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Nightmares becoming real

Prior to Halloween in 1978, the national television news covered the story of a young girl who had been raped. The rapist amputated her arms and left her to die in the southern Nevada desert. Stunned and horrified I envisioned her walking so traumatized to the highway, naked and bleeding from the mutilation. For days after the telecast, as I held my five month old daughter, I had reoccurring thought of this victim child, her parents and their combined pain. The apprehended rapist had once lived in my hometown Reno, just sixty miles from where I now resided with my husband.

One night, a few weeks later, I awoke to a man kneeling on my arms, pinning me down to the bed. He wore a grotesque full-headed Halloween mask and reeked of beer. At first, I hoped it was one of my husband's friends playing a twisted joke on me. My husband was with a visiting friend that night at a local bar. When I asked who he was, suddenly a knife was stuck to my throat and I was told, "Shut up and don't scream." I asked, "Why are you doing this? My husband will be home any minute." He laughed and said "Your husband shouldn't leave you home alone." 

My thoughts raced, "What should I do?" In Parochial school, I had heard that women should fight to death to protect their bodies, their honor. "But what about my daughter, sleeping in the next room? If he has not killed her already if I fight she may wake up and cry." Once again the visions of the poor girl in the desert came to me. I froze in fear. After being gagged I silently prayed the our Father and Hail Mary over and over. When the rapist left, I got up and ran to my daughter's room. I found her sleeping peacefully. I became afraid be might return. With my hands bound behind my back, I ran to every door and locked each lock. Unknowing, I wiped off every print the law enforcement officials could have used to charge the man with trespassing, assault and rape. I struggled and freed my hands to dial for help. The telephone line lead been cut. After dressing, I wrapped my daughter in blankets, grabs a loaded shotgun and ran across the road to nearby friend's house for help. When she didn't come to the door, I became hysterical. I stood in the road of the trailer park, screaming for help. No one responded. I began to cry. I wanted to die. If it hadn't had been for my child in my arms, I would fallen to the ground in despair. I felt so helpless and so alone. Frantically, I looked around and saw a trailer house with lights on inside. I ran to it and desperately pounded on the door. A woman let me in.

The sheriff officers arrived and began asking questions. I felt something inside myself slipping away from their questions. I wondered if they thought I should have fought. The deep shadow of shame began to cover and smother me. Through the haze, I saw several non-uniformed men standing in the room staring at me. My eyes were drawn to one man wearing his wife’s robe and slippers. How sick! I thought " they came to stare and judge." " They think I should have put up a fight." I was shocked to hear a voice yell, "Get them out!" The voice was mine.

My husband stood at the steps of the sheriff s office. I wanted to run and fall into his arms but I barely had the strength to place one foot in front of the other. The closer I moved towards him. it became clear, he was drunk: There he stood, weaving, reeking of alcohol. "Is this a joke? Is this for real?" he asked.

Filling out forms, being finger printed and the taped interrogation seemed to go on and on. My thoughts became fixated on the shame of being taped. "Everyone will know and see that I am a weak woman who gave in without a fight." Suddenly a new horror grabbed my heart. Remembering my past, the intimacies I had with other men before marriage would be public knowledge. "Oh, why hadn't I kept silent. If this goes to trial, my relational indiscretions would come out. The son I gave up for adoption, would be revealed." Torn between longing and shame, my heart ached. "Oh, my son, where are you?" For a brief moment, I ached and yearned for my son. As quickly as the thought of missing him had come up, it vanished. and was buried deep within.

In the hospital examining room I sat numbed, waiting for the doctor to retrieve semen for evidence. I sighed in relief as a female Indonesian doctor walked through the door. The doctor uttered not a word. She was gruff and rough. With my legs in the stirrups, undergoing one more violation, I wept. Her fingers intertwined in my pubic hair and with a yank, a handful was torn out Unexpectedly, I sat up and clenched my fist to hit her. Eye to eye, I saw another soul who could care less about me. "What is the use", I thought, "I don't matter. No one cares." I fell back and stared at the ceiling. I began to wonder if all this might be part of my punishment from God for my sexual relationships prior to marriage.

