Ever since I was young, I’ve had a passion and respect for all life.
I was blessed to attend Catholic grade school but since my town doesn’t have a Catholic high school, I attended public school. This was very difficult because it clashed with my beliefs.
There were several occasions where I was mocked, humiliated and segregated because of my faith; not just by my fellow classmates, but by my teachers and administration as well.
Many might back down from their convictions in a situation like this, and understandably so. But this backlash from our “culture of death” just urged me on.
It enkindled a fire in my heart and ignited my passion to defend life.
I couldn’t wait to attend a Catholic college.
I worked summers at Camp Guggenheim while attending DeSales University in Pennsylvania.
College was a wonderful experience and I know that I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to study at an institution that deeply reflected my beliefs.
I met many close friends who continue to support and encourage me. I even met my future spouse there! Seth shares my strong beliefs and Catholic faith. We will be married on the feast of St. Therese, October 1, 2011.
I graduated from DeSales University in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology.
Finding work with a Theology degree was difficult. I applied for several different positions in numerous locations to little avail when I received a call for an interview from Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, an after-abortion healing retreat program which is an affiliate of Priests for Life.
I felt it was God’s will for me and I started working for Rachel’s Vineyard in October of 2009. I am the administrative assistant for the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, Dr. Theresa Burke.
I have many different roles from answering the post-abortive hotline to overseeing and preparing the monthly newsletter to handling the insurance for retreat sites.
I work at the King of Prussia, Pa office and travel to Staten Island for Priests for Life meetings every other month.
I have the privilege of attending meetings with many well-known, influential pro-life leaders including Father Frank Pavone, Janet Morana, Father Peter West and Dr. Alveda King.
When many think of the pro-life movement, they think solely of standing up for the unborn. I hadn’t thought much about what happens after a woman makes the unfortunate and difficult choice to abort.
I have learned while working at Rachel’s Vineyard that the lasting effects of trauma on both women and men following an abortion can be very extensive.
The Rachel’s Vineyard after-abortion healing retreats are for both men and women. The retreats are based on scripture readings and exercises. There is a priest and a certified mental health professional available and the Catholic retreats include Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for the sacrament of confession.
The work in this ministry is very rewarding when I am able to assist men and women to find help and healing.
It is difficult at times to hear the heart wrenching cries of a man or woman on the phone as they describe their abortion experience and the traumatic aftermath emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Women call who are unable to have children because of physical damage from the abortion. Some have slipped into drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorders in attempts to dull the pain.
Men cry as they explain how they felt helpless in saving the life of their unborn child or after realizing that they made the wrong choice in encouraging abortion.
It is beautiful to know that our God is merciful. I’ve watched men and women walk out of our retreats completely changed.
Some come to the retreat having fallen away from the Church for years and leave with a renewal of faith and a promise to return with fervor. For some, our retreats are the very first time they’ve ever talked about their loss.
Some married couples have shared that if they hadn’t attended one of our retreats, they would most likely be divorced today.
Our culture suggests that being a faithful Catholic and a young adult can never go hand in hand. I encourage young men and women to use their faith as an anchor in life. God will not fail you.