March 2002 - Volume 1, Issue 1
VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly E-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard
© 2002 - Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Publisher: Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Editor: Leslie Graves
Information or comments:
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs
up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in
the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
1. Welcome from the editor
2. God’s Love has no language barriers: a cracked pot in
3. Interdenominational version of retreat
manual available in March.
4. First Spanish Language Retreat offered by Project
5. Clinical Training/talks/other presentations about
6. A Fireman at the retreat
7. Recent Media coverage of Rachel’s Vineyard
8. Status of "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of
9. National Leadership Conference in July
FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to our first edition. As Theresa Burke wrote in her note introducing
this newsletter, our goal is to share news about the development of what began
as a small seed, and through God’s power, and the loving service of so many
generous laborers in the vineyard, has continued to bear generous and abundant
May I also express my gratitude for your interest in Rachel’s Vineyard? If
you are not actively involved in a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat
team, you can’t imagine how important it is to
us to be aware of your
prayers, interest and support.
My name is Leslie Graves. I’m the editor of
this newsletter, a married mom with three kids, and a retreat team member in
Madison, Wisconsin. Please contact me directly at
email@example.com if you have any
Please feel free to spread the word and 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.
Blessings and peace,
4125 Cherokee Dr., Madison, WI 53711; 608-218-1264
GOD’S LOVE HAS NO
Msgr. Richard McGuinness, the Director of the Respect Life Office for the
Archdiocese of Newark, and Michelle Krystofik, the Associate Director of that
office, were invited by The Family Life Office of the Diocese of Lisbon to
assist them as they offered their first Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat.
Msgr. McGuinness, Michelle and her team have been offering a beautiful
retreat several times a year since 1997. Michelle wrote this about her
experience at the first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat held in Portugal:
"As we all gathered, you could feel the Lord’s presence and the peace of the
Holy Spirit. The woman who was facilitating her first retreat, Claudia,
was naturally anxious. However, as she lit the
Christ candle, symbolizing
Christ’s presence in the room, her face was
filled with peace and tranquility. It was a miracle to behold! Claudia sat with
her RV manual in
Portuguese and I sat at her right hand with my manual
in English. I speak absolutely no Portuguese (except for one word I learned
while I was there -- obrrigada -- thank you!) but I didn’t need to. I was able
to follow along and guide Claudia whenever she needed help or was unsure of
herself. It was
really a beautiful synergism of love. There were also
two people from Spain on the retreat, who spoke some Portuguese, but as the Lord
planned it, Msgr. McGuinness speaks excellent Spanish!
At some points on the weekend, three
languages were being spoken,
English, Portuguese and Spanish. It didn’t matter what
language we used, the Lord’s language
of healing and love was all that we needed. We
God’s mercy, love and forgiveness through the
visible transformation of those in attendance.
This was a tangible sign of God’s presence. The Paschal
Mystery was once again revealed, unfolding
before our eyes. We suffered together as we walked to Calvary, we were present
at the Crucifixion and we
rose with Jesus at the Resurrection! Language
made no difference. Jesus the Healer transcends all human constraints!
Being a part of this unique and beautiful
experience also led to a
special gift of healing and freedom for me. I
came home understanding in the
deepest parts of my soul that I am not in
control. Jesus uses cracked pots like me to do HIS work. And it is HIS
alone! I’ve never felt so free or confident that it’s not about me or anyone
else who runs a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. If
we get out of the way He will perform his
miracles, we just have to let him do it....and it doesn’t matter what
language or what country, the healing
process of Rachel’s Vineyard works. Why?
Because it is of God and His love has no barriers or boundaries."
"When God sends a new dawn, He sends it for
INTERDENOMINATIONAL RETREAT MANUAL NOW AVAILABLE
The long-awaited Interdenominational version of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat
manual will be available in March. Many thanks to Terry Lennox, Adele Harrison,
Camille Harrison, Chela Gomez, Cynthia Wright and Jeanette Kristensen; members
of the Temecula Californian retreat team who assisted in the revisions. Since
its very beginning, Rachel’s Vineyard retreats have been attended by Christians
of all denominations. It is a great blessing to have a version of the retreat
manual available for sponsorship, team development and hosting by other
Christian denominations and groups. Twenty-eight manuals have already been
ordered including an order from England. You can place an order for the
Interdenominational Manual with Kevin at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling
610-354-0555 or sending a fax to 610-354-0311.
"He has sent me to bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from
darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61: 1
Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries sponsors an interactive e-mail forum for retreat
team members who have served on at least one retreat. The list includes novice
team members and highly experienced lay facilitators and mental health
professionals. It is a way to share insights, experiences, information, support
and prayers. Kelly Fitzpatrick of the Catholic Charities/Project Rachel office
in Portland shared with that list their experience in hosting
the first exclusively Spanish-language RVR
retreat in January 2002:
"Thank you for your powerful prayers for the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat led
totally in Spanish by Antonia Valdes, who does our Project Rachel in
Spanish. The retreat she lead is apparently
the very first Spanish-only RV in all of North and Latin America. The wonderful
folks in Kansas City report that they had one in English, with an interpreter
working for much of it for an Hispanic couple, and we hear there are many others
doing Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortion ministry, and preparing
for retreats, in the Hispanic community all over.
