June 2002 - Volume 1, Issue 4
VINE AND BRANCHES
The monthly e-newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.
Rachel’s Vineyard is a division of the American Life League.
© 2002 - Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Publisher: Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Editor: Leslie Graves
Information or comments:
Previous editions of VINE AND BRANCHES are archived
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"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of
the Holy Spirit."
FROM THE EDITOR:
Our newsletter usually is a collection of information and inspiration about
emotional and spiritual healing after abortion.
This edition, however, is a special, short and simple newsletter because our
hearts are turned now in a special way to our brothers and sisters who have
suffered and are suffering the wounds of sexual abuse.
We do share some news notes with you at the end. For right now, however, we
ask that you simply join us in prayer and reflection.
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell
you great and unsearchable things
you do not know."
Dear Lord, we ask that you send the Holy
Spirit now to let us fully come before you in prayer.
We ask that you turn our hearts from the despair and anger we feel at the
destruction of innocence.
We listen to stories on retreat weekends told by men and women who have been
deeply hurt and wounded in almost inconceivable ways by sexual abuse. We hear
their rage and see their courage. We see them reach out to God from a pit of
nearly complete despair.
In the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are privileged to witness miracles of
As we read accounts in the paper every day of others who have been hurt, let
us never forget that you delight most in turning your power and glory to heal
If we have been hurt, may the Holy Spirit come to us now and whisper of His
infinite love. Let us know that He intends complete wholeness, grace, and joy
for us. Let us know that for every bad and hurtful past sexual experience, God
will provide us with an opposite healing relationship full of love and truth if
we can but reach out for healing and help.
We also ask, Lord, that you heal the hearts, minds and souls of those who
have injured others in this way.
And for those of us in ministry, please humble our hearts every day as we are
called to be the hands and feet of the suffering Body of Christ. Make us always
grateful for the privilege of service. May those of us who have recovered from
their own wounds be specially graced and blessed in reaching out to others.
We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
"God, help me lose secrets and find myself."
- Amy Lynn, from her book "Seeds of the Heart"
An excerpt from Chapter Twelve of "Forbidden
Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" by Theresa Burke, Ph.D, with David
Chapter Twelve is on "Sexual Abuse and Abortion"
"As a child, Heidi was an attractive little girl with a petite stature and a
tenacious personality. Her large brown eyes were framed with a long set of
Heidi was only seven when her 15-year-old-brother Eric began sexually
molesting her. Eric would sneak into her room at night to play "monster" ...
Eventually, he began having sexual intercourse with her. This secret ritual was
shrouded by a pact of silence. "Don’t tell anyone," Eric instructed, "or you’ll
get in trouble."
...Somewhere inside, Heidi felt responsible. Her emotions progressed from
fear to submission and helplessness. At times, the sex caused a lot of pain.
Sometimes she would endure the abuse by imagining another scene to get her mind
focused on something more pleasant. Other times, she would zoom in on the
ticking of the clock, concentrating very hard on each rhythmic
tick-tock-counting each beat into what felt like infinity. "It will be over
soon," she promised herself. "It will be over soon." When Eric was finished, she
always felt an awkward sense of shame...like something inside her was too dirty
ever to be seen.
Heidi was trained from a tender age to believe that her value and acceptance
as a female originated from her sexuality. She did not know how to set
boundaries with men. They took from her what they liked, and offered nothing in
return. Having experienced the violation of her most intimate physical
boundaries, Heidi had never learned to set limits when someone desired her body.
In addition, she grew up blaming herself for all the things that were done to
Heidi had her first abortion when she was only 15. While sitting in the
waiting room, Heidi dimly heard the old familiar voice running through her mind,
"Don’t tell anyone; you’ll get in trouble."
Later, while she was lying flat on the abortion table, her feet were placed
firmly in the stirrups. Heidi felt terror as the abortionist entered the room.
"Open your legs," he firmly instructed. Reluctantly, Heidi did as she was told.
The doctor moved in quickly, plunging his cold steel instruments in and out of
her body ... destroying the life inside. Another familiar voice began to replay
inside her mind. "Just listen to the clock ... tick-tock one, tick-tock two,"
she whispered. She was a disposable toy for the boys and men who came into her
life. Her body had always been an object dissociated from her real self, which
lay shrunken and hiding inside. Why should anything her body created be any less
Why should the tiny life hiding inside her be treated with any more respect
than she had ever received?"
Forbidden Grief - The Unspoken Pain of
Abortion by Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David Reardon, Ph.D. can be ordered by
contacting Acorn Books 1 888 412-2676; or through
"Always be sensitive to the Spirit’s tug
when he lays a sister’s burden on your heart. You don’t have to know her to
love her. God may be calling you to be part of her victory as you intercede
on her behalf. You will find as you stand in the gap for others, you too,
receive a victory. It’s a victory over self. It’s the victory that comes
from enlarging your heart and broadening your view.