I sat alone in my mother-in-law's living room, as my husband and daughter slept. My mind replayed the attack. Consumed by the violation and fearful thoughts, I sat for hours waiting for the sun to come up. Listening to my husband's snoring, became irritating and annoying. Annoyance turned to anger. The sun brought light to the darkness but not peace. I dreaded telling my parents. Would they also think I should have fought the rapist? I began to wish I would have died like St Maria Goretti, by a violent stabbing death. Her story had been stressed as the model for chastity. I had failed in so many ways to follow her example, her struggle and her death

The realization came. "What if I get pregnant?" I called my Catholic gynecologist. "If you do become pregnant, you will just have to give the child up for adoption." Fear seized my heart. How could I go though another unwanted pregnancy and give another child up for adoption? Near hysteria, I shouted, "I can't become pregnant." The doctor very coldly stated, "Just take the medication to stop ovulation and wait." He abruptly hung up. The medication could not be taken while nursing. My daughter's resistant cries to take formula from a bottle broke my heart. It was just more pain caused by the consequence of another's actions to my life and the life of my child.

During our engagement, I had spoken openly and honestly about the adoption and how I planned to one day find my son. When I heard the words "I want you to be the mother of my child", I felt loved. I was five months pregnant when we married. I kept my pregnancy with our daughter quiet until after our marriage. The thought of another shameful pregnancy was more than I could bear.

The rumor mill in the small town began churning out destructive assumptions and gossip. One sheriff's officer took my husband aside and told him that the talk of the town would revolve around the men I had been intimate with before our marriage. Totally unaware of this conversation. I was blind-sided by my spouse's accusations, judgments and lack of support. "You would tell me if you just made this all up, wouldn't you? I wonder if you just didn't want to get caught with a boyfriend you might have. And you probably brought it on with the clothes you wear." I sat in silence, incapable, of speaking. Less than thirty-six hours previously, I had a knife stuck to my throat, was bound, gagged, and raped while fearing for my life and our daughter's life. It seemed incomprehensible to me. My own husband was questioning me about the reality and terror of the attack. I turned to look at him and when my eyes caught his, I did not speak but thought, "Where were you when this happened to me? Where were you when I was so afraid [my daughter] might be dead? Where were you as I just laid there and took it? Where were you when I was being questioned and taped at the sheriff’s office? Where were you when I was on the table in the hospital room? And now you ask me if it was real? Where were you and why weren't you with me?" I began to feel intense betrayal. Anticipating being told I was over reactive by him again, I withdrew and looked away from accusing eyes full of questions.

The evidence collected by the sheriff's office was insufficient to charge the suspect. To aid the investigation and possibly gain more information, I was taken to the law enforcement facility for hypnotism. It was the local under sheriff's belief that I had mentally blocked many pertinent facts, so I was hypnotically lead to relive and repeat the experience. During the two hour session, the officer wept. This compassionate man, spoke out and validated my hidden fears and feelings. Being told I did nothing to cause the rape gave me a sense of relief and peace. Days later I began menstruating.

I dreaded falling asleep.. My husband was trucking throughout the western states and was gone during the week. Consumed with the fear of being attacked again. I watched television every night until the station went off the air. To keep myself awake, I did all the laundry and housecleaning until the sun came up. When the fatigue was overwhelming, I kept a loaded 22-caliber pistol next to me on the couch with my finger on the trigger Succumbing to sleep meant the return of nightmares. I would wake up with a violent jerk. How I kept form shooting myself remains a mystery.

Two normal menstrual cycles had come and gone. The third cycle did not. I was pregnant. I was neither happy nor sad. I no longer allowed myself to feel any emotion. When I told my husband, he said, "You cannot have this child. Everyone will think it is the rapist's. I do not want this child. You have to get an abortion." I said, "No. This is our child." He replied, "I will not have everyone talking about me and this child. You will have an abortion or I will take [your daughter] from you and leave you. You are so messed up from the rape. I can have her taken away from you." 

I believed him. I was so exhausted and felt trapped. I anxiously thought, "He will take my baby girl from me. What am I supposed to do? I have to choose between my daughter and this baby I am carrying. I cannot lose another baby." As he drove me to the abortion, I turned to him and pleaded, "This is wrong. It's our baby we are going to kill." I felt frozen in hopelessness when I heard him coldly say, "I don't want it." Once again a father of a human life I was carrying inside of me, was abandoning and rejecting me as well as his own child, blood of his blood, flesh of his flesh. I wanted all my babies, my son, my daughter, and the child I was carrying. No other words were spoken on the drive. I felt sick from the inner turmoil, realizing I was about to murder my own child. The veil of abandonment, shame and guilt descended again. As I had given my son up for adoption to please others and the societal norms, I was going to abort our child to please my husband, to appease his fears, his need of acceptance by those in his family and his hometown. I felt totally incapable of standing up and deciding for myself. The comfort, needs and happiness of others had to be met. I knew no other way.

