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Rachel's Vineyard,
A Ministry of Priests For Life

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The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
June 2003 - Volume 2, Number 6
Welcome to Rachel’s Vineyard - Retreats for Healing After Abortion.

Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.


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: ,


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and I will bring you back from captivity."

Jeremiah 29:10-14



1. Fr. Blair Raum, RIP
2. Reflections on recent retreat experiences
3. Still time to register for June and July training events
4. Two new medical articles on emotions after abortion
5. A Greek Orthodox priest reviews "Forbidden Grief"
6. Upcoming retreats



Fr. Blair Raum, a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, died of a very recently diagnosed cancer on Saturday, May 31.

Fr. Blair was the head of Project Rachel for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He also served on the board of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. Fr. Blair started offering the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Baltimore in1998. He helped train retreat teams in other areas of the country and was a great support to many teams.

Tami Koerber, Project Rachel’s Baltimore director, told the Baltimore Sun: "He was about changing hearts. He was a man of great compassion and sensitivity who knew how to listen. He knew how to carry a woman’s heart as she worked through the process of reconciling with her child, with God and herself."

Fr. Blair’s tireless efforts as a counselor and a priest were an inspiration and a guiding light to many.

We extend our very heartfelt condolences to everyone whose life was touched by Fr. Blair.

May his eternal soul rest in peace.


"You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore." ~Psalm 16:11



We’d like to share some comments from Rachel’s Vineyard retreat participants who attended retreats earlier this year.

Thank you to all who took a moment to share about their experience.

"The retreat was wonderful! Thoughtfully planned and lovingly carried out. I liked the size of the group and the ratio of facilitators to participants. A lot was packed into those two days and the overall effect was that I was deeply changed by the experience."

"When I arrived at the retreat house, I was extremely apprehensive since I was pregnant with my second child. I thought of a thousand reasons to turn my car around as I drove away from my loving husband and 15-month old daughter but I knew I needed to feel God’s forgiveness to be a successful mother and wife. I was pleasantly surprised when greeted by a compassionate staff. There was an overwhelming sense of peace and unconditional love as I entered the house. Though there were many tears shed, this retreat helped me grieve the loss of my two children and gain confidence to raise my unborn child and 15-month toddler. The Rachel’s Vineyard staff is clearly doing God’s work on earth. I look forward to helping this ministry grow and hope to show others how to heal from abortion."

"The retreat was incredibly helpful to me."

"I was able to accept God’s forgiveness."

"What a wonderful experience for participants and our team. We have been planning our retreat since summer of 2002 here in New Orleans and our retreat went wonderfully. The healing that took place was the blessing from our retreat."

"Awesome, spirit-filled, held in a holy, safe place."

"It was the most wonderful experience to have finally found some peace with my past abortion. Very well organized, loving team members. I am not a person who finds it easy to speak in front of others to begin with, but I did it and it feels great."

"I attended an RV retreat in August of 2002 for healing. The retreat went so well for me that I decided to become a team member. The greatest obstacle I had to overcome was my nervousness. I asked the Holy Spirit to strip me of my prideful nerves and just do as He saw fit. And that was that. The retreat was filled with the unconditional love and mercy of God. The Holy Spirit was tangibly present on the faces of the retreatants. I have no doubt in my mind that God really likes this ministry. RV is about deep suffering and horrifying pain and these women, like Christ Himself, were resurrected to new hope and glory. His love and forgiveness resonated through all who participated in the retreat."

"A gift from God, given to us through each one present."

"Thank you for all you did before, during and after the retreat to make it such a powerful healing experience."



From Tuesday evening, June 24, through Thursday, June 26, Rachel’s Vineyard is hosting a Servant’s Retreat in Oklahoma City. This retreat is for anyone who serves within post-abortion ministry. This retreat will focus on inspiration and renewal.

On Friday morning, June 27, Archbishop Beltran will open our Rachel’s Vineyard Introductory and Clinical Training, a multi-track conference that concludes on Sunday, June 29. A wealth of information will be shared throughout this conference, in addition to opportunities for fellowship and inspiration.