"And so my sisters and brothers, pray! Someone’s victory may be birthed
because you are on your knees."
- Jennifer Rothschild, from the Women’s Ministry eNewsletter at
"You may pray for the release of some areas
of life in a friend and find that you are called upon to set right something
in your own life that has acted as a stumbling block to him. You may pray
that your friend be given courage to endure certain hardships and find that
you are drawn to pack your bags and go and join him or that you are to give
up your pocket money for the next month or even perhaps to give a
fortnight’s or a month’s salary to help along his cause. In intercessory
prayer one seldom ends where one begins."
- Douglas V. Steere, from his book "Prayer and Worship"
Three quick news notes:
1. Russian translation of Rachel’s Vineyard manual
2. Spanish Translation is Now Complete
3. Still time to register for July 10-14 National Leadership Training
4. Reclaiming The Gift of Sexuality
5. Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in May
6. Forbidden Grief featured on EWTN’s Bookmark with Doug Keck
A RUSSIAN VERSION OF RACHEL’S VINEYARD
Jennifer Healy, the co-director of the Language & Cathechetical Institute, is
overseeing the translation of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat manual into two
new languages. Ms. Healy writes, "We have people who are able to begin the work
in both Russian and Romanian. They are not translators by profession, but they
are intelligent, well-educated, and dedicated to the cause." A volunteer has
subsequently initiated the Russian translation. Women in Russia experience a
very high rate of repeat abortion. Repeat abortions are often an indicator of
trauma associated with abortion (as explained in "Reenacting Trauma" and "Repeat
Abortions," chapters ten and eleven respectively, of "Forbidden Grief").
Thanks to the professional efforts of Josephina and Tony Guerra, the Rachel’s
Vineyard Spanish Manual is now complete. We would also like to thank Lisa Cannon
for contribution to this project. Ordering information will be in our next Vine
and Branches Newsletter.
NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TRAINING
There is still time to register for the July 10-14 Rachel’s Vineyard National
Leadership Training, which will be held in conjunction with American Life
League’s Celebration of Life World Family Conference in New Orleans.
In addition to four days of multiple learning opportunities through the
Rachel’s Vineyard Training, conference attendees can also hear Alan Keyes, Mark
Crutcher, and many other speakers.
For further information about the Rachel’s Vineyard National Leadership
Training, please go to
For further information about ALL’s Celebration of Life World Family
Conference, please go to
RECLAIMING THE GIFT OF SEXUALITY:
In addition to Christopher West, an outstanding speaker who presents John
Paul II’s Theology of the Body, a new workshop has been added to our Leadership
Conference July 10-14, entitled "Reclaiming The Gift of Sexuality," presented by
Theresa & Kevin Burke. Those who have experienced abortion trauma and/or sexual
abuse may experience the following symptoms:
Avoiding or being afraid of sex.
Approaching sex as an obligation.
Feeling intense negative emotions when touched, such as fear, guilt, or
Having difficulty with arousal and feeling sensation.
Feeling emotionally distant or not present during sex.
Having disturbing and intrusive sexual thoughts and fantasies.
Engaging in compulsive or inappropriate/destructive sexual behaviors.
Having difficulty establishing or maintaining an intimate relationship.
This workshop will provide an overview of sexual dysfunction which may follow
abortion trauma or sexual abuse. The session will also include a series of
homework exercises and a living scripture for couples whose sexuality has been
impacted by abortion and/or a history of sexual abuse. The exercises are based
on gentle systemic desensitization with communication and other practical
guidelines for married couples who wish to overcome aversive, negative, and
damaging attitudes and physical sensations as well as understanding traumatic
triggers related to sexual relations. There will be handouts you can use in
follow-up sessions with couples you are working with in therapy/aftercare, or to
use with your own spouse!
A full description of other talks at our leadership conference are available
RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREATS IN MAY, 2002
Our thanks and prayers for the retreat team members and retreatants who
coordinated or attended May retreats in:
Camden, New Jersey
Fort Worth, Texas
Richardson, North Dakota
San Bernardino, California
Smithfield, North Carolina
FORBIDDEN GRIEF FEATURED ON EWTN’S BOOKMARK
WITH DOUG KECK
Dr. Theresa Burke will be discussing her new book with Doug Keck on
"Bookmark." The program will air Sunday July 7th at 9:30 AM (ET);
with re-airs on Monday, July 8th at 5:30 AM; Wednesday, July 9 at
5:30 AM; and Saturday, July 13th at 6:30 PM. (all times are Eastern)
www.ewtn.com/bookmark to keep abreast of
any possible updates.
Questions or comments about VINE AND
BRANCHES, The Rachel’s Vineyard e-Newsletter, may be directed to the editor,
Leslie Graves, at
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"God will not permit any troubles to come
upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out
of the difficulty."
- Peter Marshall, from his book "Mr. Jones, Meet the Master"
©2002 Rachel’s Vineyard ® All rights
Rachel’s Vineyard is a division of American Life League