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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

June 2004

Rachel’s Vineyard is on the web at:

Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.

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Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries offers weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion. It is a ministry of Priests for Life

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Please feel free to spread the word and pass along this newsletter to friends and colleagues.

Publisher: Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Editors: Catherine McHugh, Theresa Burke
Comments and questions:

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A Message From our Pastoral Director - Fr. Frank Pavone
The Breast Cancer - Abortion Connection: A Personal Story
Last Call for Conference Registrations
Father, My Heart is Ready - A Reflection on the Passion and The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat
Love and Revelation
Conferences and Training Opportunities
Opportunities for Rachel’s Vineyard Alumni
Rachel’s Vineyard Summer Reunion "LIVING FORGIVEN" Retreat
Pilgrimage To Poland
Sharing Our Joys and Tears
Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats

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Keep hope close to your heart.
It kindles your courage,
strengthens your purpose, and
renews your commitment to life.

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Dear Friends,

Just a word of greeting to you to let you know that you have thousands of priests praying for you and lifting up your intentions and your work each day. The Priests for Life Association, which is honored to have Rachel’s Vineyard as the newest aspect of its ministry, communicates with all the priests of the country, and recommends to them special intentions for prayer. Rachel’s Vineyard, and all those who share in this ministry, are at the top of that list! We who as priests have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation are always strengthened and encouraged by people like you! I recently returned from meetings at the Vatican where I met with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who is the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Clergy. I gave him an update about Rachel’s Vineyard, and he was delighted to hear about this work. He sends his blessings and encouragement!

With prayers,
Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director

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Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles. Samuel Smiles

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By Jeanette Joyce

I am blessed each day by my retreat experience with Rachel’s Vineyard. It was through the retreat that I was finally given permission to speak about my abortion. After 27 years, the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat allowed me to open up to my husband and two teenage girls about my past. It was a time of pain but I have seen the growth it has allowed each of us. Through Jesus Christ, our trials lead to personal growth. And as my pastor advised... Christ is only able to work in the light. It is Satan who works in the darkness. The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat revealed the healing light of Christ.

If any of you have heard of the new video, The Connection Between Abortion and Breast Cancer, I am one of the women who speaks in that video. I am a mammography technician and medical educator by profession. Five years ago, I found my own breast cancer on my films. At such a difficult time, I was forced to do some self-examination. My experience on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat allowed me the freedom to go public and speak about this important issue to other women, so I share my story about abortion and breast cancer:

At the age of 18, I became pregnant. Since my boyfriend was against marriage and children at that time, it seemed that my only choice was an abortion. Abortion had just become legalized and the area phone book only listed a few locations. At the time, I was away at school and did not want to involve my family in the matter. I decided to put the incident behind me and swore to myself that I would never think about it again because even then I found it morally unacceptable but did find myself feeding into the whole "women’s rights over her own body" rhetoric and decided there was no other option.

For years I pushed the thoughts away by turning to drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors. I married a wonderful man who was aware of my past yet had none of the details. I was educated in Radiology and turned all my attention to learning mammography about 12 years ago. I began a continuing education business with the intent of educating other mammography techs. As I started my research into breast disease, I came upon the work of Dr. Joel Brind and Dr. Angela Lanfranchi who supported the theory that abortion was linked with the incidence of breast cancer. I feared learning too much about this because I realized that if it was a legitimate risk factor, I was at an increased risk.

Six years ago, at the age of 42, I discovered my own breast cancer on my routine screening mammogram. I had no family history of the disease and had no clinical abnormalities such as a palpable lump. I felt of mixture of shock, disbelief, and anger. The surgeon left me no choice for treatment and recommended a modified radical mastectomy due to the extent of the disease. My mammogram from 18 months prior was normal -- I realized I must face the fact of the abortion and investigate the doctors’ findings more thoroughly on the ABC link.

This proved to be a difficult time emotionally. After treatment for the breast cancer, my spirit was uneasy and longed for healing. A good friend from church, unaware of my abortion, introduced me to Rachel’s Vineyard. She invited me to help with the retreats and requested that I first attend one in order to learn more about them. Little did she realize that I would be attending as a participant and not just an observer.

The retreat gave me the first opportunity to openly talk about my abortion after 27 years. All the things I had been able to suppress were allowed to surface in an environment of safety and genuine concern. With every woman on the retreat, I was able to connect with the common threads, which we all had in common. We laughed, cried, wept, and even sobbed at times. We put our arms around one another. We developed an intense relationship with those who were only strangers to us the day the retreat began. We supported one another and realized we were not suffering alone. We understood that we made poor choices and finally accepted the responsibility. Instead of years of beating ourselves up privately, we exposed the truth and dealt with our disappointments and fears.

