VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly e-Newsletter of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
September 2003 - Volume 2, Number 9
Welcome to Rachel’s Vineyard
Our national toll-free hotline is (877) HOPE-4-ME.
Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries holds weekend retreats for
emotional and spiritual healing after abortion. Our National Office is supported
as a project of American Life League
Publisher: Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries
Editor: Leslie Graves
Associate Editor: Catherine McHugh
Comments and questions: Theresa Burke
mailto:email@example.com or Leslie Graves
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and
lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
1. Rachel’s Vineyard in Australia
2. "A Guidebook for Gardeners" now available
3. Documentary about post-abortion recovery debuts in
4. Training opportunities this fall
5. Short news notes
6. Retreats scheduled for September and October
RACHEL’S VINEYARD IN AUSTRALIA
Julie Kelly flew from Sydney, Australia to Seattle,
Washington in February 2000 to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, 44 years
after her abortion.
When Kelly returned to Sydney, she approached the bishops
of the three dioceses in Sydney and told them of the great need of women who are
suffering post-abortion trauma. The bishops were very supportive, and the first
retreat in Australia was held in Sydney in December 2000.
There are now six other dioceses around Australia in
various stages of introducing Rachel’s Vineyard, as well as two in New Zealand.
There has already been a retreat in Melbourne and one will be held soon in
The most enjoyable aspect of Kelly’s ministry, she says,
"is seeing the blossoming of post-abortion counseling that’s happening in a
number of centers. I also really love presenting on the subject and have the
chance to do that in lots of different arenas. This week I was guest speaker at
my old alma mater where I started my counseling training 18 years ago. It felt
Kelly and the clergy who work on the Australian retreats
are in the planning stages of a national conference on post-abortion healing and
reconciliation for priests, counselors, and pastoral associates that will be
held in February 2004.
With the permission of those involved, Kelly has shared
with "Vine and Branches" an exchange of letters that resulted from a recent
Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Australia.
You do not know me, but you have touched my life
tremendously by your kindness and generosity. My name is Linda. I am 26 years
old and I have spent the past seven years torturing myself after making the
painful decision to have an abortion when I was only 19 years old.
I know that some women who have made such a choice
apparently suffer no ill-effects—whether these effects be physical, emotional,
psychological or spiritual. It was, however, very different for me.
Following my abortion, I fell into an awful spiral of
self-destruction. I became severely depressed to the point of wanting to take my
own life. I still wonder now how I managed to stay alive. I lost all joy in
living and I began to punish myself in various ways - from taking drugs to
becoming dangerously anorexic and then bulimic. I became a workaholic, trying in
my job to heal others but finally even felt that I could no longer do that.
All of these things I suffered in silence and no one knew
my pain. No one. My parents were horrified when years later I revealed to them
what I had gone through. Many special friends still cannot understand why I did
not turn to them for support. I have always buried my own needs in order to look
A few months ago, I finally felt as though I was getting
my life back together when ... WHAM ... I found myself curled up in bed, feeling
the same pangs of torturous pain that I had suffered seven years ago. I spent an
entire night alone, crying softly and wanting to end my own life. It was as
though the past had come back, saying loudly, "Deal with me now! You must share
your pain in order to heal. You can no longer carry this burden on your own."
I spent the next morning sobbing with my mother, telling
her how close I was to ending my life. She mentioned Rachel’s Vineyard. I phoned
and met with Julie Kelly that afternoon, with no idea how much that visit was
going to change my life.
Ron, I have carried the huge burden of having had an
abortion for seven years. It has nearly killed me. And suddenly, there I was
with this gentle woman who had suffered a similar experience and who was helping
others recover from the pain. She was like a life-line in the midst of a dark
storm. I remember thinking to myself, "I don’t know what I can do to take away
this pain. I don’t know how to make it stop." And then Julie mentioned Rachel’s
Vineyard Retreat. To my astonishment she said that the next retreat was in three
days time and there was one space left! It was like a gift from heaven, as
though God himself had reached down and said, "Here is your salvation. Here is
how you will heal this pain."
