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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

July, 2005

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 weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion are held internationally. Rachel’s Vineyard welcomes, women, men, couples, grandparents and abortion providers. Our retreats are held in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings. Rachel's Vineyard Ministries is a resource for clinical training, education, and healing models.

Rachel’s Vineyard is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

We work in close partnership with Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries.

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Help us spread the Good News! Pass along this newsletter to friends and colleagues. If you are receiving this newsletter because a friend forwarded it to you, details on subscribing (or unsubscribing) appear at the end.

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Forgiven and Free

By Susan Swander

In April 2004, I attended my first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat weekend for post-abortion healing. These are some reflections about the year after my first retreat:

The retreat process helped me to lay all my brokenness at the feet of Christ. I was able to ask Christ and my children for forgiveness. The mercy and love of Christ helped me to name and claim my wounds. Christ gave me a frame for the broken pieces of glass. At the retreat, I began to put the pieces of my broken mirror back together inside that frame.

The early part of the process was really painful. I had to pull all those broken pieces of glass out of my soul and look at them. This is excruciating work. With Christ’s love all around me, comforting me and guiding me, I was able to do this work.

I returned home from the retreat with my broken glass pieces and the frame of Christ’s love. Since then, I have been laying those broken pieces in their proper place inside the frame. This is slow work. Sometimes I get a piece in the wrong place, and have to work on it some more to find where it belongs. Christ’s forgiveness and mercy hold all those pieces in place. And the rewards for the work are splendid. Each piece that is put into it’s right place looks beautiful and makes the rest of the growing mirror that much closer to whole again.

My work on my remaining brokenness has been twofold. At my retreat, I promised my children that I would make something good come out of our pain. One way I have been doing this is by speaking out — through my voice or my pen. Each time I talk or write about my abortions and my healing another piece of my shame and guilt is cleaned off and fitted back into the mirror in the frame.

My second effort is interior work — quiet, prayerful work. This is harder for me; silence is still difficult. I am so used to living with external noise (people, TV, radio, computer) to drown out the internal pain that quiet is hard sometimes. As my wonderful retreat facilitator recently reminded me, "There are many quiet, personal, slow, interior steps which must be made too. These are the deep ones, which knit you together and make you into a garment of warmth and safety for spreading God's love and forgiveness onto others." So, in this past year I’ve made a concerted effort to do some hibernating and do some inside work. This led me to the decision to attend a second Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in April 2005.

My second retreat helped me to see how much healing I have done. It also helped me to address some lingering difficulties. Some broken shards of glass still needed pulling out of my wounded soul. Again it was a painful process, but well worth it. God guided me through some more healing, so my mirror is more beautiful than ever.

God has been gracious enough to give me some objective glimpses of the woman I am today. I am forgiven and free. I am free of the shame, the guilt, the self-torture, the self-loathing that I carried for so long. I am free from many of my old behaviors and reactions. I am not taking things as personally or critically. I do not worry nearly as much about my living son. I am free to love more openly than I have been able to in many years. I am free to listen, to learn and to speak my truth. I am free from the chains of my abortions.

This journey is an incredible blessing. I don’t think my mirror will ever be perfectly whole again. My abortions did change me forever. But even with a crack or two or a few missing pieces, I am more beautiful today than I’ve ever been. Thank you Jesus! And thank you Holy Spirit!

Susan Swander owns an insurance agency on the Central Oregon Coast. She belongs to Sacred Heart parish in Newport, Oregon.

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Rachel’s Vineyard International Leadership Conference

"Becoming Fruitful Vines for an Abundant Harvest"

San Damiano Retreat, Danville, CA

November 13 through 18, 2005

Rachel's Vineyard Ministries is delighted to bring its annual National Leadership Conference to the West Coast. Hosted by the Diocese of Oakland's After the Choice Post-Abortion Outreach, this year's conference is open to those already laboring in the field of post-abortion ministry, those engaged more generally in pastoral care, as well as licensed mental health and medical professionals, clergy and lay chaplains, spiritual directors and retreat leaders. We extend a special welcome to those who have newly discovered the life-transforming power of the Rachel's Vineyard model of healing.

