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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

August, 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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Let us seize the moment, time and people our Lord places in our path. Cherish one another with the love of Christ.

Jim Pinto

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Scars of Abortion

By Karen Herzog

In 1983, Carol Kling was 23, pregnant and scared.

More than 20 years later, Kling, now 45, conducts retreats for Rachel's Vineyard, a ministry of the Catholic Church to women and men suffering from spiritual and emotional pain as the result of an abortion.

Kling has been conducting Rachel's Vineyard retreats since 2000, two each year in South Dakota and one a year in North Dakota.

Each time, she relives the pain of her own abortion. She said she puts herself through it to help others feel that they are not alone.

Kling, who lives in Lemmon, S.D., will lead a Rachel's Vineyard retreat in Bismarck April 8-10 in coordination with the Bismarck Catholic Diocese.

This is the Bismarck Diocese's third retreat; the diocese tries to plan one per year, said Joyce McDowall, director of the Office of Family Ministry for the diocese.

While attendance has been small, the effects are large, McDowall said.

"What happens afterward is wonderful, the changing, the freeing of themselves."

Young and scared

Fear, Kling said, was the driving force in her life at the time she had an abortion.

"I was overtaken by fear ... in a new city with just a boyfriend and I," she said.

At the time she feared her boyfriend would abandon her. Though eventually they did marry and stayed together for 10 years, at the time, "everything circled around fear," she said. She believes she could have turned to her family, but didn't.

"I knew they would be supportive," she said, have her come home and be "their little girl." But Kling didn't want that -- she wanted to be on her own and make her own decisions.

"I felt pressured and I didn't feel confident enough in myself to fight off the pressure. I felt backed into a corner," she said.

When she called an abortion clinic in Oklahoma City, she said she got no advice except to ask how far along she was. When she said 11 weeks, she was told she needed to make a decision by the next day.

Women are told that since abortion is legal, it's not a big deal, but many walk around wondering why they feel angry, why they have recurring dreams, said Shelly Stone of Thief River Falls, Minn., director of a crisis pregnancy center and coordinator of Rachel's Vineyard retreats for the Fargo Catholic Diocese.

Some women who have had abortions never conceptualize the child, so they've never grieved it, she said.

Even in miscarriages, it's important to grieve the child, Stone said -- give them a name, the dignity of their life and then let them go.

'Are you sure?'

Kling said she was already dressed in a surgical robe in a room with a bunch of other girls in robes, when a nurse offered the closest thing to counseling she got -- "Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked Kling.

"I don't even remember if I said anything, or maybe shrugged," she said, as the nurse handed her some kind of a pill.

She still doesn't know what it was -- Valium, maybe.

She remembers only painful, strong cramping, a doctor who would not make eye contact with her and a nurse who seemed to be trying to distract her, hold her down or shield the doctor's face.

"From the moment it happened," Kling said, "that vacuum sound sucked much more out of me than an embryo. It ripped part of my soul out. I do not remember another thing until being home in bed."

Afterward, she stayed in bed for several days, crying.

As a nearby heater automatically turned on and off, its vacuum-like hum replayed that operating room sound again and again, she said.

The abortion wasn't spoken of again until a few years ago, after she found healing, Kling said.

She then called her former husband and learned he had suffered as much as she did, she said.

"When we decided to have kids, it took four years to get pregnant," Kling said. They had a little girl, her only child. Two years later, she conceived again but had a tubal pregnancy.

Deep in denial

It took a long time for Kling to recover her memories of the abortion, she said.

She had left the church, but as she got older and her daughter grew, she wanted to go back.

Kling did try to return to Mass. But every time, to her embarrassment, she would start sobbing. "I couldn't figure out what was going on," she said. "So far into denial, I had totally forgotten it happened."

Finally, a concerned friend invited her to a prayer group. It was there a huge light bulb went off. "I knew I had to deal with this," she said.

She went to the priest for advice.

"After he cried with me," she said, he offered counsel -- "to take something tangible to a place that would be very special to me and to God and have my own private memorial for my children."

At that place, Kling laid on the grass and cried.

The wind was blowing about 40 miles an hour that day, but Kling couldn't feel the cold.

Exhausted from weeping, she took the roses she had brought and threw them in the air.

"God," she asked, "take my babies."

