Archive for March, 2017

Does Christianity Form us to Be the Passive Doormats of the World – or Horses Trained for Battle?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Sword of Revelation

When Jesus said “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” and St Paul refers to the “meekness” of Christ, we tend to think of passivity, vulnerability, and spineless submission.

Sadly, many are turned off to Christianity because they think it forms it’s adherents to be weak doormats for abuse.

Author Sam Whatley tells us…we got it all wrong.

This brief article has some priceless wisdom and inspiration for those on the front lines of the battle to end abortion and proclaim reconciliation and recovery to anyone who participates in the death of unborn children.

We are not called to be hot-headed, irrational firebrands nor are we passive and powerless bystanders on the sidelines of a culture of death.

We are called to be meek – meek as ancient horses trained to remain united and obedient to our Master,  focused and resolute amidst the chaos and carnage of war.

Read the article:  Meek Like a Warhorse

 

A Comprehensive PATH to Healing Abortion Loss: An Atlanta Ministry Shares the Benefit of offering both the SaveOne Bible Study and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

PATH

In 1987 MaryAnn McNeil and Anita Willoughby saw the need in the Atlanta area for emotional and spiritual healing of those hurting after abortion. They founded PATH (Post Abortion Treatment and Healing)  at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

PATH developed a comprehensive outreach for those wounded by abortion that features bible studies, weekend retreats, counseling and community outreach.

The current director of PATH is Jody Duffy, RN. Jody has served as a volunteer in abortion healing ministry with PATH from 2001 until March 2016 when she took over as Director.

I recently interviewed Jody to learn more about PATH.

Kevin:   PATH has offered support groups and later retreats since they started. Recently you began to use the SaveOne Bible Study program at PATH.  Can you share with us your experience with SaveOne?

Jody: Last April, 2016, I attended a training for the SaveOne Bible study that was being sponsored by psychiatrist Dr. Martha Shuping.   Dr Shuping serves as a PATH advisor and is also trained as a Rachel’s Vineyard facilitator and counselor.  The workshop presenter was SaveOne founder Sheila Harper.

I brought the information back to PATH and began training our Bible study leaders shortly after. Since last April, with over 20 volunteers PATH has completed four SaveOne Bible studies and currently has five running at six different locations in the Atlanta areas.

 Kevin: Jody can you share with us about your experience offering both the Rachel Vineyard weekends and the SaveOne bible study for those hurting after abortion?

Jody: PATH offers 3 Rachel’s Vineyard retreats each year.  Rachel’s Vineyard is like no other experience for a person needing healing from a past abortion experience. However, participants benefit from a continuation of that process of healing. That is why we offer the Bible study format as well to our clients.

Due to time and schedules and even geography, some people are limited to the retreat. That is why we always advocate Companions on the Journey, an online after care program offered by Rachel’s Vineyard.  As with many other Rachel’s Vineyard sites, people come from different parts of the country and would not be able to participate in our local programs.

Kevin: Jody you have shared with me that you see SaveOne and Rachel’s Vineyard working nicely together.

Jody: We recommend and offer both the Weekend Retreat and Bible Study to those that come to us for help.  The two programs really complement one another.

The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is an intense weekend of sharing, learning, and healing. In itself it is a profound and valuable recovery experience.

However, recovery is a journey and by offering the Bible study, we can walk down that road for 11 weeks and dig deeper. Our clients as well as our leaders are very impressed with the SaveOne Bible study.

SaveOne is tender, experiential, deep, and healing. It really allows participants to look deeper at what really happened and how to trust God to walk that journey with you. The program guides one through some of those emotions which may have been left unchecked and teaches them how to rely on God to help them face their past and walk on the healing journey with them.

So clients can begin with either program initially and then later experience the retreat or support group if they like.

Kevin: PATH offers its services to men as well as women correct?

Jody: Yes, our Rachel’s Vineyard retreats have always been open to both men and women. The SaveOne program has a separate model for men and women and we offer both.

Kevin: It’s great to see in the Catholic Church how many Deacons are getting involved in abortion recovery ministry. You are blessed to have Deacon Mike Mobley serving with PATH.

Jody:  We are truly blessed and Deacon Mike Mobley has worked on our Rachel’s Vineyard team for over 10 years. He has also led Bible studies for men. Sometime he ministers in the group format and other times he meets one on one with the men.  It all depends on the need at the time.