This year's conference begins Sunday evening, November 13, 2005 and continues through Friday late afternoon, November 18. Sessions specific to Rachel's Vineyard will begin Sunday evening and continue through Wednesday morning, November 16. Feedback from past conferences has suggested the need to allow participants some "down time" to rest, refresh and begin to absorb what they have taken in through the workshops. For this reason, Wednesday afternoon and early evening are free for time to either relax around the retreat center or take part in an optional off-site excursion. There are two excursion options: Either a San Francisco City Tour or a Winery Tour.

By popular demand, we will once again welcome Greg Magirescu to lead us in musical prayer. Another special treat will be a concert and Eucharistic Holy Hour with Nationally acclaimed recording artist, Michael John Poirier.

Wednesday night we will re-convene the entire group at the retreat center and Thursday morning we continue with a two-day workshop on healing ministry given by internationally renowned healing pioneers Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn. Conference attendees are strongly encouraged, though not required, to stay for both days of the Linn workshop, as it promises to be personally enriching and offer concrete tools to those engaged in various healing ministries. Many of the Linns books, on topics ranging from 12-step recovery to healing pre-natal hurts, healing the family tree, healing our image of God and healing of our life's purpose, will be available for purchase during the final days of the conference.

Workshop selections will take place on-site. In other words, there is no need to commit to specific workshops at the time of registration. Participants may choose individual sessions as freely as they wish, while others may principally take workshops in one of the four tracks offered this year: Foundational Issues, Clinical Skills, Outreach, or Personal and Team Growth.

In short, this year's Leadership Conference will allow those new to Rachel's Vineyard to learn, pray and network alongside those who are richly experienced in offering Rachel's Vineyard retreats and support groups. Those working in other fields of spiritual care and human development are also warmly welcome.

· Workshops and Discussion will help you cultivate the vineyard of our shared ministry in the place where God is using you.

· Prayer and Praise will lift our hearts to God and celebrate the Holy Spirit's work in our lives and in the lives of those we serve.

· Chaplains and Mental Health Professionals will be available throughout the conference to pray with you, celebrate sacramental reconciliation, or help you process personal issues touched by the conference.

· The Linns' two-day Pastoral Care Workshop will open you to God's continued healing and equip you with additional tools to serve as an instrument of God's healing in the lives of others.

· Fun and Fellowship will include music, free time, optional excursions and the renewal and building of friendships.

We anticipate our gathering to include participants and presenters working in various parts of North America and internationally. Space at the lovely San Damiano Retreat is limited to 120 participants, so early registration is highly recommended.

___Plan A: $430 (Arriving Sunday, 11/13 for 5 nights, departing Friday, 11/18. Includes all fees for lodgings, meals, RV conference and 2-day Linn workshop.

___Plan B: $360 (For those who need to depart early: Arriving Sunday, 11/13 for only 4 nights, departing anytime Thursday, 11/17. Includes all fees for lodgings, meals, RV conference and day one of 2-day Linn workshop (you may stay for as much of the Linns' first day as you are able).

lodgings in double room and all meals, excluding travel.

For Complete Conference & Registration Information visit 

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Shine Hope and Mercy by Supporting Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries!

Many of us have friends and family members who were left broken and wounded after an abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries extends an invitation to receive forgiveness and wholeness that Christ, the Divine Physician, longs to offer them. Lives are changed and transformed, as people are able to receive forgiveness and in turn, forgive themselves. As each person shares their story they are unconditionally accepted and allowed to heal through the love of Christ. Our desire is to reach out and minister to every individual that is suffering because of an abortion.

Your donation will shine hope and mercy into the dark night of human pain caused by abortion. Please support our efforts with your prayers and assist us by sending a tax-deductible donation of $1,000…$500…$100…or even $25 to defray our training and retreat costs. Click here: to contribute via credit card or PayPal or send an e-mail directly to me and I will forward a postage-paid envelope.

Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
Founder; Executive Director, Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

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A person must grow up and stop using God and begin to ask God to use him or her. Real prayer is not telling God what we want. It is putting ourselves at His disposal so that He can tell us what He wants. Prayer is not trying to get God to change His will. It is trying to find out what His will is, to align ourselves or realign ourselves with His purpose for the world and for us.