For complete details and a registration form, please visit or contact Conference Coordinator Susan Lepak at or (405) 721-8944.

Please note that the registration deadline for the Rachel’s Vineyard Servants’ Retreat is June 17.

In addition, the Diocese of Palm Beach is sponsoring a Rachel’s Vineyard training conference from July 11-13. A wealth of information about how best to understand and help with the anguish that can be experienced after abortion will be shared by presenters Kevin and Theresa Burke, and others.

For complete information and a brochure you can print out, please see this link:


"Abandon yourself to His care and guidance, as a sheep in the care of a shepherd, and trust Him utterly—no matter if you may seem to yourself to be in the very midst of a desert, with nothing green about you inwardly or outwardly, and may think you will have to make a long journey before you can get into the green pastures. Our Shepherd will turn that very place where you are into green pastures, for He has power to make the desert rejoice and blossom as a rose."—Unknown



by Emily Peterson

In May 2003, two leading medical journals published articles that indicate a link between abortion and later emotional distress.

The first article was published in the Medical Science Monitor at . The author’s summary of their research says:

"After controlling for several socio-demographic factors, women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65% more likely to score in the ‘high-risk’ range for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies resulted in a birth."

The second article was published in the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) at .

This article explored the link between abortion and increased rates of psychiatric hospitalization. It found that women who abort a pregnancy are 2.6 times more likely to require psychiatric hospitalization in the year after abortion than women who experience an unexpected pregnancy and carry to term.

News reports about the Canadian Medical Association article appeared in dozens of daily Canadian newspapers, sparking a valuable discussion about the emotional aftermath of abortion.

These two articles join six other articles published in leading medical journals in the last eighteen months that indicate a significant correlation between abortion and later emotional distress.

A main researcher in this area is David Reardon, PhD of the Elliot Institute at .

David Reardon also co-wrote the 2002 book "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" with Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.

(Emily Peterson publishes , a weblog that focuses on the emotional aftermath of abortion.)



Johannes L. Jacobse is a priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Earlier this year, he wrote a review of Burke and Reardon’s "Forbidden Grief".

Jacobse writes:

"’Forbidden Grief’ is a humane and compassionate work that reveals how emotionally and psychological destructive an abortion can be for women. Burke and Reardon explain that many women choose abortion out of ignorance and desperation and not ideological motive or moral callousness. They offer hope by showing that forgiveness and healing are possible."

The full text of the review can be found here:

Ordering information about "Forbidden Grief" can be found here:



June 13-15, 2003-Paterson, New Jersey
Contact: Marie Ryan 973 777 8818 ext 264

June 13-15, 2003-Siler City, North Carolina
Note: Spanish retreat
Contact: Kathleen Flynn 919 742 5380
Contact: Gloria Maldonado 919 548 3671

June 20-22, 2003-Memphis, Tennessee
Contact: Mary 901 277 5114

June 20-22, 2003-Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Contact: Denise Rowinski Mengak 570 822 7118 x307

June 20-22, 2003-Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 7531

June 20-22, 2003-Austin, Texas
Contact: Grace Rau 512 238 1246 or 877 WE CARE 2

June 20-22, 2003-Edmonton, Alberta
Local host: Family Enrichment Center

Contact: Lucie Tettamente 780 466 2225
June 20-22, 2003-Portland, Oregon

Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186
June 27-29, 2003-Auckland, New Zealand

Contact: Eileen Taffard
July 11-13, 2003-Hudson Valley, New York

Contact: Karen Robbins 845 297 9103
July 11-13, 2003-Tulsa, Oklahoma

Contact: Angela Maupin 918 585 8167
July 18-20, 2003-Tampa, Florida
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Debbie Baker

July 25-27, 2003-Dallas, Texas
Note: Spanish retreat
Contact: Jackie 972 679 4760


"How solemn is that sentence of Christ, ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me’! Not while He lived; not by His direct force, but only when pierced, broken, slain, buried, should His influence issue forth, and death should become the throne of His power. So will it be with us if we are Christ’s. Paradoxes upon this truth lie all through the New Testament, and one may walk on them like stepping stones, from side to side. Sorrow is joy. Death is life. Down is up, at


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