Deacon Mike recently completed our first Men’s SaveOne study. He and the man he worked with were very pleased with the study. Another men’s group just started last week at our Roswell, GA location. Bible study allows time for the men to form a true brotherhood and friendship, just like it does the women.

Kevin: You also minister to married couples right?

Jody: We have had married couples on both the retreat and in the Bible study. However, some prefer to do the retreat and Bible study separately. We are always flexible depending on the situation.

Sometimes participants in our SaveOne support group will later attend the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend with their spouse who may or may not have a past abortion.   They always find a deeper healing of their loss within their marriage.

Spouses who are not the biological parent have the opportunity to not only come and support their partner but also experience the blessing of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat process. On Sunday at the memorial service they can spiritually adopt their spouse’s unborn child or children lost to abortion.  This provides another level of healing for families.

Kevin: What other outreach is PATH involved in?

Jody: Along with providing the Retreats and Bible studies, PATH speaks at parishes, to youth groups, Respect for Life gatherings, the Knights of Columbus, Students for Life groups, and anyone else who will listen to our message about the pain and hurt abortion causes and importance of healing from abortion.

____________

–                  Here’s the Contact info for PATH Atlanta and their website here.

–                  To find out more about the SaveOne program please visit this page on their website  or Phone: (615) 347-8800 – email: info@saveone.org

–                  To learn more about starting a Rachel’s Vineyard program in your area please contact the International Rachel’s Vineyard Office or phone 610 354 0555.

 

 

“My Dad Made Me Have the Abortion”: A Desperate Father Wrestles with Pride, Denial and the Love for his Daughter

Monday, March 13th, 2017

father daughter

“I was hoping you could help my daughter. She needs counseling…my daughter, Gina, is dating this guy. He’s verbally and physically abusive.”

Mr. Davis sounded desperate. In his voice I could detect anger and hurt but worst of all helplessness.

“I can’t just sit back and watch my daughter ruin her life…I love her so much but I’m losing her.”

I informed Mr. Davis that [as a counselor] I couldn’t break them up but I could help Gina examine her relationship and sort out her feelings about this man.

Then I asked Mr. Davis if anything else had happened between Gina and her boyfriend. The question itself was a threat.

Mr. Davis hesitated. Finally he answered;

“Well, there is something but it should really come from her. I think she should be the one to tell you.”

“Did your daughter have an abortion?” I asked in a matter of fact tone.

The word was said – Abortion.

There was silence, as is almost always the case. I had a telephone listing for Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats (For Post Abortion Healing), yet still people would often struggle to explain why they were calling.

I met his daughter that night. Gina was 19, with long blond hair and sad blue eyes.

“My dad made me have it,” she explained. “He told me I could not live with them if I didn’t. He knew it might make me hate him but he was willing to take that risk. I’d get over it, he said. I was not raised to believe in abortion. In high school I even wrote a paper on it.”

Gina’s story came out in between distressing sobs and gasps for air.

“I came home from college on a Friday to tell them about the pregnancy and what we were planning to do…. My dad hit the roof. Dad took my boyfriend into the kitchen to have a man-to-man talk. They would not let me in. Dad tried to pressure him to convince me that abortion was the best thing.”

With much difficulty, she continued.

“Two days later I was up on a table, my feet in stirrups. I cried the whole way there. My mom took me. I kept telling her I did not want this…They killed my baby.”

After a long tearful pause, Gina continued,

“Just as quickly as it had happened everyone seemed to forget about it. My parents never talked about it. They were furious when they found out that I was still seeing Joe. Things were not so good between Joe and me either. We were always fighting.”

Joe signified Gina’s connection to their aborted baby. Gina feared that giving him up would destroy the only bond remaining to the child she still needed to grieve.

Gina was trapped in a vicious cycle by which she was punishing both herself and her father.

Once Gina was in treatment for the emotional trauma of her abortion, she was able to express these feelings. It was important for both her sake and her family, however, that her parents should also enter into the therapy process with her.

Father Knows Best?

The night before our [family counseling session, Gina’s father] called me.

“My stomach has been upset all week since I heard about this meeting,” he said. “I want to do what is best for Gina.”

Then his tone became more formal and forceful:

“I just want you to know that this is NOT a moral issue to me. Gina had to have that abortion! I still think we made the right decision…”

With renewed determination, I explained,

“Mr. Davis, I know you love your daughter very much. The fact remains that your daughter lost something. What she lost was a child. Gina thinks about it every day. She cries about it every night. The event is far from over for her. You need to hear how the abortion has affected her.”

Mr. Davis did not respond. With conviction, I continued:

“When someone dies, the worst thing another can say is ‘it was for the best, its better this way.’ This does nothing to comfort and console; it only makes the person angry because you are not appreciating their loss or grief. Worse for Gina is that you do not recognize the life that she is missing. Gina misses her baby, a child you have not been able to acknowledge.”

Eventually, Mr. Davis agreed that he would try to listen and that maybe he had something to learn.  I really couldn’t hope for more than that.

When Mr. Davis came in the next morning, he opened with a surprising statement.

“I had no right to make that choice,” he said.

After wrestling with various points in our conversation all night, he admitted that for the first time he realized that abortion was not Gina’s choice.

A Shining Light

The family session began and it was very intense.

Gina expressed her anger, hurt and feelings of rejection. She also shared her grief about the aborted baby.

Suddenly grief came upon Mr. Davis. He stared in disbelief, as if a light had abruptly cast shocking rays into a blackened room.

His voice broke with anguish.

“Oh my baby, my sweet baby, my Gina,” he cried. “I am so sorry. I was so wrong.”

He pressed his face against her cheek and the tears finally came.

His tears mingled with Gina’s as they both wept. Gina put her arms around him. They embraced tightly as her father gently stroked her long hair. All the anger, the bitterness, the pent-up emotions, the grief, gave way. They sobbed in each other’s arms.

Mr. Davis begged for her forgiveness. Between tears and tissues, he told Gina she would have been an incredible mother. In one beautiful moment, her motherhood had been validated and Gina wept with relief.

[Excerpts from Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, By Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David Reardon.] You can read the complete chapter and purchase Forbidden Grief here.

 

A Grandmother’s Story of the Traumatic Abortion of Her Grandchild and the Priest Who Helped the Family Heal

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

mother-daughter-relationship

I begged my daughter Lisa not to have the abortion.

I called my Parish Priest, Fr. Dominick.  He rushed to the hospital to try and persuade Lisa to change her mind.   Father gave her a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul, and spoke of what a gift this child would be to the family.

Lisa walked away from the priest in tears and went into the procedure room to allow the doctors and nurses to end the life of my grandchild.

I cannot explain the level of grief and anger that flooded my heart and soul. I was filled with rage at the hospital and all involved with the procedure.

But I was most hurt by my daughter going through with the abortion even after I pleaded with her to give life to this child.

Reaching Out from the Pain

My mother and father have always been very close to my children and they were aware of the abortion. They were deeply grieved by the loss of their great-grandchild and heartbroken for Lisa.

When my mother learned of the abortion she prayed immediately and asked her deceased dad to receive the baby since the child died on my grandfather Adam’s birth date.

Shortly after the abortion I went to talk to Fr. Dominick. After I shared my pain, he suggested I consider a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend, a program of emotional and spiritual healing for individuals and families suffering after abortion loss.

The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat was a powerful experience of healing and went to the heart of my post abortion trauma and grief. The weekend helped me to find peace and closure. I formed a number of close friendships from that weekend and the follow up support group meetings.

During this period I would pray during Eucharistic Adoration and beg Jesus to call my daughter to healing. I could see how she was suffering terribly after the abortion.

She knew of my Rachel’s Vineyard experience and my friends from the retreat. Lisa would react with cynicism and mock my “abortion friends.” But beneath that defensive behavior, she was hurting and in need of healing.

A Miracle Unfolds

Six months after the abortion, my son asked Lisa to be the Godmother of his baby boy. This event triggered a release of her pent up post abortion grief and pain and Lisa suffered a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization.

She recovered from the breakdown, but remained deeply wounded.

Two years after the abortion she met a man with an abortion in his history. He encouraged her to consider the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend. When Lisa told me she was considering making a retreat, I was overjoyed.

I was blessed to be able to attend the memorial service on Sunday of my daughter’s weekend when participants honor the children with a special ceremony and Mass.

When I opened the memorial service program I looked over the list of names of the babies being entrusted to the Lord.  I knew right away the name Lisa had given my grandchild – Dominick Leonard.

Lisa named the baby after the priest, Fr. Dominick who had been so kind to her and who tried to stop the abortion – and after the abortion continued to reflect the love and mercy of Christ to my daughter. She gave the baby the middle name of Leonard after my dad, who Lisa loves dearly.

This memorial service was deeply painful but it was the suffering of the cross, with the faith and hope of the resurrection. We trust that Dominic is alive with the Lord. We grieved and honored the child together.  This was a time of grace and healing of our relationship which had been so deeply damaged by the abortion.

For the next 6 years I had the privilege of serving in various capacities on the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats offered by the Archdiocese of Newark.  I encourage any grandparent suffering after the loss of a grandchild to abortion to consider if a healing program would help you find peace and bless your family.

– Leann Domico-Vasquez

 

La Pena Ocultada de los Abuelos Después Del Aborto

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Grandparents

Un pastor local le pidió a un terapeuta de Rachel’s Vineyard en la ciudad Palm Beach de la Florida que diera un breve mensaje de esperanza y sanación en las misas del fin de semana. Después de aprender sobre el programa Shockwaves of Abortion, decidió centrarse en el tema de “shockwave” (o onda sísmica) para marzo – “Sanando a los Abuelos”.

La terapeuta compartió un breve mensaje sobre el dolor no reconocido de aquellos que han perdido a sus nietos al aborto. Mientras hablaba notó que muchos en la congregación estaban profundamente conmovidos por el reconocimiento de su dolor como abuelos; Observó los ojos llenándose de lágrimas cuando se les dio permiso para reconocer su pérdida.

Ella se preguntó si esto era una casualidad que tantos en la congregación estaban movidos por su mensaje. En las siguientes 3 misas descubrió el mismo nivel de dolor expresado abiertamente por el gran número de abuelos sentados en los bancos de la iglesia.

El aborto no es sencillamente una decisión privada entre una mujer y su proveedor médico, como la propaganda pro-aborto nos hace creer – es una pérdida en la familia. Dependiendo del papel de un abuelo en el aborto y su nivel de dolor emocional y espiritual, pueden beneficiarse de programas como Rachel’s Vineyard que dan la bienvenida a los abuelos.

El programa Rachel’s Vineyard le ofrece a los abuelos la oportunidad de reconocer su pérdida y desarrollar una relación espiritual con un miembro único de su familia. Los abuelos que asisten el retiro del fin de semana cuentan que la gracia y la bendición de la experiencia les han abierto la puerta a la curación adicional de esta pérdida en sus familias.

[Para encontrar un retiro de Rachel’s Vineyard e información de contacto en un sitio mas cercano, visite nuestra página de recuperación del aborto: ingrese su código postal para encontrar retiros y otros recursos en su área: www.abortionforgiveness.org]

 

Yesenia Lepe Lost a Sibling to Abortion: “A Cloud of Sadness Loomed over our Family…Rachel’s Vineyard Brought Salvation to Our Home”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Light Shines in Darkness

[The following letter from Yesenia to Theresa Burke, Ph.D., was originally published in the Rachel’s Vineyard newsletter Vine and Branches.]

More than 35 years ago, my parents found themselves newlywed, with a one month old baby, and again with child. Heartbreakingly, they bought into the lie that abortion was an answer to their fears.

Since that moment, they promised to keep that choice a secret. Years passed, and they had three more children (myself included).

Growing up, we were taken for our sacraments, but never fully alive in the faith. We did not even own a Bible.

Fast forward to 2007, my mother came across a bulletin for Rachel’s Vineyard, and our lives changed forever.

Because of my parent’s healing at Rachel’s Vineyard, they were able to come home and open up their hearts to my siblings and I.

The cloud of sadness which had loomed over our family life for so many years finally disappeared…with the power of God’s truth and God’s love.

We came to know Jesus in a profound way through experiencing with my parents His healing power. Today, we live for The Lord, sharing the good news and giving Him praise for all His blessings and graces.

In closing, I just want you to know that my family and I deeply appreciate you and the work the Lord entrusted you with. Rachel’s Vineyard is a treasure for our Church…a gift that transformed our lives.

Please know you, you’re team, and your family are always in our prayers.

God BLESS YOU! Love, Yesenia Lepe

 

Childhood Abuse Survivor has a Message for Emma Stone and the Hollywood Glitterati: “Planned Parenthood Enslaved Me to a Self Destructive and Soul Crushing Lifestyle – A Pregnancy Care Center Set me Free”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Emma Stone

Celebrities like Emma Stone sported pins at the recent Oscar awards to show their support for Planned Parenthood.

They tell us that Planned Parenthood empowers women with essential reproductive healthcare, especially families in our poorest communities where many of their facilities are located.

Meet Susan

Susan was a client of Planned Parenthood for many years.

She was born with 2 strikes against her.

“My childhood was full of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse by my father, and at a very early age, I went looking for a man’s love thru sex.”

As Susan travelled down the self-destructive road of looking for love in all the wrong places, she was desperate for of the care and acceptance of a father who abused and rejected her.

Susan shares about her first abortion using the RU-486 pills she obtained at Planned Parenthood:

“The abortion was very painful physically and emotionally; the baby looked like a little turtle when it came out. I buried the baby outside because I couldn’t stand to flush it.”

Without healing, women with previous abuse and trauma are more likely to have repeat abortions – close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.

Back Alley Chemical Abortion

Susan returns to Planned Parenthood for her second abortion:

“The second abortion was kind of a “back alley” abortion. I had gone to Planned Parenthood for pills and was turned away because I was a few days past the cutoff for having a medical abortion…one of the employees there agreed to help me anyway, and she offered to meet me in a parking lot where she would give me the pills.  This obviously wasn’t the first time she had done it because she had a system in place.”

Note the expert counseling and medical care offered by Planned Parenthood to this increasingly self-destructive young woman.

Susan was locked into repeat patterns of re-enacting her past trauma.

Planned Parenthood was waiting with chemicals and procedures to keep her enslaved to the behaviors and dysfunctional relationships that can flow from abuse and neglect in childhood and adolescence, and arising from her unhealed abortion losses.

Planned Parenthood Staff: Jaded by Choice

Susan began to realize that the staff at Planned Parenthood really didn’t care about her. They were motivated by greed but on a deeper level, the daily immersion in immorality and death takes a toll on the staff.

Employees at abortion businesses often have their own wounds from abuse and past abortions.  The can suffer from burnout and become callous and even abusive towards their clients.

Susan shares:

“The staff was cold and unsympathetic and the doctors were even worse. It’s like they despise you, but conceal it under the guise that they are ‘helping’. I had never felt cared for or understood at these places.

It was clear to me then that money mattered way more than my health to them, but it didn’t stop my careless behavior towards sex because I had not changed nor had I changed what I thought about myself. In fact, the abortions only led to lower self esteem…I knew what I was doing – and I hated myself for it.”

If you read the testimonies of the thousands of women who are part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, you will learn that this treatment of women by Planned Parenthood staff is quite common.

Enabled in this self-destructive path by Planned Parenthood, Susan experienced her final and most traumatic abortion:

“The fourth and final abortion was a D&C type at Planned Parenthood. I was too far along for a chemical abortion and so this time I actually had to face the reality. I was placed on a table and stretched and pulled, and suctioned, and it was horrifying and painful.”

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Thankfully Susan’s long nightmare came to and end.

It was not Planned Parenthood with their pin wearing celebrity glitterati that finally stopped Susan’s descent into hell.

It was the services of a Pregnancy Care Center:

Susan shares:

“I became pregnant again in 2008 when I was heavily addicted to Meth – a way to self medicate my pain and depression. I was broke and homeless and ended up at a Pregnancy Care Center.  The director there listened and offered help, but no judgment…She gave me a grocery store gift card, a gas gift card, and free maternity clothes.

She actually cared and told me about classes they have at the center that I can attend to earn items that I would need. I began to hear truths in these classes that I had forgotten (or maybe never learned); that I was valuable, that God loved me in spite of my sin – that I didn’t have to stay the way I was…”

Susan gave birth to a child with special needs that she placed in the loving care of an adoptive family.

Susan found in that Pregnancy Care Center something she never found in all her years of going to Planned Parenthood facilities:

“For the first time in my life, when I was at my absolute worst and most disgusting self, I was able to see God showing His love for me.

He began to heal my heart from the previous abortions and abuse, and I was able to forgive those people (my parents and boyfriends) who had so deeply hurt me, which then allowed me to forgive myself.

I left the drugs and promiscuous lifestyle behind and began the long process of rebuilding and reconciliation.

Planned Parenthood didn’t help me… the abortions didn’t help me.

The LOVE of the staff at that Pregnancy Care Center did more than help me, it led me to real salvation and healing.”