Dr. Samuel Shoemaker

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New Website Researching Impact of Abortion

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries invites you to visit a new website developed to study the effects of abortion on four populations, men, women, grandparents, and medical Personnel. Please visit: 

If you have experienced an abortion, or your partner has suffered the loss of a child through abortion, or you have a son or daughter who has made the choice to abort, or if you have ever worked in the abortion industry, we invite you to contribute to this important research effort.

This site is being developed for research in cooperation with Dr. Vincent Rue, Ph.D. and Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D. who have contributed a tremendous amount of scientific investigation in the field of post abortion issues.

If you have questions or would like to be listed as a source for counseling, please contact Catherine Coyle, PhD. at or call 608-271-6997.

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A Note From the Pastoral Director

Dear Friends,

If you read the letters of St. Paul in the order in which they were written (which is different from the order in which they appear in the New Testament), you see that Paul express an ever deeper awareness, as time goes on, of his own sinfulness. He speaks of himself as "an apostle", then as "apostle and servant," then as one "not worthy to be called an apostle", and finally, as "the chief of sinners."

So it needs to be with us. As we continue to touch the wounds caused by abortion, we should continue to see a reflection of those wounds in us. Abortion wounds because sin wounds. It divides us in four directions: from God, from one another, from nature, and from ourselves. We are no strangers to evil, temptation, and sin. We know what it’s like to know what is good and to find ourselves doing the opposite. That’s why we can have compassion for those who have aborted a child - or many children.

As Pastoral Director and Chairman of the Board of Rachel’s Vineyard, I pray for each of you every day. As I minister to those who have had abortions, and to those who have performed abortions with their own hands, I thank the Lord for your faithfulness and rejoice in the awareness that we all minister together, in the humility that acknowledges that we, too, need His healing and forgiveness.

With prayerful regards,

Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director

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God frees our souls, not from service, not from duty, but into service and into duty; and he who mistakes the purpose of his freedom mistakes the character of his freedom. He who thinks that he is being released from the work, and not set free in order that he may accomplish that work, mistakes the condition into which his soul is invited to enter.

Phillips Brooks, The Law of Growth

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"Well Done, my Good and Faithful Servants!"

The Retirement of Mark and Barbara Hennes

By Caryn Stevens

After 12 years of dedicated and tireless service, Mark and Barbara Hennes will retire on July 1, 2005, from the helm of Abortion AfterCare-Healing, the post-abortion ministry of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas (CPLC) in Dallas, Texas.

Mark and Barbara worked the ministry together, but Mark was given the official title of Director. While Mark handled most of the nuts-and-bolts of the ministry, Barbara also helped and worked the phones, speaking with the wounded men and women on our hotline and bringing them to the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, to their children, and to Jesus.

The Hennes’ involvement with this ministry began in the early 90’s. In 1993, as a newly licensed social worker in counseling, Mark took some referrals from the White Rose Women’s Center, a crisis pregnancy and post-abortion counseling center in Dallas. At the same time, he was asked to join an advisory group with the CPLC, which later evolved into the board of directors. About 3 years later, the Committee asked Mark to find a way to start a post-abortion ministry for them. The Hennes’ were impressed with what they heard and wrote guidelines to begin this new ministry.

In the spring of 1997, Mark solicited an inquiry group to help develop a proposal to the Bishop to start a post-abortion ministry under the CPLC. Later that fall, Mark proposed this idea to Bishop Grahmann, but he declined. At that particular time, the Diocese of Dallas was embroiled in litigation and the Bishop was not able to move ahead with the new ministry. The following year, Mark and Barbara attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in Philadelphia and were given sufficient training to again initiate the movement in Dallas. Mark returned to the Bishop in October of 1998 and he "enthusiastically embraced the plan" to launch Abortion AfterCare-Healing.

After a busy publicity effort, Father Blair Raum, the trainer for Project Rachel, came to Texas in January of 1999 and conducted the first Rachel Training Day. This was followed on the next day with the start of the first Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. According to Mark, that first retreat was "a true learning experience!" The retreat was led by Father Raum and assisted by another priest. The rest of the retreat team consisted of Mark, two other mental health workers facilitating and Barbara handling the props and the household duties. There were eight retreatants that weekend, and eight souls that were set free!