Step after step from the car to the abortion clinic was agony. My conscience was screaming at me. Alone in the counseling room, I spoke the truth to the clinic staff. I did not want the abortion and felt pushed into it. I received no response from the staff to my truthful statements. I desperately wanted someone to rescue me. Walking back into the waiting room, I looked to my husband for help and support, at least for some understanding. All I saw was a cold blank stare. I was called into the room. Tears streamed down my face. As the nurse prepped me, I turned to her, "Please help me, I do not want this abortion." The reply I heard was, "It will be over soon." She left. Knowing I was about to murder my own child, I spit on my fingers and made the sign of the cross on my abdomen, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." I sobbed. The doctor came in and began. I felt myself die along with the child and looked for the bottle of my child's body. I saw no bottle and asked the doctor where my baby's body went. He told me, "Everything goes down the drain." Overcome with horror and sadness, I internally screamed.

"Oh my child, I am so sorry Please forgive me If only I could join you." It was finished, an annihilation. He died and part of me died along with him. On the drive back, I turned to my husband. With consuming disgust, hatred and fury, I screamed at him. "You made me murder our child!" He looked back at me with a sadistic half smile and said "Oh I knew you were going to blame me for all this. The sheriff’s office told me that you would eventually would blame me for everything. Anyway, you love to play the martyr."

That night I met my husband at our friend's house. They asked if we would stay at their home to take care of the animals while they were on vacation. He was drunk. He sexually forced himself on me, saying it was his right. I reminded him I was not to have sex for 6 weeks. My objections fell on deaf uncaring ears. My husband raped me.

The hatred I felt towards him began to grow, fester and burn. I confronted my husband every chance I got. I verbally pushed him to a fight about his friends, his drinking problems, his spending on his racing and boating hobbies and the constant tension within in his family. His jealousy and suspicions towards me grew. I was accused of "coming on" to his brothers, relatives, friends and business associates. Alcohol became a major factor in our social and personal lives. I started drinking every night. The verbal abuse escalated to physical. He began to physically intimidate me. Pushing and shoving gave way to slaps, slugs and kicking. Feeling out of control, I saw a counselor. She asked for my husband to come in with me. He refused saying it was my problem.

Unhappy with myself, the growing marital unrest and unable to handle the guilt, I went to confession. As I began explaining the circumstances surrounding the abortion, looking for understanding and acceptance, the priest angrily cut me off, "Just confess your sins and get on with it." I left the confessional in tears believing I was unforgiven and the abortion unforgivable. My spiritual life fell into apostasy and apathy. If there really was a God, how could he allow all this to happen?

I did not have a period following the abortion. I told my husband of the pregnancy and said "I will not have another abortion." Our son was born [and] I became pregnant again [the following year].. I feared for the life of this child and did not tell my husband. When I was four months along my husband said, "You're pregnant again, aren't you ?". I replied, "Yes." "Why didn't you tell me?" he asked. I laughed at him and said, "I thought you would probably leave me over this child. So I didn't want to tell you." He said. "I am going to finish building my race car and you can go barefoot and pregnant for all I care." Our daughter was born with Hylin Membrane and Wet Lung Syndrome. She survived. She inherited urinary tract abnormalities that were detected when she was 2 years of age. Two months later as we drove home following a race. I was physically abused as I held her in my arms. I had danced with another man that evening and my husband took his jealousy out on me. I cradled and protected my daughter but I received a black eye and bruises.

The relational abuse intensified in the frenzied cycle of violence. The intimate and diseased dance of confrontation leading to physical abuse became an engrained addiction for both marriage partners. The controlled steps quickened which promised fleeting moment of reconciliation. Alcohol abuse was the means to cope between the exhilarating highs and devastating lows. The children heard and saw it all. They cried and huddled together as they watched the husband drag the wife down the hall to the bedroom by the hair. They heard the cursing, the screaming, the sounds of violent physical aggression and the cries of two who had once promised to love, honor and cherish each other unto death. The spiritual and emotional death had already taken place long before. Eventually, the one abused became the abuser. While arguing in bed about his suspected infidelities, I became so enraged I remember nothing. The next day, I saw through a black eye, the choke marks on his neck. I had tried to strangle him.