Feeling empowered after the retreat, I dived head first into the literature on the abortion/breast cancer theory. I emailed Dr. Brind asking for more information. I offered him my help in pursuing his calling to expose the truth about the harm abortion causes to women. I introduced myself to Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion and Breast Cancer. I was offered a board position and accepted. My medical background complimented the other board members. Next I accepted a board position on the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. It was shortly following this that a phone call came my way with information on a plan to produce a video about the ABC link. For some time, I was so strengthened and confident that the Lord had a plan to use me but I couldn’t understand how He would achieve His goal. With prayerful thought, I offered myself to God so His will could be fulfilled.

I flew from Chicago to Newark for the filming. Two other post-abortive women who were also diagnosed with breast cancer also participated in the filming. We were so blessed! Every piece of the puzzle fell perfectly into position. Our God is so faithful. There were no rehearsals. The video camera was turned on and the Holy Spirit gave us the words to complete such a gigantic task. Praise God.

Our gracious Lord is able to turn even the garbage in our lives into good for the glory of His name. When we stand behind the Lord and submit to His will, miracles begin to happen. I thank God for Rachel Vineyard’s Retreats and I pray that God will extend this ministry to all corners of the globe. I thank the Lord for Theresa Burke and her answer to His calling. I thank all the volunteers who step forward to offer care to the retreat participants. And I thank God for allowing me expose the truth and shine like a light into this dark world of ours. These days, I am breast-free and loving it. My focus these days are on the finish line and the opportunities that the Lord will provide to me.

Editors note:

Jeanette Joyce can be reached at

The Abortion Breast Cancer Link video runs 26 minutes and is now available from the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute website at or by calling the toll-free phone number: 1-866-622-6237 (1-86-NO CANCER)

This video is an excellent source of information! It is professionally done and easy to understand. It includes the medical explanations by experts Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., FACS, a breast surgeon, and Dr. Joel Brind, Ph.D., a professor of human biology and endocrinology. The video is hosted by Brita Stream, Miss Oregon 2002. We highly recommend this video to everyone concerned about women’s health.

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If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.  Margaret Fuller

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Jun 21-24, 2004, Rachel’s Vineyard Leadership Training Conference, Greensboro, North Carolina

This conference is packed with information for anyone involved in or starting up a post-abortion ministry. Presenters include: Georgette Forney, Janet Morana, Kevin Burke, M.S.S., LSW, Theresa Burke, Ph.D. LPC, NCP, Celia Ryan, LCSW. Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Bob Faricy, Dr. Susan Stanford Rue, Ph.D., and Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D and many others.

For information, contact: Dr. Martha Shuping, MD, or 336-659-1342.

You can also find information and download a registration form here:

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If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.  Antoine De Saint-Exupery

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A Reflection on The Passion and the Rachels Vineyard Retreat

By Maria Grace, a Rachel’s Vineyard retreatant

Father, my heart is ready—accepting this cup of suffering, dear Jesus,
I know You struggle beside me—Uniting myself to Your Passion, Lord... stay with me
I want to flee- to hide from this pain—yet in the Father’s Love, He calls me here.

My heart is so heavy as I step into this vineyard; feeling abandoned, confused, desperate, and terrified.
The accusations of my life assail me -- and hit me from all sides
I dare not raise my head—My Lord... I have sinned
The world shouts vicious threats—a myriad of accusing voices imprinting themselves on my soul—clenched fists and their words and judgments hit like stone
quietly...gently...a tender peace penetrates the turmoil—the world and its hatred fade forgiving hands placed upon my head...

My Lord... do You not condemn me??

My trembling hand reaches out to You...
Son of David, have pity on me! I take courage as You draw near—Master, Light of the World,
I wish for you to disperse the darkness of my life—please, Lord, restore my sight
open the eyes of my faith. In my suffering, May I only have eyes for You

Father, my heart is ready—stooping to pick up my cross, dear Jesus;
I sense my Mother so close to me—my strength and my comfort—She knows the agony of my heart as I walk- this
My Way of the Cross

Father, my heart is ready—I struggle beneath the weight of my secret agony
purify me in this suffering—wash me in the Blood of the Lamb, Your Son, Who walks beside me

My Jesus, stay with me—I cannot walk this without You—my hands reach out to touch my Lord


My sins have disfigured me—and grief has broken my spirit.
With blind faith I grasp hold of Your cloak, Saving Lord, please heal the hemorrhaging of my heart

Father, my heart is ready—I believe You are with me and have brought me here Search me, Lord, and know me—help my unbelief—cause me to recognize You as You are I am thirsting for You. Jesus, I accept Your Living Water—let the rivers of Your Spirit flow through me.

Father, my heart is ready—Your mercy and forgiveness have pierced my heart

The emotions come so fast...