Theresa Burke had dedicated volunteers working up to the very last moments
translating the bulk of the manual and since Antonia is an experienced
retreat facilitator and since God’s hand was
very busy, the whole retreat
was quite beautiful. It was just like the ones
in English - except for the language and some of the cultural additions like an
Hispanic menu - and
priests from Latin America.
The next retreat in Spanish will probably be
in another four months, since we plan to alternate English / Spanish
retreats every two
months as long as we have the resources and
the retreatants. Miracles were very profound and I saw the women reach in
very deep to do their work and they each were fully present for receiving
mercy. This retreat was truly an amazing
example to me (I was the kitchen and spiritual support for this retreat. I
mostly washed dishes, and did some mothering when asked, since I only know
English) of how God always reaches us exactly where we are at, loving us too
much to leave us there. These retreatants have had some of the more
difficult extreme experiences that our women bring to the ministry. They
received dramatic blessings and they have begun healing journeys that are
just as powerful.
of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon"
Love in Christ,
Kelly Fitzpatrick, Catholic Charities Project Rachel
APPEARANCES AND EVENTS
Theresa Burke offers a one day Clinical Training that helps prepare the soil
for the retreat to take root and thrive. It will equip those on the front lines
in your community, mental health workers, physicians, health care professionals,
crisis pregnancy workers and lay volunteers with a vast knowledge regarding post
abortion trauma, pregnancy loss, and unresolved grief.
A Clinical Training was hosted by the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida on
January 15-17, attended by 52 people. Theresa was also able to meet with the
Rachel’s Vineyard retreat follow-up group in Florida, which is called Rachel’s
Here is what Donna Garner, Associate Director for Post Abortion Healing and
Reconciliation in the Respect Life Office for the Diocese of Palm Beach, said
about this clinical training:
"We got incredible feedback and many priests, religious and laity that want
to help. One huge benefit to our ministry was meeting so many priests who want
to participate. Our time with Theresa was AWESOME. She is so knowledgeable, and
of course has had extensive hands-on experience. This is invaluable to those
just getting started. It is evident that she loves the Lord, which comes through
to everyone she comes in contact with. The training itself was thorough, to the
point, informative, up to date, timely and even fun, because Theresa laughs at
herself! She is very down-to-earth and people are able to relate to her. At the
end of the training, we were exhausted but ready to go! We felt very energized
and equipped with the information and tools to use at the retreat."
Theresa also gave a Clinical Training in Romeoville, Illinois on February 20,
hosted by the Diocese of Joliet. The training was attended by 115 participants
from four different states, and was followed by the first team meeting of the
new Diocese of Joliet Rachel’s Vineyard team. And, Theresa gave a presentation
and training on Rachel’s Vineyard and post-abortion trauma at Epiphany Church in
Richmond, Virginia on January 23-24.
Theresa was also honored to give a presentation on February 2nd at
a conference, "Friendship, Forgiveness, Freedom", in Rhode Island sponsored by
Canticle Magazine and The Alliance of Catholic Women.
In addition, appearances too numerous to mention here were made in January
and February by many others involved in Rachel’s Vineyard to churches,
confirmation classes, young adult groups, RCIA , Bible study and prayer groups,
and so on. If you would like to arrange such an appearance, please contact your
local Rachel’s Vineyard team. You can locate a contact name and number for your
local team through the national Rachel’s Vineyard webpage at
A FIREMAN AT THE
After the events of September 11, team members across the country wondered
what effect that shattering and numbing event might have on upcoming retreats.
One team leader shared this experience. Details have been changed as necessary
permission obtained from those involved to
share this story, which occurred at a retreat on September 16, 2001.
"There was a lot of pain this weekend and a
lot of healing and joy. One woman
who was there told me that it was her husband
who encouraged her to attend this weekend. He told her that when he was in
college, his girl friend
became pregnant with his child and had an
abortion. She told him afterwards. He told his wife that he knows the pain
that he has been in all these years,
so he can only imagine what his wife’s pain
was from her earlier abortion.
When it came time for his wife to read her
letter at the Memorial Service, he came up with her. She moved aside and he
spoke from his heart about his baby. They were together, sharing their
tears, sorrow and their support for each other.
We were all very moved. What was even more moving was that he did this
standing there in his formal fireman’s uniform. This was just five days after
the New York tragedy. Since September 11th, he had been wearing the
formal uniform whenever he went anywhere, to be united in spirit with the
firefighters that were going to NY from the surrounding areas.