As our one truck business grew to a fleet, I worked ten to 12 hours a day. My husband used business meetings and promotion to justify his drinking during and after business hours. My husband's suspicious jealousy towards me intensified. To protect myself from his accusations and volatile rages, I avoided eye contact and conversations with men. The anguish and fear became so great, in anticipation of his jealousy, if a man talked to me, I began to sweat and tremble. I rudely ignored polite conversation.

I felt isolated, alone and trapped. I neglected the children and pushed them away from me while I drank heavily in the evenings. They received the brunt of my anger. I verbally abused them, screaming, shouting and yelling at them and slapped or spanked them in anger. In fear of his violent discipline with the children, I placed expectations on them that were beyond their age appropriate capabilities. My use of the belt on them, the slapping and punches that left bruise marks on their bodies was so repulsive to me; yet, I still felt incapable of stopping it. Lies were expected and made up to keep the abuse silent from family and friends. [My older daughter] was forced to stay home from high school for days because of the black eye and swollen lip he had given her. She was in a never-ending state of confrontational rage. She became anorexic, then bulimic and had severe panic attacks. She began using drugs.

The home was in constant chaos. To cope, I got drunk every rote. I began hearing voices when I tried to sleep. Repeatedly, I heard a man's voice call out my name. Within a month, that one clear voice changed to many internal voices in a mumbled unfamiliar language. For weeks, I was so frightened I would get up and walk around. Desperate for peace and sleep, I began praying the Apostles Creed. The voices stopped. I stopped drinking for Lent.

A year later, while on a Caribbean cruise with friends. I drank again. In a jealous rage, my husband physically abused me for the last time. I did not fight back as he threw me around the cabin. I remained curled in a ball until he was finished. I turned and looked him in the eyes. Finally, I recognized the source of the attack and said." Get away from me, Satan. If you are going to kill me, you better do it now. Because if you ever hit me again I’ll turn you in." In shock my husband left the room until the early morning hours,

I was changing. I hungered for understanding and love. I read and absorbed self-help books and religious books. My relationship with the Lord deepened. The effects of our abusive marriage and family life on the children became more evident to me. I begged and pleaded with my husband to stop drinking. I threatened to leave him many times.

We started counseling. My husband's lies continued during the sessions. I was still afraid of his rages because the children had become the focus of his need for abusive control. I was afraid for them. The sessions became intense in the therapist's search for the truth behind the destruction of the marriage. The more I spoke of my hidden pain, the angrier I felt. The depression inventory test given to us both revealed I was in severe depression. Suddenly, I found myself pacing the room, crying and speaking of my fear that my husband would take my children from me. . I told the counselor that he had given my husband the ammunition needed to support his threat to me years ago. I remembered the statement, "You was so mentally messed up, I will take your daughter away from you." I broke down and cried feeling painful despair. Thoughts and images of the past sixteen years of abuse, the rapes and the abortion flooded my being. For three days I remained in bed, sobbing over the mental video camera replay of each victimization that I had allowed. I went to counseling alone for depression and began taking anti depressants. Six weeks later, the entire family went to a session. On the drive home, my husband jealously accused me of staring at the counselor. The counseling stopped. A few months later. the old patterns returned. He was drinking again, not coming home until the early morning hours. I told him I wanted a divorce but would not leave until after Christmas.

During Christmas vacation, our youngest daughter became sick. She was referred to a specialist and was treated for a hiatal hernia and gastric reflux. After being on medication for six weeks, the doctor took me aside and said, "Whatever is going on in your home is causing your daughters illness. You must get her into counseling." I told my husband and he was adamant that she not go to the same counselor we had previously seen. After he went to bed, my daughter sobbed to me, "Mom, please get me out of here. Dad scares me. When you leave for the store or go to mass, he yells and screams at us. Sometimes, he pushed us around I am afraid of him. Please don't leave me home alone with him again." We moved out the next day.

