VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
January 2003 - Volume 2, Number 1
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
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
- Heart Mind and Strength Radio Show with Greg Popcak
6. A priest reflects on Rachel’s
7. New video aids those who seek healing
8. Upcoming Rachel’s Vineyard Healing Weekends
A REPORT ON RACHEL’S VINEYARD IN 2002
by: Kevin Burke, MSS/LSW, Director, Rachel’s Vineyard
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
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
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
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
Those who could once tell no one are now telling the
Please send messages of support to "Silent No More" on the
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
RACHEL’S VINEYARD LEADERSHIP
TRAININGS IN 2003
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
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 RECEIVES COMMENDATION
Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, is
honored to have received a special commendation from U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
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."
RECENT AND FORTHCOMING PUBLICITY
*Carrie Allegretti spoke of her experience with healing after
abortion and recommended Rachel’s Vineyard on Marcus Grodi’s popular EWTN
"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
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
*"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
Catholic Voice Features.
*The Connecticut Post, a daily paper covering the
Bridgeport, Conn. area,
available on the web at
www.connpost.com, 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
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
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
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
*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)
A PRIEST REFLECTS ON RACHEL’S
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
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.’"
NEW VIDEO AIDS THOSE WHO SEEK HEALING
"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.
UPCOMING RACHEL’S VINEYARD
RETREATS FOR HEALING AFTER ABORTION
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:
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,
Comments about Vine & Branches may be directed to the
Editor, Leslie Graves, at
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