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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

January 2003 - Volume 2, Number 1

Rachel’s Vineyard


Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries holds weekend retreats for emotional and spiritual healing after abortion.  It is a division of American Life League.


Publisher: Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries 
Editor: Leslie Graves
Associate Editor: Catherine McHugh
Comments and questions:,



1. 2002 in review: A year-end report from Kevin Burke, Director
2. "Silent No More" rallies across the country this week
3. Rachel’s Vineyard announces National Training Opportunities for 2003
4. Theresa Burke receives commendation from Sen. Rick Santorum
5. Recent publicity

  • EWTN’s "Coming Home"
  • Citizen Magazine
  • Touchstone Magazine
  • Lay Witness Magazine
  • Omaha Catholic World
  • Connecticut Post
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • The Barbara Simpson Show
  • The Quinn and Rose Show
  • The National Catholic Register
  • The American Association of Christian Counselors radio show
  • Heart Mind and Strength Radio Show with Greg Popcak

6. A priest reflects on Rachel’s Vineyard
7. New video aids those who seek healing
8. Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Healing Weekends



by: Kevin Burke, MSS/LSW, Director, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries

At our very small Rachel’s Vineyard national office, we are grateful every day for the spirit that shines forth so abundantly in the men and women who serve in this ministry throughout the world. As I mention a few highlights of last year, pleaserealize that none of this would have happened without the hands, feet, ears, souls, minds and humble hearts of many hundreds of Rachel’s Vineyard volunteers.

*In 2002 there were 133 retreats.
*21 of these retreats were first-time retreats by new retreat teams.
*Sixteen brand new sites are also now in development, including our newest international retreat in Cameroon, Africa.
*The first Spanish language Rachel’s Vineyard retreats were held in 2002.
*The first Rachel’s Vineyard retreats using the Interdenominational version
of the manual were held in 2002.
*Our Third Annual National Leadership Conference was held in 2002, a four-day multi-track conference with 150 attendees from around the globe.
*"Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" by Theresa Burke and David Reardon was published in May 2002. It has now entered a second printing.
*Russian and French language groups started translating the retreat manual.
*"Vine and Branches," our monthly e-newsletter, was first published in 2002.
*A group of former retreatants initiated the "Oaktrees" project in 2002 to offer ongoing monthly inspiration to those who have labored in Rachel’s Vineyard.
*Our website now includes fourteen direct access email contacts/counselors.

Psalms 62 says: "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven."

Rachel’s Vineyard is here to bring those who suffer after abortion into the haven of His peace.

We pray that all our many friends, retreat team members and the retreatants who come forth this year will enter into their desired haven.

Our own hearts are filled with gratitude.


SILENT NO MORE: Rallies across the country this week

by: Catherine McHugh, Associate Editor

January 22, 2003, marks the 30th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. Every year since 1973, pro-life and pro-choice supporters have held rallies in Washington, DC, and in state capitals.

This year, a new organization is sponsoring rallies. Women who have been hurt by abortion will be giving their testimony on the steps of the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, and at state capitals all over the country.

Georgette Forney, executive director of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life and Susan Mosley of the Texas Justice Foundation spearhead the "Silent No More" campaign.

In Washington, DC, on Wednesday, January 22, the "Silent No More" rally starts on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court at 5:00 p.m., going until 8:00 p.m. Sixty women from around the country will be there, each reading two-minute testimonies. One of the women who will be telling her story is actress Jennifer O’Neill.

"We are the voice that hasn’t been heard," says Forney, who had an abortion at the age of 16. "There is a lot of talk about whether or not abortion should be legal, but very little attention is given to the women who have actually had abortions. I regret having an abortion and I know there are millions of women who feel the same way. The truth is abortion affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s time to listen to the women who have experienced it."

Roughly five hundred other women will be participating in rallies in their own states.

Please join us in praying for every "Silent No More" speaker in Washington, DC, and throughout the country this week. It takes courage, grace and a servant heart to stand up in public and say, "Roe v Wade did not empower me. For many years, it left me voiceless and wounded. But I now speak out with faith, peace, and in the hope that my voice will be heard by our nation and by my sisters, so that no one will ever have to suffer in silence again."

Those who could once tell no one are now telling the world.

Please send messages of support to "Silent No More" on the web at


Psalm 40:9-10: "In the great assembly I have proclaimed what is right; I do not hold back my words, as you know, Lord. I have not kept your goodness hidden in my heart; I have proclaimed your faithfulness and saving power, and have not concealed your unfailing love and truth from the great assembly".



by: Catherine McHugh

This year, Rachel’s Vineyard Leadership Trainings will be split into two regional conferences to give more people the chance to attend.

The first training conference will be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 26-29, 2003. The Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Knights of Columbus and Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, DD, are the sponsors of this conference

2E The conference will include clinical and introductory training in the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat process and in post-abortion trauma and healing.

