On Wednesday, the pro-life community has learned of the tragic loss of Vicki Thorn, foundress of Project Rachel, at the age of 72.
She shared her first indirect encountered when a friend needed help. “All I could do was just love her and be present to her, and make sure she was OK,” Thorn would recall years later. “But it was a life-changing experience for me, in understanding that abortion was not a non-event, that it left enormous footprints in someone’s life, and enormous pain.”
In 1984, Thorn founded Project Rachel while working for the Respect Life Office in Milwaukee. The idea of her ministry came from Jeremiah 31:25, which reads, “In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing, bitter weeping! Rachel mourns for her children, she refuses to be consoled for her children — they are no more!”
In his statement on the tragic loss of Vicki Thorn, Archbishop Listecki recalled that “Vicki’s life was dedicated to a single mission; caring for men and women wounded by abortion. As the founder of Project Rachel, she single-handedly created a post-abortion healing ministry at a time when none existed,”
In 2021, Vicki Thorn received Evangelium Vitae Medal from the University of Notre Dame. View the presentation here.
Today, Project Rachel is flourishing through a majority of Archdioceses throughout the United States and in 25 additional countries.
More information about Project Rachel is available on the ministry’s USCCB’s website, or by calling 888-456-HOPE (4673).
On Friday, March 25th Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, located in Center City Philadelphia, held a poetry slam on their campus. It is no coincidence that they chose the feast of the annunciation to have a horrendous event to mock a Catholic solemnity. It was even a stunt to do it the night before the annual Philly March for Life. The students listened to women who came to campus and shared their experiences. What astounded the students, according to an eyewitness from the event, was the presenters shared how they regretted their decision.
From one presenter: “I killed my babies… now all I have are their dead souls. I will never hear them laugh. But at least I killed them before they existed. No, that is not true, they did exist. My children were all fully there… I just never gave them the chance to laugh,”
Another presenter got up and shared her coerced abortion titled “The Abortion I Didn’t Want”: She described how her boyfriend wanted to make her have an abortion, and when she got to the clinic, she consented to the abortion at first, then suddenly changed her mind as the procedure was beginning. But when she changed her mind, the clinicians restrained her, held down her arms and legs, and did the abortion anyway while she tried to physically resist them.
Based on the women’s poems, it sounded like all of them regretted their abortions. It sounded like all of them were feeling sad, guilty, traumatized, lonely, and confused. None of their poems appeared to be pro-choice.
After the poems were read, the event organizers walked in and asked the students to donate money to the abortion clinic’s fund.
No one is liberated from abortion. Rather, they are enslaved by this false lie that leaves a woman with a lifetime of regret, sorrow, and suffering. This goes to show that abortion is unthinkable. We must step up our game to help women in their hour of great need. We must not back down. We must be committed to helping women, like the ones who wrote of their experiences.
Oh Lord, I had an abortion thinking it was for the best, but the grief and guilt I have felt ever since I took that decision has haunted me, and I feel so ashamed of myself and riddled with guilt, by allowing a little life to be taken in this way.
My heart is so heavy and I find that I am not able to think about anything else and realise more and more that it is against You Lord, that I have sinned and done this great wrong.
Lord, I feel broken inside and pray for Your healing and comfort. You have promised to mend the broken-hearted and to set those that are captive to guilt and shame free, and Lord, You have promised forgiveness and restoration to all who come humbly to Your throne of grace and confess their wrongdoing. My hope is in You, for You alone can restore the joy of my salvation.
Thank You, that You are a forgiving God, Whose mercies are new every morning and that You that You have promised to carry all our guilt and burdens, and so I hand this over to You today, and ask for the healing and restoration that only You can give, and the grace to forget what is past and move on with You as my guide. I ask this in Jesus’ name,
“Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2
This is a life changing opportunity. Rachel’s Vineyard was created in 1995 by Theresa (a psychologist) and Kevin Burke.
Who will benefit from these retreats? Moms, of course. Also, dads, grandparents and anyone who helped a mom obtain an abortion. Have you thought about being a part of a weekend retreat? Say yes and bless yourself and your family.
Rachel’s Vineyard will be hosting a Post-Abortion Healing Retreat this weekend from Friday, March 5th to Sunday, March 7th at the IHM Spirituality Center in Malvern, PA.
“Are you suffering from the wound of abortion? A Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is a non-judgmental, safe, loving and confidential environment. Come and experience the mercy and compassion of God by attending the upcoming retreat. The experience will give you hope for your future and freedom from the pain within your heart and soul.”
For information, call: Georgeann – 484-955-4278 or Susan – 610-716-4795. Financial aid is offered if needed.
The Catholic Diocese of Austin is offering a Post-Abortion Healing Retreat the weekend of February 12-14th. Information on this Retreat can be found in the post below along with a link to Project Rachel’s website. If you know of someone in the Austin Diocese who would benefit from this Retreat, please pass this along to them.
This is a tremendous personal and family opportunity. The Catholic Diocese of Austin offers its next Post-Abortion Healing Retreat on the weekend of February 12-14. This is for moms, dads, grandparents, and friends who have–one way or another– experienced the personal results of abortion. Many who are not Catholics have been welcomed and benefited from this retreat. Possibly you have thought about participating in something like this but have not quite come to a “yes”. I pray this time you will say “yes”. If you cannot read the print on the graphic, the phone # is 877-932-2732. The email address is email@example.com.
The following is from Evelyn Walsh, Director, Rachel’s Vineyard in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This retreat is for post-abortive women who are looking for support and healing.
I am pleased to announce that our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat scheduled for the weekend of October 2 – 4, 2020 at Our Lady of Czestochowa is confirmed and will take place. The coronavirus has upended so many lives in recent months, but I can assure you our team is taking every precaution to meet each person where they are in their concerns and fears.
Jesus waits for us all when we visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament. We will have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration from the beginning of our post-abortive healing retreat on Friday, October 2nd until it ends on Sunday, October 4th. The team and participants are eternally grateful to you for taking the time to pray for our intentions as the hard work of reconciling with God and accepting His graces and forgiveness occurs during that weekend.
If it’s possible for you to come to the Ave Maria Retreat House and spend a Holy Hour with Our Lord during our retreat, please contact Michelle Garges at 267-374-0235 firstname.lastname@example.org. She is looking forward to hearing from you to schedule your time. As we get closer to the retreat she will advise you as to what the door code number to the retreat house will be. Please keep in mind that this is not a place for small children to join you. If the sound of a small child or baby is heard by our group, it could possibly trigger a negative emotional response for the participant. We go to great lengths to create a very safe place for them to grieve their children and I would like to make sure that even though Our Lord loves the little ones to come to Him, this is one time we would advise against it. If you are new to the Ave Maria Retreat House, the Adoration Chapel is on the second floor straight up the stairs or you can use the elevator. The chapel is directly above our meeting room and I can assure you that your prayers are felt flowing down upon us. The enemy is not pleased with the beautiful healing that occurs during this retreat. Your prayers are an integral part of each participant feeling renewed, refreshed and healed by His love.
You have my utmost gratitude for your prayers. Please consider praying for the intentions of this Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat even though you may not be available to schedule time at the retreat house chapel to pray there. Start praying even today to encourage anyone who is anxious about attending that weekend to find the courage to call me soon. As of today, we are just about full. It’s very common to receive registrations at the last minute due to the content and nature of this retreat. You may even know of someone in need of post-abortive healing. I look forward to hearing from them.
As always, we love to receive your special treats such as cookies, brownies, (sweets of any kind really), and healthier appetizers (hummus, veggies or fruits) to offer during our breaks throughout the weekend. If you would like to drop some goodies off, please contact me in advance as to what it is you plan to bring so that I can keep a list (so that we don’t end up with 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies ;). And, if it’s on your heart and you have the means to donate financially to offer scholarships to those in need it would be most helpful. May God bless you for your generosity.
One last thing, due to Covid-19 protocols everywhere we go nowadays, please wear your mask to the retreat house. We will have bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere throughout the building for your use as well. Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries will take reasonable measures, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state, and local guidelines to provide a safe and sanitary environment for our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. Thank you for your understanding.
“Even though he gave quotable sermons addressing abortions, my priest was urged to avoid the subject by people. Sad!”
Abortion is one issue that pastors avoid including in their sermons. Following is an article by Michael Foust of Christian Headlines on the Pew Research Center.
About one in five churches across the United States during the spring of 2019 heard a sermon mentioning abortion, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that showed a disparity between evangelical and mainline churches on the issue.
Nineteen percent of churches heard at least one sermon mentioning abortion, with evangelical Protestant (22 percent), Catholic (19 percent) and historically black Protestant churches (18 percent) being the most likely to include a sermon on abortion during the study period and mainline churches (10 percent) the least likely.
Most sermons were in opposition to abortion, Pew said.
Overall, 4 percent of all sermons in U.S. churches mentioned abortion during the study period, including 4 percent of evangelical sermons, 5 percent of Catholic sermons and 3 percent of sermons in historically black Protestant churches. Two percent of sermons in mainline Protestant churches mentioned abortion.
The survey examined online sermons from more than 6,400 U.S. churches between April 7 and June 1, 2019. The survey period did not include what often is called Sanctity of Human Life Sunday or Pro-Life Sunday, an annual day in January when sermons on abortion are more common.
“While the database is not representative of all U.S. Christian sermons, it offers a window into what many Americans hear each week from the pulpit,” Pew’s Dennis Quinn wrote in an online analysis.
Meanwhile, sermons that mention abortion rarely dwell on the topic but instead mention it in only one segment of the sermon: “three-quarters of all sermons that mention abortion do so in just one segment,” according to Pew. (Pew divided sermons into 250-word segments.)
Churches with fewer members also were more likely to hear about abortion in a sermon. Although 21 percent of churches with fewer than 200 members heard at least one sermon mentioning abortion during the study period, that percentage fell to 17 percent among churches with more than 200 members.
The Pew data sparked a variety of responses on social media.
Blogger’s Comment:It’s extremely disappointing that pastors avoid the issue of abortion. Many are fearful of offending or losing church members. They don’t understand how many women sitting in their pews are suffering from the pain and regret of aborting their baby. A survey from 2015 indicated 70 percent of women who had abortions identify as Christians.
For women in a crisis pregnancy, their church should be the first place they turn to for help. Brochures should be available about crisis pregnancy centers. They provide counseling, ultrasounds, housing and education before and after their baby is born, some for up to two years such as Legacy of Life. Hotline numbers to access counseling and locations of care pregnancy centers should be published in church bulletins. TheNational Right to Life hotline is available 24/7.
Rachel’s Vineyard ministers to post-abortive mothers and fathers, siblings and grandparents through weekend retreats. Silent No More reaches out to those suffering grief and regret after abortion by offering after-care abortion programs.
By remaining silent, pastors miss the opportunity to minister the love of Jesus to a teen or young woman in a crisis pregnancy. They also fail to share messages of God’s mercy, forgiveness and healing to post-abortive moms.
The following is from Evelyn Walsh, Director of Rachel’s Vineyard in Doylestown, Pennsylvania regarding the cancellation of their April retreat as well as the cancellation of retreats around the world due to the coronavirus.
I’ve reached out to many of you already, but I thought I should contact the rest of the group to tell you that COVID-19 is responsible for cancelling our Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat this April 3rd to the 5th. As a matter of fact, the National Rachel’s Vineyard office cancelled ALL retreats around the world for the months of March and April. As much as this breaks my heart to cancel, I can’t help but to think that even through this difficult and uncertain time, God has a plan in all of this for us.
Through the blessing of our connectivity through the internet, we are able to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, pray the rosary with others, and meet and talk with friends and family on so many other web platforms. After the rosary last night with Meghan Cokeley, Vince and I met with other Archdiocesan Choir members on Zoom to sing Evening Prayers. How oddly fun that was! It made my heart smile. Tonight the Charismatic Prayer group at the Shrine will have another Zoom meeting at 7:00pm. We are definitely a resourceful bunch! If anything, we do have so much more time now to pray and get closer to God in a multitude of ways. (Surely, the old-fashioned way is still the best. 😉
I had hoped to reschedule this spring retreat to another weekend, but unfortunately the Ave Maria Retreat House is booked solid for this year and the next. We do have our fall retreat booked for the weekend of October 2 – 4, 2020 and God-willing I look forward to your prayers and support then. Please do pray that those suffering and wounded souls looking forward to this April retreat and all retreats in the future will be comforted by our prayers and intentions for them.
God bless you. Stay safe and healthy and be at peace.
From an email blast sent out by Dr.Monique Ruberu.
Today while Pat was present at the vigils he witnessed something that always leaves a knot in our stomachs….
A man drove up with a blonde girl… she was sobbing and crying. He signed her in and he left her… sobbing inside … she went upstairs…
sadly if she went through with the procedure today will not be her last day of grief… please pray for her.
We have all heard stories that got up off the bed at the last moment and I pray that this was her story as well… all I know is that your willingness to be there… to witness brings honor to the child she is carrying. That small innocent babe is acknowledged by your presence.. you pray for that child, that child is known and loved by you. And one day when you enter into heaven these children you witnessed will be present to welcome you.
thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
please help us fill the remaining hours