To see him standing there, in that uniform, after what happened just five
days earlier and to see him crying and pouring his heart out about his baby -
well, all I can say is, we all cried. His witness about missing his baby was so
healing for the women. To see a man cry over his lost child, and standing there
in that uniform so soon after the tragedy was so moving. Afterwards, he went
over, said good-bye and put his baby in the cradle. When we had Mass, after
communion, we sang God Bless America. There was a small flag in the chapel and
he held it and the tears rolled down his face. He really was a gift."
(Note: Couples and single men often attend the retreat with wonderful
RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE
OF RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREATS
Here are some highlights of recent coverage. If you
are interested in a complete list of radio and TV appearances, and magazine and
newspaper articles, please send an e-mail
requesting that information to:
Theresa and Kevin Burke were interviewed about RVR on the Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association’s Decision Today
program. This radio show is
archived on the Decision Today website and you can
still listen to it by
clicking through to this link:
(Scroll down to January 22 for the exact link you
will need to listen to the program; the interview starts at minute 1:00 and goes
until about minute 5:50.)
Also, in January, Theresa was honored to appear on
Dr. Greg Popchak’s Heart,
Soul and Mind radio show, which is nationally
syndicated and also available through webcast (but not archived). Dr. Popchak is
a therapist and author of
several books, including "Parenting with Grace" and
"For Better..Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage." (See:
Theresa was interviewed by Tim Wildmon on American
Family Radio’s "Today’s Issues" in late January. This show is syndicated on over
200 radio stations.The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried a lengthy article about
healing in their Sunday, January 20 issue. A Rachel’s
Vineyard retreatant says in the article:
" ‘There is not
one iota of judgment or guilt-throwing in that program,’ she
said. ‘I think they helped me to surface my own guilt
and they helped me get
past it. I think I had carried a lot of guilt, but I
lived with it by burying it...the memorial Mass was heartbreaking and
necessary’, she said. ‘I had never, never thought about those children until
that program. Now I pray for them and to them. They are real to me now, as
painful as that is. I finally acknowledged them as human beings.’" (For the
complete article, click
"FORBIDDEN GRIEF: THE UNSPOKEN PAIN OF ABORTION"
Hard-cover copies of "Forbidden Grief" by Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David
Reardon, Ph.D. will be published and available in late March 2002.
Copies are $24.95 plus $4.00 S&H. To pre-order copies, please send a check
for $28.95 to Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, 743 Roy Road, King of Prussia, Pa.
The Rachel’s Vineyard webpage has a new page about "Forbidden Grief" at this
All proceeds from the book go to support post-abortion ministry and research.
Mental health professionals, post-abortive men
and women, policy analysts,
and others have praised "Forbidden Grief" very
generously. You can read many of those comments on the "Forbidden Grief"
websites noted above.
Here also is a recent comment about the book
from an English doctor, Trevor
Griffiths. I chose this comment because Dr.
Griffiths has no involvement in abortion from a policy perspective and prior
to reading "Forbidden Grief," had never considered the question of
post-abortion grief. He is the author of a general work on repressed grief,
"Lost and Then Found." Dr. Griffiths wrote:
"This book is a masterly, sensitive and thorough opening of a difficult
subject that many prefer not to face. I see this deeply quiet suffering
re-emerge in some of my patients years after
the events. To find my own experience reflected in case after case presented
anonymously in this book is
a reassurance to me that I am not just
conjuring up fantasies. The sensitivity displayed by the authors in presenting
this material leaves one in no doubt that their intention is to get proper
counseling and support for
women who feel trapped with their grief.
[Through my practice] I particularly
recognize the subjects of lifestyle deterioration and relationship problems
covered in the chapters entitled,
‘Something Inside has Died,’ and ‘Paradise
Lost’. It is as if for some a dream of self-control has been torn to shreds.
But of course, even those who
retain high levels of self-control may find
that in their quieter moments,
and at anniversaries, they still remember.
"We have a new taboo, the collusion of
silence about grief and death. Our culture has lost the skills to recognize
and manage grief emotions. This book
is a major contribution to fill out an honest
roundness of our humanity. "
Dr Trevor Griffiths, MA(Oxon), MBBS, MRCGP
Author, "Lost and Then Found: Turning Life’s Disappointments into Hidden
LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE/TRAINING IN JULY
The third annual Rachel’s Vineyard International Leadership Training
Conference will be held from July 10-14, 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Conferencematerials can be e-mailed to you by sending your request to Theresa
More information about the Leadership Training will
be provided in the April issue of this newsletter. Registration & Conference
Information is also posted on our website
Questions or comments about Vine & Branches:
The Rachel’s Vineyard Newsletter may be directed to the Editor, Leslie
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"But unto you that fear my name shall the
Sun of righteousness arise with
healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth leaping as calves from the
stall." Malachi 4:2-3
Rachel’s Vineyard ® All rights reserved.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a division of The American Life League