosary every Wednesday at 3:00pm. She also sends out an email that provides encouragement, hope and resources every Saturday. In addition, Kristine invites people to send her the names of those they are praying for, and she personally prays for all of these prodigals herself.
According to Kristine, most of the people who reach out to Praying for Our Prodigals for guidance and support are parents and grandparents whose children an grandchildren have left the Church. “When a parent is so close to the Lord, it really hurts when their own flesh and blood turn away from him, and even deny his existence,” she explains. “They also go through feelings of shame and abandonment, and their faith can be tested when they don’t see their prayers answered. They feel alone and don’t know how to adequately handle it.”
And Kristine knows firsthand the heartbreak that these parents and grandparents are experiencing; she and her husband have several close family members for whose return to the Church they are continuously praying. “We are heartbroken, and grieve for all those who have wandered away from our Good Shepherd,” says Kristine, who says she benefits as much from Praying for Our Prodigals as those for whom the apostolate was created. “It keeps me going, because I want to pray as much as I can for my own loved ones and for those in my apostolate. It has helped me pray more rosaries for my loved ones, which has brought peace beyond measure.”
Over the past eighteen months since founding the apostolate, Kristine has already received an abundance of positive feedback about how Praying for Our Prodigals has not only provided a much-needed community of support and encouragement, but also produced tangible spiritual fruit. She shares one story that stands out:
“One woman’s daughter had been living with her boyfriend, and she told her mom that they were planning to get engaged soon and were looking for wedding venues. She made it clear that the wedding would not be in the Church. Unbeknownst to this young lady, her parents were praying eight rosaries (all four mysteries, by each parent) per day for her for the seven months since she had told them about the non-Church wedding – the parents continued to pray the rosaries hoping the couple would reconsider. About two months later, the couple announced that it would be a Church wedding after all! Like all of us, the young couple is still working on their faith journey, but the parents are encouraged because of what they have seen so far.”
Kristine shares another story of a mother whose daughter had left the Church as a senior in high school. Through prayer, fasting, and the intercession of Mary and the saints, the mother learned not only to trust God, but also to simply love, respect, and find joy in her daughter, no matter where she might be in her spiritual journey. Thirteen years after leaving the Church, her daughter returned to the Catholic faith, has become a member of Regnum Christi, and has integrated her thriving faith into all aspects of her once-secular life. “It was miraculous answer to prayer!” says Kristine.
Over the past year and half, since the Praying for Our Prodigals apostolate was founded, Kristine has been busy praying, leading others in prayer, and finding new resources to share with those engaged in the spiritual work of praying for their loved ones’ return to the Church. Since the launch of the apostolate, Kristine has led three month-long consecrations, and is currently putting together a series of rosary meditations specifically designed for those wishing to pray for their prodigals. “I know that many, many people are hurting [because their loved ones have left the Church],” says Kristine. “I simply want to help them find peace in our Lord, and of course, help them pray their loved ones back home.”
Kristine has been a member of Regnum Christi since February of 2020, and is presently serving as the webmaster for the Nashville section. To find out more about her prayer apostolate, visit the website at www.prayingforourprodigals.com.