The second conference will be held in North Palm Beach, Florida on July 10-13, 2003. The Diocese of Palm Beach, Bishop Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, and the Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center host it. The training content will be very similar to that offered in Oklahoma City.

Either conference will be a superb opportunity for those who wish to learn how to build a post-abortion ministry, whether interdenominational, Catholic or ecumenical, from the ground up.

A special Advanced Leadership Training Retreat, from June 23-26, will precede the Oklahoma conference.

This Advanced Leadership Retreat is open to Rachel’s Vineyard leaders and team members who have been actively running retreats for at least one year. This retreat will focus on personal and spiritual renewal, and challenge us to grow deeper in an intimate and trusting relationship not only with each other but also with Christ. The Advanced Leadership Retreat will include opportunities to identify and nurture each person’s specific spiritual gifts. Finally, it will include very advanced facilitation workshops to help build exceptional clinical skills. All who attend this Advanced Leadership Retreat are encouraged to then stay for the leadership conference.

The curriculum and Registration Forms will be posted on our website in a few weeks.



Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, is honored to have received a special commendation from U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

The commendation reads:

"I would like to thank you for Rachel’s Vineyard’s compassionate outreach to women struggling in the aftermath of abortion. One of the tragedies of abortion is that the effects of it often remain with an individual long after the actual event occurs. Many women do not realize the physical, mental, and emotional distress they may experience after an abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard provides theses individuals a unique opportunity to work through their grief and to experience healing and peace.

In the end, the debate over abortion will be won as individuals, families, churches, and community groups reach out and support those in need - especially young women facing crisis pregnancies - while educating the public about the tragedy of abortion. Thank you once again for your dedication to this cause. Working together, we can change the hearts and minds of the American people to affirm the value of every human life."



*Carrie Allegretti spoke of her experience with healing after abortion and recommended Rachel’s Vineyard on Marcus Grodi’s popular EWTN show, "Coming Home," the week of January 13, 2003. An audio transcript that can be heard over the web is available through EWTN at

*"The Coming Wave of Grief" by Celeste McGovern is the cover story of the January 2003 edition of "Citizen" magazine. "Citizen" is the public policy magazine of Focus on the Family. The article discusses "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" in detail. The article is available on the web at Citizen Magazine - Cover Story - The Coming Wave of Grief.

*"Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity" features a review of "Forbidden Grief" in its January 2003 edition. The review is by Mary Walsh. Although the review is not available online, the web address of Touchstone is

*"Lay Witness", the magazine of Catholics United for the Faith, includes a review of "Forbidden Grief" in its January 2003 edition. The web address of "Lay Witness" is

*The Omaha Catholic Voice featured a January 17, 2003 article, "Weekend
offers peace to women after abortion" by Lisa Schulte. That link is: 

Catholic Voice Features.

*The Connecticut Post, a daily paper covering the Bridgeport, Conn. area, available on the web at, will feature a story about Rachel’s Vineyard on the front page of its lifestyle section on January 24, 2003.

*The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the daily newspaper covering the Atlanta area, will feature an article about Rachel’s Vineyard and post-abortion healing as part of its coverage of Roe v Wade during the week of January 20.

*Theresa Burke appeared on The Barbara Simpson Show out of San Francisco on Saturday, January 11.

*Theresa Burke is appearing on the Pittsburgh talk radio show, "The Quinn and Rose Show" on Tuesday, January 21, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.

*The January 19, 2003 edition of the National Catholic Register includes a front-page article by Register correspondent Tom Tracy about Elizabeth Phelps and her forthcoming "Silent No More" testimony. Elizabeth is with the Jacksonville, Florida Rachel’s Vineyard team. The title of the article is "Women’s Memories Contrast with Planned Parenthood’s Calls for Success Stories."

*On Monday, January 20, Theresa Burke will be interviewed by Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, for their radio show. See the AACC website at

*Wednesday, Jan 22 Theresa will be interviewed by Greg Popcak on Heart, Mind and Strength Radio at 2:00 pm. (ET)



  • by Leslie Graves

As we mentioned in our last issue of "Vine and Branches," the main webpage for Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries now includes a number of direct access email contacts of people around the country involved with Rachel’s Vineyard, in addition to the contact information for the local retreat team facilitators.

There are several new additions to that email contact page, including a psychiatrist, several therapists, and a priest, Fr. Neal of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

According to his biography for the webpage:

Fr. Neal has helped facilitate seven Rachel’s Vineyard retreats and currently serves with the retreat team in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Fr. Neal is drawn to post-abortion ministry because of a special passion for justice for women. He looks for a world that will protect, nurture and restore the dignity of women before God.