As the roses blew, they formed a cross in the air, and falling, they lay at the bottom of a hill, still in the shape of a cross, she said.

The next time she went to Mass, she cried tears of joy, she said.

"I knew finally that I was forgiven. The thing about an abortion is you don't know how to accept God's forgiveness," Kling said. "You think you're not capable of being forgiven.

"That's the beauty of this retreat, to teach you how to forgive yourself," she said.

The first thing people receive from the retreat is knowing they're not alone, she said.

"It's such a secret. It's hard to imagine someone else feeling as bad as they do.

"God took away all my shame and guilt, which was huge. I want other people to know they're not alone," she said.

Far from God

The retreat is based on living scripture, Kling said. Before someone comes on the retreat, they feel very far removed from God, she said. As they walk meditatively through Bible stories, they imagine Christ speaking to them, she said.

"They ask Christ to heal their wounds. They verbalize their own hurt. Sometimes it's the first time in many years they feel worthy enough to be in the presence of Christ," she said.

Kling always looks forward to Sunday morning after a retreat. "No matter what they feel Saturday night, transformation happens," she said.

Karen Herzog is a writer for the Bismarck Tribune, where this article was first published. You can reach Karen at 

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"When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better."

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Gather with Us in Harvesting Our Vineyard

In John Chapter 6, verses 1-15 Jesus feeds a crowd of five thousand men. After Jesus fed the crowd He asked His disciples to "Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste a bit." Even the crumbs were important. Sometimes when we work in the vineyard we are tired and hungry. We too want to be fed by Christ, and in turn feed others. In John’s Gospel Jesus is feeding us with His word. He is calling us today to gather the fragments by opening our hearts to those who are wounded with guilt, grief, and shame.

Jesus is calling us to reach out to and minister to every individual that is suffering because of an abortion. He wants to heal the brokenness that causes spiritual poverty and feed us with peace, hope, and reconciliation.

Please consider becoming a worker in His vineyard. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Please support our efforts with your prayers and assist us by sending a tax-deductible donation of $1,000…$500.00…$100.00…or even $25 to defray our training and retreat costs.

You may join our efforts by clicking here: to donate via credit card or PayPal. Alternatively, send an e-mail directly to me at and I will forward a postage-paid envelope. May God Bless you!

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

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There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.

Peyton March

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A Message from our Pastoral Director

Dear Friends,

I hope these summer days are bringing you some refreshment and relaxation, along with new energy to serve the Lord and His Kingdom of Life.

During these days when preparations are being made to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, we should think of the implications this has for healing those wounded by abortion. After all, anger at those who made the abortion possible is a normal aspect of the distress that follows abortion, and those on the Supreme Court who vote to keep abortion legal are certainly among those who make it possible. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in fact voted to uphold Roe vs. Wade in the 1992 Casey decision. Now she is stepping down from the Court, and all indications are that the Court will now move one step further in a pro-life direction.

That is significant for healing, because people don’t live with their wounds in a vacuum. The people who need healing are the same people who will see, in the next month, the daily news reports about the Supreme Court and abortion. Hopefully, they will be led to pray for the Justices, new and old. Hopefully, as an aspect of their healing, they will be able to join in the activity that citizens are being invited to take to move the Court closer to protecting women and their unborn children. Hopefully, the nation itself will come a step closer to healing as a result of the confirmation process about to take place.

Healing is very much about restoring connections. Let’s not miss the significance of this one.

Fr. Frank Pavone
Pastoral Director
Chairman of the Board

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"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that you joy may be complete. My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15.9-12)

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Book of the Month

Waiting for the World to End

By Nicole Hunter

Thomas Olsen is hiding a devastating secret. He is the chairman of the English department and basketball coach at an Indiana HS. Despite his popularity, he cannot stop feeling guilty and lonely about the secret that has been haunting him for so many years. He develops a father-son bond with Ben, one of his students and player. He falls in love with his Ben’s mother and together they try to help him get some restoration of his life until something changes the course of all their futures.

Waiting for the World to End by Nicole Hunter has just received the Book of the Year Silver Award for religious fiction from ForeWord Magazine. Award winners were announced at Book Expo America in New York on June 3, 2005.

