Post-abortion retreats offer healing in multiple languages

*The following is an article from Catholicphilly.com written on Thursday, May 9th by Kevin Burke, Sr. regarding Rachel’s Vineyard. This has been republished with his permission.

A renowned post-abortion healing ministry recently marked its first decade in residence at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown.

Rachel’s Vineyard, a weekend retreat model developed by psychologist Theresa Karminski Burke, offers participants the opportunity to reflect on their abortions through group activities, discussion, and prayer. Founded in 1995, the outreach – now a ministry of Priests for Life – features over 1,000 retreats per year in 49 states and 70 countries.

Last month local site leader Evelyn Walsh and her team of volunteers celebrated the 10th anniversary of their first-weekend retreat for abortion healing at the shrine.

The group has now expanded its program to include sessions in three languages: English, Polish and Spanish.

“We were so happy to offer this first retreat in the native tongue of the pilgrims who visit this Polish shrine,” said Walsh, whose family has worshiped and volunteered at Our Lady of Czestochowa since 1963.

The Polish team had been preparing for a number of years to conduct the retreats, which have drawn attendees from a number of states throughout the Northeast. During one such gathering, attendees from both the Polish- and English-speaking retreat groups joined each other for spiritual exercises, liturgies, and meals.

(Related: Post-abortion healing ministries transform grief into grace.)

In the process, women and men from both groups discovered that despite their differences in language and culture, they shared similar spiritual and emotional wounds from their abortion experience.

“They were deeply touched by the consolation and peace of our merciful Lord,” said Walsh.

The Polish outreach is “a little flicker of a flame,” she added, noting that as word spreads, her group expects a “growing demand for our retreats.”

Walsh also said that the shrine’s clergy, who are Polish-speaking members of the Pauline Fathers and Brothers, welcome the multilingual sessions, which take place at the shrine’s Ave Maria Retreat House.

The shrine’s first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Spanish will take place from June 7-9, facilitated by a ministry team from Long Island, New York.

Three of the shrine’s English retreat team members are fluent in Spanish and will also be part of the team. In addition, the group is collaborating with Estela Reyes-Bugg from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Project Rachel to expand the outreach to Spanish-speaking women and men in the area.

(Related: Couple shows the path to life on journey of healing from abortion.)

Walsh said that the retreats also invite clergy, counselors and new team members to experience the weekend program and see if they are called to serve in the ministry. Rather than simply observe, each prospective team member must enter fully into the weekend activities.

“Even if they have no personal involvement in abortion, they bring the abortion loss of a family member, their role in friend or family member’s abortion, or some other personal loss, so they have an experiential understanding of this amazing retreat process,” said Walsh. “This is very important preparation for service in the Lord’s vineyard.”

Walsh said that the retreats are “an intimate encounter with the Lord Jesus” through Scripture, eucharistic adoration and “the spirit of love and compassion (that) deeply touches those who attend.”

In turn, she said, attendees “want to share the Good News” with others, which “has fed the growth of our Rachel’s Vineyard ministry at the shrine.”

***

For more information about the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, contact Evelyn at 215-317-5752 or by email at evelynwalsh59@gmail.com, or visit the website of the Rachel’s Vineyard group at the shrine. All inquiries are strictly confidential.

Thanks to “Unplanned” Release; Rise in Calls to Abortion Pill Reversal Hotline

The following article was originally written by Christine Rouselle Catholic News Agency on Tuesday, April 9th. It is republished with her permission.

The release and success of the pro-life film “Unplanned” is being credited with an uptick in women seeking information on reversing chemical abortions.

Abortion Pill Rescue Network, run by Heartbeat International’s Option Line, has seen a recent spike in calls from women seeking to reverse their abortions since the film’s release.

Following the release of “Unplanned” in theaters on March 29, the hotline registered a 30 percent increase in calls compared to a normal weekend.

Andrea Trudden, the director of communications and marketing for Heartbeat International, told CNA that the sudden surge of interest was “definitely very interesting.”

“We do believe that [the sudden surge] was attributed to Unplanned, specifically.”

Calls to the hotline have been both from women inquiring about reversing their abortions, and from people interested in learning more about abortion pill reversal and how they can spread the word, said Trudden.

“Unplanned” tells the story of former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Abby Johnson’s ideological transformation into a pro-life advocate.

In the film, Johnson’s own chemical abortion is featured on screen, and on-screen dialogue explains how such abortions can be reversed. A number shown on screen at the end of the film connects viewers with various resources, including the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

The APRN was founded in 2012 and merged into Heartbeat International last year. The spike in interest following the release of “Unplanned” is part of a trend of continually rising interest.

With Heartbeat International’s involvement, a live chat feature was introduced to the APRN website. Since that addition, the group says it has seen the number of calls per month quadruple.

Trudden explained to CNA that calls to the APRN hotline have to be screened, but that women are then connected to medical professionals who can work with a caller to reverse the effects of the abortion pill.

A chemical abortion is a two-step process that involves the ingestion of two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first drug, mifepristone, effectively starves the unborn baby by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken up to two days later and induces labor.

The abortion can be reversed after a woman takes mifepristone, but before she takes misoprostol—though this must be done quickly, Trudden explained.

If an ultrasound confirms the unborn baby is still viable, the mother is given a large dose of progesterone to reverse the effects of mifepristone, with additional doses of progesterone needed throughout the first trimester.