Abba! Daddy!

This pain is too much and my strength is failing—My Mother, dear Mary—as You draw me to your heart, my bitter tears mingle with Your sacred tears—My heart is weeping...

O, Mother, you know intimately my grief—Hold me, dear Mother
Hide me in the mantle of Your tender love—Strengthen me to remain here with You at the foot of your Son’s Cross.

Father, my heart is ready—I surrender this cross—my pain, my tears, my sorrow and love
the emptiness within threatens to consume me—Teacher, quench the thirst of my heart
satisfy the hunger of my soul—I ache to know You- to see You—all I have to offer, Lord-
my brokenness, my losses, my grief

O Crucified Christ! Draw me to Yourself—hold me, sweet Jesus, in Your heart
in You alone is life—I empty my heart to You, dear Jesus in Your love, prepare a place for me

Jesus: the Way, the Truth, and the Life—help me to follow You through to the promise of the resurrection—where my precious blessings await to greet me

Father, my heart is ready—You have called me by name, dear Jesus to share in Your Passion

You have graced me with the joy and suffering to labor in this vineyard—in the painful journey to the Cross

Sweet Mother, dear Mary—how tenderly you lead me to Your Son
the losses of my heart You know

Peace of Christ- inebriate me! control my wayward, anxious heart. Live in me, Lord, so I may live in You

Father, my heart is ready—I walk beside Mary—my Comfort. My Shield and persevere in love
In the dying and rising of Your Beloved Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ—You turned grief into joy
transformed mourning into dancing—in my dying, too, dear Father—raise me to new life in faith
reveling in Your love and mercy

dear Father, I give you my heart in its brokenness and pain—I give you my bruised and tired spirit—my untrusting, defeated soul—the tattered remains of my life—I surrender my sorrow, my agony—my losses... my loves

O my Mary- O my Consolation! Be with me—immerse me in the ocean of Your Son’s love and forgiveness

Lord Jesus, Crucified Christ, King of my heart, Lord of my life
You make all things new—create me anew, sweet Savior
so I may share in the joy and hope of this resurrection

Father, my heart is ready.

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Blessed are those who mourn For they shall be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

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By Jean Vanier

My experience has shown that when we welcome people from this world of anguish, brokenness and depression, and when they gradually discover that they are wanted and loved as they are and that they have a place, then we witness real transformation. I would even say "resurrection." Their tense, angry, fearful, depressed body gradually becomes relaxed, peaceful and trusting. This shows through the expression on the face and through all their flesh. As they discover a sense of belonging, that they are part of a "family," then the will to live begins to emerge. I do not believe it is of any value to push people into doing things unless this desire to live and to grow has begun to emerge.

Living with men and women with mental disabilities has helped me to discover what it means to live in communion with someone. To be in communion means to be with someone and discover that we actually belong together. Communion means accepting people just as they are, with all their limits and inner pain, but also with their gifts and their beauty and their capacity to grow: to see the beauty inside of all the pain. To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: "You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself." We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.

Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities for the mentally disabled.

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We cannot hold a torch to lighten another’s path without brightening our own.  Ben Sweetland

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August 9-13, 2004
Spiritual Direction 2004
Guiding the Faithful into Deeper Intimacy with the Trinity
Dominican Retreat House, Elkins Park, Pa.

Father Thomas Dubay, SM and Dr. Theresa Burke and John Harvey OSFS present this unique Catholic-centered program designed to assist spiritual directors and pastoral counselors in their sacred ministry. This is not an introductory course, rather one developed for priests, deacons, religious, and trained lay directors. Seminarians are also welcome. Space is limited.

Topics will include:

Universal Call to Contemplative Prayer
Intimacy with the Trinity
John of the Cross and the Prayer of Purification
Understanding and Coping with Difficult Prayer
Expectations in Prayer
The relationship of work and leisure to prayer
A Divided Will: based on the writings of Augustine
Post Abortion Trauma and healing

For more information visit or write

August 13-15, 2004
Foundation of a Sacred Ministry: Key Issues in Spiritual Direction Weekend Conference
Dominican Retreat House, Elkins Park, Pa

Fr. Dubay and Dr. Theresa Burke will present a weekend conference. This training will focus on foundational issues of spiritual direction (formation, the director, discernment, and primary guides of the director.