From that first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, Mark and Barbara have now conducted 25 retreats in English and, with the help of Aurora Tinajero, Director of Spanish Ministry for CPLC, conducted four in Spanish. The ministry has grown to include many different aspects of post-abortion healing. There is an Awareness campaign, which includes presentations and training at parishes within the diocese. Part of that awareness initiative includes "Rachel’s Corner" quotes. These quotes – which include such things as statements from women who have experienced abortion, abortion statistics, and biblical verses – are provided to each parish for the purpose of including these in each Sunday’s church bulletin. These have been very effective in getting out the message of forgiveness and peace to those wounded by the tragedy of abortion.

There are also theme-based reunions for retreatants following the weekend event. These reunions have helped retreatants and team leaders stay in contact with one another and they provide a venue for continued healing, both psychologically and spiritually. At each reunion, there is literature provided to help anyone who may be dealing with aftercare issues not fully addressed in the retreat.

The Hennes’ have lived in the light and love of Jesus, and they have conveyed this in every aspect of their work. Through their willingness to say "Yes" to serving the post-abortive, and their ability to "carry the heart of a woman," they allowed God to work through them and bring healing and wholeness to the spirits of dozens of hurting mothers and fathers. Mark and Barbara are an inspiration for us to continue reaching out and lovingly help one another.

To quote Pope John Paul II from his encyclical letter, On the Mercy of God:

"The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy – The most stupendous attribute of the Creator and of the Redeemer – and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s Mercy, of which she is the trustee and dispenser."

Mark and Barbara Hennes lived this authentic life. They accepted the call to profess and proclaim Christ’s mercy. And, through their leadership, they brought people to the sources of the Lord’s mercy, and dispensed of it readily, willingly and plentifully. They leave behind a legacy of soul-healing and everlasting hope, not only to those they have served, but to those who have worked beside them as they toiled in the vineyard.

Caryn Stevens is the Assistant Director of Abortion AfterCare-Healing/ Rachel’s Vineyard/

Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas

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Sharing our Gratitude and Sorrows

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Mary Welch for her donation toward much needed media equipment in memory of her precious son Jim.

We pray for the soul of Maria L. Rau, age 35, who departed this world suddenly of an accidental drowning at her home in Arizona. Maria was a beautiful soul that dedicated herself to God, family, education, and reaching out to anyone that was in need of a helping hand. Her radiance, strength, and endurance to live life will be dearly missed by all of us. She was a beloved friend to the Rachel’s Vineyard Community in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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"A mother’s love endures through it all - even in the face of the world’s condemnation."

- Washington Irving

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Upcoming Opportunities for Training

July 9, 2005 Catholic Medical Association at the Philadelphia Union League "Spirituality and Medicine: Approach to the Suffering Patient".
Contact William.V.Williams 610 917 5924

July 22-25, 2005 Retreat for Sexual Abuse
Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Contact: Shelly Stone 218 689 5454

August 15, 2005 World Youth Day 2005 Germany
September 26- October 1, 2005 American Association of Christian Counseling World Conference

Pre-Conference Presenters "Take Me to the Cross" – Theresa and Kevin Burke
Nashville, Tennessee
Make your reservations today visit or call 1-800-526-8673

October 1, 2005 Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation Conference
Contact: Lisa Neuhauser (717) 541-0034

October 7, 2005 Fundraising Banquet for Rachel's Vineyard in Iowa
Contact: Maria Shores (319) 665-9588

October 7-8, 2005 Clinical Training in Iowa
Contact: Maria Shores: (319) 665-9588

October 10, 2005 Eucharistic Vigil at Basilica in DC
Contact: Maureen Flynn (703) 447-3571

October 18, 2005 Clinical Training Seminar Rutgers' University,
Camden New Jersey CE credits available

October 20, 2005 Clinical Training Seminar
Contact: Vincent P. Gale, Director, CCHD / CRS 517 342 2470
300 W. Ottawa St. Lansing, MI 48933