As part of the process, APRN also refers all women to a help center for support throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.

Trudden told CNA that there’s a “64-68 percent success rate” for women seeking to reverse their chemical abortions.

A study of successfully reversed abortions indicated good health outcomes for the children, Trudden said, with no increase in birth defects and even an overall lower preterm delivery rate than the general population.

Since 2012, when the APRN was established, more than 500 babies have been born after their abortions were reversed. Trudden told CNA that there are currently 150 women expecting babies in the near future after reversing their abortions.

Chuck Kozelman, co-writer and director of “Unplanned,” called the increase in the number of women seeking to reverse their abortions “wonderful.”

“We are in a moment of heightened awareness that abortion is the termination of a human being,” Kozelman told CNA.

“Many women who have chosen abortion wish they could go back and change their decision. What we’re seeing is that many of the women who still are capable of reversing that decision are doing so, and we think it’s wonderful.”

Loving One Another

The following is from an email sent out by Dr. Monique Ruberu.

When we can look into the eyes of every person. EVERY single person, and appreciate them for who they are, their beauty, their capacity to love AND love them all despite their views, their beliefs, the color of their skin, how kind or unkind they have been to us… then we know we are really doing HIS work.

Standing on the sidewalk may seem daunting or scary to some of you, but consider this:  While you are present for that hour. What if you were to understand that every person there… those passing by, those walking in and out of the abortion center, those standing as an escort… imagine them all as an extension of you.  They are our brothers and sisters created by God. They are flesh and blood just like you and me.

Then wouldn’t we WANT to be there? Wouldn’t we want to be the person that shares with them that they are loved, they are honored, they have access through our community to a new life, a new support system, a new community.  Wouldn’t we want every person to know that we LOVE them so much because as different as they may look, or sound, or dress, we can see ourselves in them? Wouldn’t we want them to know that even if they chose to do something that we were so saddened by, we could STILL be there to love them and show them kindness and compassion?

If we are not there, nobody will be there to show them.

If we are not there, nobody will be there to pray for these beautiful people.

If we are not there, we have ZERO chance of impacting their lives and the lives of the unborn babies at all.

So LET’S BE THERE! Let us stand in a state of love and compassion. Offering everything we possibly can to give support to the people who are involved in ending the lives of OUR family.  Let us look them in the eyes.. deep into their eyes and connect with them… let us let them know they are important, seen, and LOVED. Let’s band together to MOVE mountains, let’s create the impossible and be the key to transforming the lives of these men and women in need.

Friends, it’s so much more than standing in the cold for an hour. It’s doing everything we can to save our OWN flesh and blood. Our own brothers and sisters that have been created by OUR FATHER. This is NOT an option. I need all of you to do this.. we can’t afford to lose any more of our people.

I love you all and am deeply grateful for the sacrifices you have made to participate thus far. I have complete confidence that each and every one of you will step up and be present more than you have ever thought possible.

God bless,

Dr. Monique

WE HAVE A LAST HOLE PLEASE FILL IT FOR TOMORROW:

Monday 3/11:

12th and locust: 3,4

Tuesday 3/12:

12th and locust: 9,3,4

Wed 3/13:

777 appletree: 12,1,2

Friday 3/15:

12th and locust:9,2,3,4

777 appletree: 12,1

To see the schedule and help fill those hours with love and prayer, Sign up here for your hours.

Blog end of post

The Planned Parenthood Truth Tour

The following is an email sent to me and supporters from Students for Life of America’s Director of Programs Lori Cascio.

If you have been putting off scheduling this display for your campus, consider this your nudge to get to it 🙂 All you need to do is contact your Regional Coordinator (text/call/FB message/email/carrier pigeon, etc) and tell them you want the tour. That’s it!

If you don’t know who your Regional Coordinator is, see below.

This semester’s tour is called The Planned Parenthood Truth Tour. The goal of this display is to call on our states to inspect Planned Parenthood. We don’t want another Gosnell situation! We want to expose America’s largest perpetrator of abortion: Planned Parenthood. Check out this sneak peek of one of our tour banners.

Planned Parenthood Truth explores the real facts about the abortion Goliath, from their consistent decline in non-abortive services to their disgusting facility health violations.

If you are a student in:

ME, CT, RI, VT, NH, or MA, contact Abigail Young.

NY or NJ, contact Kate Maloney.

OH, contact Klara McKee.

IN, contact Lily Hutkowski.

MI, contact Kaylena Wiederhold.

PA or DE, contact Liana Hollendonner.

KY or TN, contact Elizabeth Parker.

WV, contact Lori Cascio.

NC, SC, GA, or FL, contact Ryan Eyrich.

DC, MD, or VA, contact Stephanie Schmitt.

NE, KS, SD, or Western MO, contact Stephanie Lugo.

Eastern MO, contact Elizabeth Hill.

IA, contact Daniel Larkin.

IL, contact Sarah Minnich.

CO or NM, contact Christina Coffman.

OR or ID, contact Nichole Bentz.

WI, MN, or ND, contact Noah Maldonado.

WA, AL, or HI, contact Katie Lodjic.

Southern CA or AZ, contact Camille Cisneros.

Northern CA or NV, contact Anna Bakh.

TX or OK, contact Sarah Zarr.

AL, AR, LA, MS, MT, PR, UT, or WY, contact Nichole Bentz.