For more information visit or write

Aug 12-13, 2004
Annual Summer Conference for Seminarian Life Link
Contact: Stephen Imbarrato
Seminarian Life Link

August 20-22, 2004
Living Forgiven Retreat for Rachel’s Vineyard Alumni
Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edie at

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The word "Comforter" as applied to the Holy Spirit needs to be translated by some vigorous term. Literally, it means "with strength." Jesus promised His followers that "The Strengthener" would be with them forever. This promise is no lullaby for the faint-hearted. It is a blood transfusion for courageous living.  E. Paul Hovey

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Rachel’s Vineyard Summer Reunion "LIVING FORGIVEN" Retreat

On an 80-acre retreat facility, located in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Colorado Rachel’s Vineyard team is providing a celebratory weekend retreat for past retreatants, either alone or with their spouse. The entire facility is available for our exclusive use and includes a baseball field called "The Field of Dreams", a basketball court, a volleyball court, a "singing" meadow and plenty of space to hike, walk, or just loll around the well-groomed grounds. The large, covered patio with comfy sofas provides an incredible view of the Rocky Mountains. and overlooks two ponds: one for boating; one for fishing. This will be a weekend, not for mourning and grieving, but for celebrating our God’s forgiveness and love and for living in the joy of the Lord.

Since space is limited, the number of retreatants who can participate is 60. The fee is $150 per person, which includes meals and lodging. The retreat date is: Friday-Sunday, August 20-22, 2004, with arrival any time after lunch on Friday. The location is Trinity Mountain Ranch outside of Blackhawk, which is about 1½ hours west of Denver.

Contact Edith Gutierrez (303) 682-9185 or e-mail: for more information.

Pilgrimage to Poland for those post abortive

A Pilgrimage to Poland and the shrines of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Czestochowa will take place from October 25-Nov 2, 2004 for those who have lost a child by abortion.

Father Mariusz Koch, CFR, who has worked with both Rachel’s Vineyard and The Sisters of Life, will be spiritual director of the pilgrimage. All reservations will be made through Lumina to ensure the confidentiality of those participating. The cost is $1715 per person double occupancy from NY (other cities at low ad don fare). For further information call Lumina at 1-877-586-4621. For more information: Click here: A spiritual and reflective journey to our lady in Poland


"But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget, but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing."

~James 1:25

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We express our heartfelt condolences to Grace Rau in Austin Texas, whose beloved husband recently died after a difficult battle with cancer. Please pray for the Rau family and for the peaceful repose of Marvin’s soul. As the Body of Christ, we pray together that their entire family will feel the Lord’s comfort and consolation.

Congratulations to Celia Ryan, a grief therapist, who has been active with Rachel’s Vineyard for the past 5 years. She is the proud grandmother of Madilyn Emma Ryan born Saturday May 29th at 3pm weighing in at 6 lbs 12 oz!

We are delighted to announce the publication of Rachel’s Vineyard - A Guidebook for Gardner’s compiled by Leslie Graves. This valuable book offers a wealth of practical information on preparing for, advertising and facilitation of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats. It also includes recommendations for team building and aftercare. We extend our deepest appreciation to Leslie for all her hard work and dedication to this project. It is a priceless resource for all of us in the ministry. For information on how to order contact

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We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.  Herman Melville

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June 18-20, 2004 -- Portland, Oregon
Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186

June 25-27, 2004 -- Jacksonville, Florida
Contact: Donna 904 221 3232

June 25-27, 2004 -- Long Island, New York
Contact: Frank and Lorraine Gariboldi 516 523 0586

June 25-27, 2004 -- Sacramento, California
Contact: Kathy Conner 916 733 0140

June 25-27, 2004 -- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Contact: Joy Crimmins 717 993 5450

June 25-27, 2004 -- Westcliffe, Colorado
Contact: Deb Jackson 719 783 9168

June 25-27, 2004 -- Birmingham, Alabama
Contact: Project Rachel 205 447 9644 or 1 888 343 4992

June 28-30, 2004 -- Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
Web Site: Project Rachel Australia

July 2-4, 2004 -- Wichita, Kansas
Local host: Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, Diocese of Wichita
Contact: John McCormick 316 269 4673 (in Wichita); 888 456 HOPE (toll-free state wide)

July 9-11, 2004 -- Amarillo, Texas
Contact: Gwen Johns 806 678-4673

July 9-11, 2004 -- Tupelo, Mississippi
Contact: Maria Steele 662 255 9636
Contact: Barb Baumann 662 231 1983

July 23-25, 2004 -- Atlanta, Georgia
Contact: Mary Ann McNeal 404 896 6521
Contact: Rachel’s Vineyard Atlanta

July 23-25, 2004 -- Lubbock, Texas
Contact: Cynthia Wynn 806 793 1235

July 23-25, 2004 -- Fresno, California
Contact: Jennifer 559 277 9771 or 559 709 4279

July 23-25, 2004 -- Allentown, Pennsylvania
Contact: Maryann Dunn M.S. 866 372 2435


It is not the will of your Father in heaven That one of these little ones should perish.  Matthew 18:14


Rachel’s Vineyard ® All rights reserved.

© 2004

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •