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.

How to Approach Someone Who is Post Abortive

What do you say to someone you encounter that is post-abortive?

In this video from the Culture Project, Kiki shares how she was spared from abortion. Later she learned that her older siblings were killed and what her response was to her mother. Click on the link below to view the video.

When Someone Tells You They Had An Abortion

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A Reflection on Lourdes and Healing; Post Abortive Families Must Seek

Today February 11th is revered as the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Today marks 161 years since the Blessed Mother appeared to St Bernadette Soubirous. She was 14 years old and her faith was lukewarm.

“I am the Immaculate Conception” the Blessed Mother tells Bernadette on the feast of the Annunciation. Prior to the revelation of her identity, Bernadette began a series of visits to the Grotto that we know of today. She would even convince the priests in the town to build a church on top of the grotto that she appears.

On Feb. 24, 250 people saw Bernadette break into tears, but only she heard the woman’s message: “Penance! Penance! Penance! Pray to God for sinners. Go, kiss the ground for the conversion of sinners.”

I had the opportunity to visit the shrine in 2011. I was blown away at the quiet, holy atmosphere. I still remember processing with a candle in hand during a rosary procession around town my last night there. I even remember getting submerged into the bath of Lourdes though I was shivering from start to finish and even bringing home waters from the springs.

The importance of Lourdes is that we must heal from the wounds brought forth by the culture of death. I mention this to anyone who has in any way been affected by the scourge of abortion.

Let us pray:

Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen

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