October 27-28, 2005 American Academy of Bereavement
Theresa presenting Clinical Training on Post Abortion Trauma
Phoenix, AZ
Contact: Kathy Brunner Program Director 716-332-0287 ext 101
CMI Education Institute
892 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

November 13-18, 2005 International Leadership Training Conference for Rachel's Vineyard Oakland, California
Contact: Monika Rodman (510) 267-8335

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I leave you now with this prayer:
that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you,
that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian,
that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts.
Accept His freedom and embrace His truth,
and be messengers of the certainty
that you have been truly liberated
through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
This will be the new experience,
the powerful experience, that will generate,
through you, a more just society and a better world.
God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!

John Paul II

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Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Schedule (July-August)

For a complete listing of future Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats visit 

July 1-3, 2005 -- Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980

July 8-10, 2005 -- Charlotte, North Carolina / Rock Hill, South Carolina
Contact: Martha 336 659 1342

July 8-10, 2005 -- Longbranch, Washington
Contact: Valerie Jacobs 800 822 HOPE

July 8-10, 2005 -- Dallas (English), Texas
Contact: Caryn Stevens or Dolly 214 366 4400

July 15-17, 2005 -- Allentown, Pennsylvania
Contact: Maryann Dunn M.S. 866 372 2435

July 15-17, 2005 -- Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Contact: Katie D'Annunzio 610 354 0555

July 15-17, 2005 -- El Paso, Texas
Contact: Maria Acosta 915 872 8405
Contact: Cynthia Wynn 806 793 1235

July 22-24, 2005, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Note: Interdenominational
Contact: Anne Neville 61 3 9870 7044

July 22-24, 2005 -- Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edith Gutierrez 303 682 9185
Contact: Diane Svoboda 303 359 3289

July 29-31, 2005 -- Fresno, California
Contact: Jennifer Butcher 877 629 6626

July 29-31, 2005 -- Sonoma County, California
Contact: Monika 510 267 8335

July 29-31, 2005 -- Fargo, North Dakota
Contact: Shelly Stone 218 689 5454 or 500 241 5454
Local hosts: Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota
Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota
LifeCare Center of Thief River Falls, Minnesota

August 5-7, 2005 -- Tampa, Florida
Contact: Emma Boe 813 631 4370

August 5-7, 2005 -- Cedar Falls, Iowa
Contact: Maria Shores 319 530 2597 (mobile)

August 5-7, 2005 -- Fort Worth, Texas
Note: Interdenominational Retreat
Contact: Betsy Kopor 817 923 4757

August 5-7, 2005 -- Cork City, Ireland
Contact: Bernadette 087 859 2877
Contact: Dr. Rita O'Connor 061 468 570

August 5-7, 2005 --Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Contact: Susan Lepak 405 721 5651 ext 107

August 5-7, 2005 -- Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 7531

August 5-7, 2005 -- Edwardsville, Illinois
-- St. Louis, Missouri
Contact: Karen 618-667-6571 ext 20

August 5-7, 2005 -- Scottsdale, Arizona
Contact: Ronnajean 623 551 3667

August 5-7, 2005 -- Atlanta, Georgia
Contact: Mary Ann McNeal 404 896 6521
Contact: Rachel's Vineyard Atlanta
Website: Healing After Abortion

August 12-14, 2005 -- Bridgman, Michigan
Contact: Sue Brazo 269-683-7831 or 269-687-1581

August 12-14, 2005 -- Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota
Contact: Nancy Blom 952 882 2072

August 19-21, 2005 -- Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: Betsy Kopor 817 923 4757

August 19-21, 2005 -- Portland, Maine
Contact: Project Rachel Coordinator 207 879 1130 ext 770 or 771
Toll-free in Maine only: 800 CARE 002

August 26-28, 2005 -- Sevierville / Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Note: Interdenominational Retreat
Sponsor: A.R.I.S.E.
Contact: Judy Magnussen 423 266 8322

August 26-28, 2005 -- Fort Caswell Wilmington, North Carolina
Local host: Mended Heart Ministries
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Marsha Tucker 336 247 0651

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Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

Editor: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

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Rachel's Vineyard ® All rights reserved.

© 2005

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