I did not have any money to pay for such a retreat but
Julie assured me that there would be a way for the expenses to be covered. Ron,
your donation arrived the day the retreat began. Thank you from the bottom of my
heart. Your generous gift has changed and touched my life. There I was, on the
verge of an emotional collapse, when along came a series of guardian angels to
lift me up. You are one of these angels.
Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat was one of the most special
gifts of my life. The work that Julie is doing is phenomenally powerful and
touching to the spirit. And you, Ron, are a similar gift in my life. You may
have thought your gift to be a simple donation of money, but believe me, it was
much more than that. Your kindness, in many ways, helped to save my life.
Although I know your gift was given with no intention of
being repaid, I also know that life works in some amazingly mysterious ways, so
it is my hope that your gift will be repaid to you in some precious way when the
time comes for you to receive.
With love and deep gratitude,
And here is the reply she received:
I was so deeply touched by your letter. I wish I could
write the correct words to express my feelings. Maybe if you were sitting
alongside me on a plane going to, say, Perth, I could find the right words.
I want to thank you for your letter, but I also want to
tell you that you were wrong when you said you could no longer "heal others" (I
take "heal" to mean "help"). Your letter has helped me more than you could
imagine. My wife and I wept as we read your words. I would love to be able to
explain better but you will just have to take my word for it.
God bless you, Linda, and Rachel’s Vineyard, too.
"A GUIDEBOOK FOR GARDENERS" NOW
"Rachel’s Vineyard: A Guidebook for Gardeners" is an
eight-chapter manual designed to help local groups as they go through the steps
of starting a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in their area.
"A Guidebook for Gardeners" was written by Leslie Graves
with the help of dozens of experienced retreat team facilitators and
Comments from readers include "I wish I had had this when
we started…it would have saved me a lot of time," and "Wonderful! I already feel
like I know exactly what I need to do next."
"A Guidebook for Gardeners" is divided in two volumes.
Volume One includes the first five chapters. These chapters cover all the
practical tasks involved with starting the retreat, such as finding a retreat
facility, choosing and training retreat team members, budgeting the retreat,
getting the word out, coordination tasks, and much more. Volume Two is about
facilitating the retreat itself.
Volume One is available for shipping now. Volume Two will
be available in October.
According to Graves, "Our goal was to provide a simple,
practical and complete description of everything a team needs to know as they
work toward offering their first several retreats. ‘A Guidebook for Gardeners’
might best be viewed as a supplement to the Rachel’s Vineyard Manual. The
Rachel’s Vineyard Manual is indispensable while ‘A Guidebook for Gardeners’
might make your job a little easier."
She also noted that "the guiding assumption in each
chapter is that a team is starting out entirely from scratch. At the same time,
discussions and ideas about aspects of the retreat are included that may be
helpful even to those who already have a lot of experience with post-abortion
ministry and the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat."
The cost of the complete 200-page "Rachel’s Vineyard: A
Guidebook for Gardeners" is $30.00, which includes shipping. Ordered separately,
each volume is $20.00. Teams are welcome to order either Volume One or the
entire Guidebook now. If they order the entire set, they will receive Volume Two
To order a copy of "Rachel’s Vineyard: A Guidebook for
Gardeners," please send a letter with your name and address, and a check made
out to "Rachel’s Vineyard", to Katie D’Annunzio, Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries,
P.O. Box 195, Bridgeport, PA 19405.
If you would like to simultaneously order the main
Rachel’s Vineyard manual, please indicate that and enclose an additional $25.00.
For additional information via email about "A Guidebook
for Gardeners" or "The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Manual," please send an email
to Kevin Burke <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn,
and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it
will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running
over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure
you get back."
DOCUMENTARY ABOUT POST-ABORTION
RECOVERY DEBUTS IN MINNEAPOLIS
On August 1, Cheryl Riley, Mary Kominsky and Theresa Burke
sat down in a television studio in Minneapolis and talked intimately for several
hours about post-abortion trauma and healing, both from a personal perspective
(Cheryl and Mary) and from the perspective of many years of clinical experience
and retreat work (Theresa).