My husband's methods of power and control over me and the children continued throughout the separation. The pattern changed to abusive financial abandonment He took me off all the accounts. While waiting for the justice system to intervene, my husband tried to break me financially. My parents supported the children and I until the judge ruled on interim support. The divorce decree was filed two years and two days after my daughter had begged me to leave

For many years I had felt the son I gave up for adoption very close to me. I commented to my husband that I expected to open the door one day, to find my son standing outside. My husband told me not to try it find him. He said, "It would be an embarrassment and that boy may try to take my money, During the separation period I felt free enough and strongly compelled to find him. I registered with the State Adoption Registry, Seven month later, we spoke on the phone. I had written a poem when I returned home from the hospital after giving birth to him. In the days following our first conversation. I wrote another poem and attached it to a drawing of my hand. I drew the same year as his birth. He spent Christmas with us.

Mother and Child

This hand that ached to touch his face to imprint her lasting love

Will Mill the fate ordained by He, the gentle cooing dove.

Her heart was rent, it mourned and wept for what was given, now missing

His spirit wounded, it searched and cried for the blessing of her kissing.

I praise you, Lord, Oh breath of life, your wings so soft in splendid white

For by your Love, this mother and child will at last touch, kiss, unite.

My son spoke to me of his abortion experience. I was shocked to hear the depth of grief, guilt and loss he felt from his girlfriend's deception in secretly aborting their child without his knowledge or consent. He was enraged by the abortion. The betrayal and the repressed hostility surfaced in the majority of his relationship with others. He found temporary solace and escape through drug and alcohol use. When he read the article titled "The Effects of Abortion on Men", by Vincent M. Rue, Ph-D. and Cynthia Tellefsen, he began to understand his post-abortive reactions.

In January 1997, I watched a program on Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network. [A woman] spoke of her abortive experience. Her daughter, the surviving twin of the abortion, accompanied her on the program. I could not sleep that night. I was plagued with thoughts and visions of Michelangelo's sculpture, the "Pieta", depicting Mary cradling the lifeless body of Her Son and the girl left in the desert 19 years ago to die after being raped and mutilated . Each had been attacked and their arms severed. One was a man's carving in stone, the other was God's child of living flesh and blood. I remembered giving birth to my son, my attempt to reach up, to touch and caress my child before he was taken away from me. Straps restrained my arms to the hospital bed. I recalled my own abortive experience and so many of the others I had heard. In a flood of images and phrases, I got up and wrote a poem. I sent a letter and a copy of the poem to Mother Angelica.

Seeing the program brought more healing to my own abortion experience of seventeen years ago. 

After eighteen years, the marriage ended in civil divorce. Preparing for the annulment process brought to light the church's stand on the secret, shameful, lonely, and chaotic existence of physical and mental abuse. The Lord has blessed me greatly through the past two years of separation, litigation and counseling. The Christian marriage and family therapist induced the labor pains of character refinement. Learning how to value and defend myself, as a precious child of God who deserves love, was agonizing. The many women brought into my life, having endured abusive marriages, thought as I did: If we prayed hard enough and continually sacrificed by turning the other cheek, our marriages, our husbands and our children would be saved. Confessionals are empty, yet therapists rooms are not. I wonder if therapists had sessions in parishes would the confessional cobwebs disappear?

A sleepless night, unrelenting visions of the Pieta mutilated, brought forth the enclosed poem. The abortive consequence can be buried or denied but the pain lasts a lifetime. Perhaps the poem can give hope to receiving mothers.

the silent pietas

consider the mother rejected, her seed, a child denied

a masterpiece created, named, given to reside deep inside

eternal, endlessly bonded in an intimate life-giving tie.

outrage, horror, disgust, the world's united cry

arms severed, by man, a knife, tormented human pride

cold and unfeeling, stone releases not a solitary sigh.

It was her patterned nature: shamed, alone, timidly, shy.

To appease another, their flesh, in secret she did hide

A viable part of her own life, to continually die.

the world turns its back, understand the loss, it can not, will not try

yet in deafening silence, a heart bleeds, it mourns, tears never dry in

  constant escape, vision obscured, she blindly, wildly attempts to fly.

To unite souls divided her son, the God Man willingly hung on high

In longing arms, Michelangelo's mother will lay the innocent, side to side

cradled in lap, on bended knee…can you, will you try,

to understand or hear, the two, in unison sigh…

Shortly after writing the poem, I met and spoke with Father Pavone during his trip to my city. Later, as I viewed Father Pavone's "Priests for Life" web site, I read numerous articles by David Reardon of the Elliot Institute. Two of Dr. Reardon's articles further clarified to me the seriousness and devastation of abortion. They were "A list of Major Psychological Sequelae of Abortion" and the "New Explanation For Bobbitt Multination Points to Abortion." The progressive levels of relationally accepted abuse prior to a chosen or coerced abortion places women, as the subordinate and submissive gender, at risk. Methods of power and control used over many of these women migrate from emotional manipulations to open acts of physical violence aimed to intimidate through coercion. Displayed as the means of conflict resolution in the familial setting, emotional and physical abuse passes from generation to generation. Our nation, our generation has supported, condoned and legalized the most absolute form of abuse -- abortion. As the millions of abortive parents become aware abortion and begin to experience their post abortive pain and journey to healing, each member of society will soon accept responsibility and accountability for its judgments on who or what has been wanted or unwanted.

Accept Us, Embrace Us, Forgive Us

Lord, our souls reach for Your acceptance and sweet embrace.

Until Your will is complete, receive and hold us in Your grace.

Without You near, we are weak and full of fear!

We shouted from the rooftops, each claiming to be Your child.

Yet, we failed to recognize You in others all the while.

Forgive us Lord, again. By judging, we took Your name in vain!

Lord, trembling we remember each stinging word and deed.

In our pride, jealously, lust, avarice and greed,

On others, we placed the blame. We caused You and them much shame!

We are yours, take our praise, our joy and all our pain,

So that others may come to know and love You again.

Stretch us, Lord, all You can Satisfy Tour wondrous plan!

My mother recently shared an article with me that reported the rape of a Croatian nun within her convent walls. She became pregnant. The daughter and bride of Christ, through the blessing of her Mother Superior, kept her child. The sisters of the community support this mother and baby not only spiritually but emotionally and financially as well.

My payer is for a return to arms. The return of aborted children to the arms of their parents. Two of the Lord's most treasured gifts to me have been the return of my adopted son to my arms and the butterfly kisses upon my cheek of my aborted child who is now cradled in heavenly arms.

During the battling divorce war I had an unforgettable dream. I stood at the foot of the cross. The noise from the crowd behind me was deafening. Turning in full circle, I saw men of every walk of life. Some jeered in hatred, some in sadistic laughter and others held conversations of idle talk. My eyes then focused briefly on Mary, the other women and John. The shocked anguish in eyes full of horror led me to the source of their painful numbness. Suddenly, the only sound I heard was His. The breath of life, in a shallow death rattle, was drawn in with excruciating pain and released in a slow whisper. I looked at his feet and the constant flow of blood streaming to the ground. I caressed His feet and wept. My eyes began to look at His Body. Every muscle spasmed. I cried out, "Lord, please let me join you, let me wipe you face, kiss you cheeks. Why are you doing this? Let me hold you." With His head bowed, in determination, hands clenched, He pulled Himself up and inhaled deeply. In a pleading question, He asked, "My daughter, don't you understand how much I love you?" His head the raised and I saw His face. I gasped, in shock as His face changed to my husband's face. I woke up.

The Son of God answered for each one of us. On that one day in Jerusalem, we were all united in Him. Now I am beginning to see that passion and suffering He assumed inside of each man I meet. The sorrow and anguish of His spirit is revealed in each person's eyes -- the inhumanity and savagery of man to himself and to other men. What still amazes me at times is the gentleness and compassion of Jesus' spoken word even to the betrayer. As the Lord thrust the double-edged sword of His word into heart of Judas, there was no arrogance, no belittlement. "What you are going to do, do quickly." Jesus allowed the freedom of choice to each: the betrayer, the denier and those who abandoned Him. "…You will deny me three times." "…This very night…the sheep of the flock will be scattered." Yet, He understood and accepted the reasons and fears behind their actions. In compassionate understanding and mercy for our brothers and sisters who are silently suffering their own passions and deaths, we can become advocates, leading them to His unconditional love and absolution. In his time, the Lord will raise them to walk out of the tomb. Martha and Mary listened to the Lord's instructions and removed the cloth wrapped around the face of their brother, Lazarus, and untied his burial bands. We are also called to listen to His instructions and remove the veil of shame wrapped around the faces of grieving parents and untie their bands of guilt.

His call aroused me from the tomb

Chosen, touched, washed and fed

Alive, I am His, beautiful, peaceful, whole.

I turn to see, what once was dark.

Where I laid, lifeless cold and tightly bound,

Was planned and is now an empty glory hole.

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172 • Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. 888-735-3448, (718) 980-4400 • Fax 718-980-6515
mail@priestsforlife.org