In thinking about his connection with and commitment to post-abortion healing, Fr. Neal shared a personal experience with buried grief related to the death of his best friend, his sister Anne, at age 17.

He writes, "I was 15 at the time and I was devastated. She had developed the first symptoms of a brain tumor at the beginning of August that year. At the time, there was no such thing as hospice. Medical science was terribly impressed with itself; there were so many new discoveries. So there was a lot of denial about the seriousness of her condition. And then she died.

"I did not grieve her death as I needed to. I distorted religious messages, thought ‘Anne’s in heaven. What right do I have to cry, to feel bad?’ So I stuffed my feelings and carried on in denial for many years.

"When I was thirty-two I had just entered the seminary and I went on an eight-day silent retreat. The last day of the retreat, the Holy Spirit struck a nerve and the floodgates of emotion opened.

"In the following weeks I became very angry at God for taking my sister. Fortunately, I had a very wise spiritual director. He told me that when we are angry at someone, that person has all kinds of power in our lives. So he helped me to see thatbeing angry at God represented a very prayerful attitude. ‘Who is supposed to be at the Center of your life, anyway?’

"I eventually came to accept my sister’s death for the great loss it was. I know first-hand the healing liberation God so earnestly desires to share with us."

About being a priest, Fr. Neal writes, "I feel so deeply blessed to be a priest, so positively delighted that God would choose someone like me to love His people, to share the wonderful astounding message of His love that calls us to such abundant lifeong, above earth’s lamentation; I hear the real though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.’"



"Beyond Regret: Entering into Wholeness After An Abortion" features post-abortive women and men covering topics such as acknowledging the emotional pain, forgiving yourself and others, and grieving the loss. With honesty and gentleness, this video encourages women and men of all ages and backgrounds to seek hope, help and healing.

"I highly recommend this video. It will be valuable for schools and churches that would like to learn about healing after abortion. It is a moving and compassionate overview of different phases of the healing process and is a wonderful and welcomeresource for this outreach."

~ Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

To order, contact Paraclete Video at 1-800-451-5006. The video is 30 minutes long and includes a resource guide.



January 24-26, 2003-Warrenville, Illinois
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Catherine Rennert 815 968 1157

January 24-26, 2003-Auburn, California
Contact: Christine 916 733 0140

January 24-26, 2003-Kansas City, Kansas
Contact: Kathleen Ames-Oliver 785 760 0617

January 24-26, 2003-Portland, Oregon
Contact: Paula Lang 503 239 5196 ext 226 or 800 249 8074

January 24-26, 2003-Uniondale, New York
Local host: Life Center of Long Island
Contact: Frank and Lorraine Gariboldi 516 523 0586

January 24-26, 2003-Monroe, Connecticut
Local host: Archdiocese of Hartford
Contact: Mary Hayden 203 882 1326

January 24-26, 2003-Lisbon, Portugal
Contact: Claudia Muller 91 735 4602

January 31-February 2, 2003-Calgary, Alberta
Contact: Julie Kohler 403 218 5506

January 31-February 2, 2003-San Fernando, California
Contact: Christine Lowe 866 2 RACHEL
Contact: Rachel’s Vineyard Los Angeles

January 31-February 2, 2003-Fairfield County, Connecticut
Contact: Clarissa Cincotta 203 372 4301 ext 314

February 7-9, 2003-Waverly, Nebraska
Contact: Heather 402 871 4812

February 7-9, 2003-Fort Worth, Texas
Contact: Betsy Kopor 817 923 4757

February 7-9, 2003-Tupelo, Mississippi
Contact: Maria Steele 662 840 9649
Contact: Barb Baumann 662 231 1983

February 7-9, 2003-Drummond Island, Michigan
Contact: Beth Bauer 989 705 3517

February 14-16, 2003-Washington, D.C.
Contact: Project Rachel DC 301 269 4673
Contact: Celia Ryan 202 869 HOPE or 301 871 3478

February 14-16, 2003-Clearwater, Florida
Local host: Diocese of St. Petersburg
Contact: Emma Boe 813 631 4370

February 14-16, 2003-Richardton, North Dakota
Contact: Carol Kling 605 374 5639

February 21-23, 2003-Richmond, Virginia
Contact: Kay Marie Geiger 804 330 3137

February 21-23, 2003-Prescott, Arizona
Contact: Diane 928 775 4500
Contact: Mary 928 759 0846

February 21-23, 2003-Wichita, Kansas
Local hosts: Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, Diocese of Wichita
Contact: Janice 316 269 4673 or 800 456 HOPE
|Contact: John at


VINE & BRANCHES PUBLICATION NOTE: In 2002, we published Volume 1, Number 1 through Volume 1, Number 10.

We are designating this January 2003 edition as Volume 2, Number 1.


Comments about Vine & Branches may be directed to the Editor, Leslie Graves, at


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