"Suffering in Silence," a powerful 60-minute documentary,
was created from this interview, along with additional footage of other couples
and individuals affected by abortion. Copies of the tape will soon be available
for local groups across the country, and it has already aired several times on
MCN Channel 6 in the Twin Cities area.
According to Sharon Soderlund, the Respect Life
coordinator for the Archdiocese of Minneapolis, "Each person who was interviewed
did a fantastic job, and the camera work, sound, editing, etc., were tight. What
a huge difference ‘Suffering in Silence’ will make in reaching all the women who
have suffered so long in isolation, feeling hopeless and unforgiven."
"Suffering in Silence" would not have been possible
without two key people. Jeanne Krieg, a member of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat
team in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, is a television producer. Jeanne served
as the executive producer, pulling together all the many different talented
people needed to create a production of this caliber. Kalley Yanta is the on-air
anchor and host of "Suffering in Silence." Kalley is well-known in the Twin
Cities area as their former ABC network affiliate news anchor. In addition to
her work on the screen, Kalley played a vital role in pulling together people
and footage for the project.
Details about how to obtain a copy of "Suffering in
Silence" will be available in the October 2003 edition of "Vine and Branches."
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES THIS FALL
A two-day Rachel’s Vineyard Introductory and Clinical
Training with Kevin and Theresa Burke will be held in the Portland,
Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area on October 15-16. CEU credits are available.
Catholic Charities of Western Washington and the Archdiocese of Portland Oregon
are sponsoring the event. For information, please contact Valerie Jacobs, MA
mailto:ValeriePR@aol.com at 800-822-4673
or Paula Lang, LCSW at 503-238-5196, ext. 226.
A one-day clinical training will be held on October 9,
2003 in Edmonton, Alberta. Contact John McDonald
780-469-2323 for more information. CEU credits available A one-day clinical
training will be held on October 10, 2003 in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Contact
at 403-218-5506 or 800-566-6150. CEU credits available.
A Clinical Training on Post-Abortion Trauma and Healing
with Theresa Burke, Ph.D, for all counselors, priests, pastors, deacons, church
pastoral staff and ministers, hosted by Epiphany Catholic Church in Richmond,
Virginia, on Friday, November 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Contact Kay Marie
The Archdiocese of Minneapolis is holding a one-day
training on Friday, November 21 for archdiocesan priests and seminarians on
post-abortion trauma and recovery, which will be conducted by Theresa Burke and
others. Contact Sharon Soderlund
SHORT NEWS NOTES
On October 2, a post-abortion conference for lay, clergy
and mental health professionals, "Recovery of the Heart: Healing the Hidden Pain
of Abortion" will be held at the Swan Club, Shore Road, Glenwood, NY 11547.
Workshops include: Men and Abortion, Eating Disorders, Clergy Workshop and
"What’s Out There: An overview of ministries in the greater New York area." The
conference will run from 9 am to 4:30 pm. A banquet dinner with a keynote and
entertainment will follow. Cost for both events including continental breakfast,
lunch and dinner is $125. For the conference only $60, banquet only $65. The
conference is sponsored by Lumina
Tell Them I Love Them Ministries
http://www.tellthemilovethem.org is hosting "A Day of Hope and Healing" on
Saturday, November 22 for men and women to learn more about God’s forgiveness
and mercy after abortion. Featured speakers include Norma McCorvey (the former
Roe of "Roe v. Wade"), Theresa Burke, and Linda Bartlett of Lutherans for Life.
All are welcome to attend. The cost for the day is $45.00.
The September 2003 edition of Touchstone magazine includes
an article The Nightmares of Choice
http://www.touchstonemag.com/docs/issues/16.7docs/16-7pg22.html , by Rachel
McNair, about the psychological impact of abortion on abortion providers.