Author Nicole Hunter shares: "Many readers have e-mailed me to say that the book has been a source of real support in their post-abortion trauma and healing process. I feel infinitely blessed and grateful to have a small part in helping others heal this deep, deep pain. I pray that your featuring "Waiting for the World to End" in the Rachel's Vineyard newsletter will help many more people, now and in the days to come."

Visit for more information.

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Speaking Events & Training Schedule

August 15 -18, 2005 World Youth Day 2005 Germany
Theresa will be presenting with Domus Vitae on post abortion healing on Tuesday, August 16th at 11:00 40225 Dusseldorf, Ludgerrusstr.2 Contact Pierre Coppin or Stephanie Rimoux at For access maps visit 

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

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

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

August 26-28, 2005 -- Cork City, Ireland

Contact: Bernadette 087 859 2877

Contact: Dr. Rita O'Connor 061 468 570

September 9-11, 2005 -- Setubal, Portugal

Contact: Claudia Muller 91 735 4602

Contact: Psicologa Maria Jose Vilaca

Diocese de Setubal

September 9-11, 2005-- Arlington, Virginia

Local host: Diocese of Arlington

Contact: Myriam 703 729 7998

September 9-11, 2005 -- Palm Beach, Florida

Contact: Donna Gardner 561 746 7954 or 1 877 908 1212

Retreat Location: Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center

September 9-11, 2005 -- Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Contact: Stephanie Claudy 866 4 RACHEL

September 9-11, 2005 -- Dallas (Español), Texas

Contactar: Aurora 972 679 4760

September 9-11, 2005 -- Yakima, Washington

Contact: Virginia Santillanes 509-554-9415

Immaculate Heart Retreat Center - Spokane, WA

September 16-18, 2005 -- Tulsa, Oklahoma

Contact: Mary Lee 918 585 8167 ext. 212

September 16-18, 2005 -- Sacramento, California

Contact: Kathy Conner 916 733 0161

September 16-18, 2005 -- Youngstown, Ohio

Contact: Brenda Dama 330 519 8838

Contact: Br. Vit Fiala 330 799 1888

September 16-18, 2005 -- Linden, New Jersey

Contact: Michelle Krystofik 732 388 8211

September 16-18, 2005 -- Portland, Oregon

Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186

September 16-18, 2005 -- Covington, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Contact: Gloria Santoro 513 588 9669

Contact: Peggy Feirstine

September 23-25, 2005-- Richmond, Virginia

Contact: Kay Marie Geiger 804 330 3137

September 23-25, 2005 -- Romeoville, Illinois

Local host: Joliet Diocesan Life Office

Contact: Kay Corcoran 815 838 7171

September 23-25, 2005 -- Willimantic, Connecticut

Local host: Immaculata Retreat House

Contact: Mary Hayden 203 882 1326

September 23-25, 2005 -- Stockton, California

Contact: Nancy or Kim 209 465 5433

September 23-25, 2005 -- Fairfield County, Connecticut

Contact: Clarissa Cincotta 203 218 0291

September 23-25, 2005 -- Wichita, Kansas

Local host: Rachel's Vineyard of the Diocese of Wichita

Contact: Yvonne or Lori 316 269 4673 or 1-888-456-4673 (statewide only)

September 30- October 2, 2005 -- Janesville, Wisconsin

Contact: Cheryl Ryan 608 755 9739 or 608 754 0309

Local host: Pregnancy Helpline of Janesville

Note: Interdenominational retreat

September 30 - October 2, 2005 --North Providence, Rhode Island

Local host: Rachel Vineyard Retreats of Southern New England

Contact: Sheila Kuzmic 401 348 8874

Contact: Joan Pendergast 401-861-2069

Contact: Gail Picard 401-447-3279

September 30 - October 2, 2005 -- San Jose, California

Contact Mary Peter 408 426 7343 or 888 467 3790

September 30 - October 2, 2005 --Phoenix, Arizona

Contact: Margarita Marquez 480 755 3760

Contact: Dianna Contreras 480 966 1902 ext 101

September 30 - October 2, 2005 -- Richmond, Virginia

Note: Interdenominational retreat

Contact: Gordon and Deborah Frantzich 540 775 5147

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To subscribe to this newsletter: Send an e-mail to 

Type "SUBSCRIBE VINE & BRANCHES" in the subject line or body of your e-mail.

Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries

Editor: Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

Comments and questions: 

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© 2005

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