Totus Tuus draws people to Christ

As a junior at Oakland Catholic High School, Megan Christ encountered God’s love through the ministry of Totus Tuus, a community of consecrated women called to radiate Jesus’s love to the secular world. Her life has never been the same.

“Before meeting these women, I didn’t know that faith could be alive and personal. I thought that God was just a big idea in the sky who didn’t know or see me,” Christ said.

She became active in mission work and campus ministry through Dorrie Donahue, a founding member of Totus Tuus who is director of Mission Integration at Oakland Catholic.

After college, Christ accompanied members who walked hundreds of miles on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage in Spain. Not long afterwards, she felt God call her to join Totus Tuus. Now in her second year of formation, she has returned to Oakland Catholic as campus minister.

From left, community member Mimika Garesché, Dorrie Donahue, Dorrie’s niece Annie Kastroll, and Megan Christ at the end of the 500-mile Camino De Santiago pilgrimage in Spain in 2018.

Looking to the motto of St. John Paul II, Totus Tuus or “all yours,” the members defined their mission as living a chaste, consecrated life in the secular world, bringing Christ to those who would not otherwise encounter Him. Members work in diverse professions, from Church ministry to the corporate world, drawing people to Christ through the joy they receive from giving themselves totally to Jesus through Mary.

Totus Tuus was founded in 2012 by consecrated women whose previous community was disintegrating. They had appealed to the Vatican for formal approval.

“We wanted the Church to give us space to discern our mission more fully,” Donahue said.

 When Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz presented their cause to Pope Benedict XVI, he advised the women to “see what God is calling you to do,” she recalled.

Donahue sees the community as a “little corner of the Church.”

They cultivate a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. Members take regular pilgrimages to Marian apparition sites, such as Lourdes, France; Guadalupe, Mexico; and Fatima, Portugal.

Totus Tuus is small but growing, with 21 members worldwide, in Pittsburgh; Santiago, Chile; San Pablo, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Dublin, Ireland; and Madrid, Spain. The three Pittsburgh community members live together, centering their lives on the Eucharist. They practice Ignatian discernment, a discipline that intertwines prayer and imagination to hear the message of Scripture.

Young women who desire to focus on the Eucharist and are willing to forego dating can live with them. Women interested in joining the community undergo a year of accompaniment, two years of commitment, and two to three years of temporary consecration before they take final vows.

Every day, the women fast, spend an hour in Eucharistic adoration, pray the Liturgy of the Hours and the rosary. They have monthly silent retreats and annual eight-day retreats.

Donahue and Christ teach the women they serve at Oakland Catholic about their identity in Jesus. They remind students that their value isn’t found in their number of Instagram followers but in their dignity as daughters of God.

Donahue said that her union with Jesus satisfies the deepest desires of her heart and gives her a foretaste of heaven.

Christ added, “Consecrated women lack nothing.”

To learn more about the community, visit:

From left: Father Tom Kunz, Dorrie Donahue, Megan Christ, Mimika Garesché, and Father Bob McCreary, OFM Cap at the Mass at the Oakland Catholic High School to begin Megan Christ’s Year of Accompaniment in 2019.