RETREATS SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER
NOTE: You may also call our national toll-free hotline at
1-877-HOPE-4-ME for information about the retreat, and about schedules and
September 12-14, 2003-Fairfield County, Connecticut
Contact: Clarissa Cincotta 203 372 4301 ext 314
September 12-14, 2003-Montello, Wisconsin
Local host: Pregnancy Helpline of Janesville
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Cheryl Ryan 608 754 0309
September 12-14, 2003-Portland, Oregon
Contact: Lori Eckstine 800 249 8074 or 541 521 5186
September 12-14, 2003-Miami, Florida
Note: Spanish retreat
Contact: Sr. Maria José 305 653 2966
September 19-21, 2003-Youngstown, Ohio
Contact: Brenda Dama 330 797 8951
Contact: Br. Vit Fiala 330 799 1888
September 19-21, 2003-Richmond, Virginia
Contact: Kay Marie Geiger 804 330 3137
September 19-21, 2003-Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Contact: Susan Lepak 405 721 5651 ext 107
September 19-21, 2003-Linden, New Jersey
Contact: Michelle Krystofik 732 388 8211
September 26-28, 2003-Fort Wayne, Indiana
Contact: Sue Brazo 616 683 4958 or 616 683 7831
September 26-28, 2003-Gaylord, Michigan
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Beth Bauer 800 727 5147 ext 3533 or 989 705 3517
September 26-28, 2003-Jackson, Mississippi
Contact: Judy Lindsay
Contact: Kim Hardeman 601 624 0015
October 3-5, 2003-Monroe, Connecticut
Local host: Archdiocese of Hartford Project Rachel
Contact: Mary Hayden 203 882 1326
October 3-5, 2003-Los Angeles, California
Contact: Christine Lowe 866 2 RACHEL
October 3-5, 2003-Portland, Maine
Contact: Jeanne Bull 207 871 7464
October 3-5, 2003-Casper, Wyoming
Local host: Diocese of Cheyene
Contact: Sharie Cundall 307 322 4742
October 10-12, 2003-Romeoville, Illinois
Local host: Joliet Diocesan Life Office
Contact: Kay Corcoran 815 838 7171
October 10-12, 2003-Knoxville, Tennessee
Contact: Catherine McHugh 865 694 4971
October 10-12, 2003-Falls Church, Virginia
Contact: Myriam Perez 703 729 7998
October 17-19, 2003-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Immaculata)
Contact: Mary Alice 877 HOPE 4 ME
October 17-19, 2003-Washington, D.C.
Contact: Project Rachel DC 202 269 HOPE
October 24-26, 2003-Rapid City, South Dakota
Contact: Carol Kling 605 374 5639
October 24-26, 2003-Asheville, North Carolina
Local host: St. Banabas Respect Life Committee
Contact: Shelley Glanton 828 684 4330
Contact: Paula Bolick 828 684 4330
October 24-26, 2003-Denver, Colorado
Contact: Edith Gutierrez 303 682 9185
October 24-26, 2003-Oregon, Illinois
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Catherine Rennert 815 968 1157
October 24-26, 2003-Boise, Idaho
Note: Interdenominational retreat
Contact: Stefanie Downs 877 HOPE 4 ME
October 31-November 2, 2003-Sydney, Australia
Contact: Julie Kelly 02 9440 7980
October 31-November 2, 2003-Wilmington, Delaware
Contact: Mary Jo 302 655 9624 ext 219
October 31-November 2, 2003-Scranton, Pennsylvania
Contact: Denise Rowinski Mengak 570 822 7118 ext 307
October 31-November 2, 2003-New Orleans, Louisiana
Note: Retreat location is Crown Point, Louisiana
Contact: Melanie Baglow 504 889 2431
Contact: Woman’s New Life Center 504 269 8186
October 31-November 2, 2003-Hays, Kansas
Contact: Donetta Robben 785 623 75
"In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me
bold with strength in my soul."
Comments about Vine & Branches may be directed to the
editor, Leslie Graves
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