"Healing the pain of abortion, one weekend at a time."
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The Catholic Charities Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry is a post-abortion healing program for both women and men. The ministry organizes retreats that enable men and women the opportunity to examine their abortion experience, identify the ways the loss has impacted each one in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. These retreats are a spiritual and emotional healing process and offer hope and healing to those suffering from post-abortion trauma. They are offered in English and Spanish.
Find a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat – View our Calendar
Rachel’s Vineyard is a program of Catholic Charities Respect Life Ministry which partners with Catholic Charities Prison Ministry to provide Rachel’s Vineyard, a post-abortion healing program, to those incarcerated in state prisons throughout the diocese. To learn more about this program, please visit our Prison Ministry Post-Abortion Healing page.
The weekend is a lot of work, but those who are willing to journey through their grief will experience the power of resurrection in their own lives. They will find meaning in what has happened and allow God to transform the experience into something that gives hope, liberation and peace.
Rachel's Vineyard belongs to those who intuitively sense that life is a precious seed which has been given to us for cultivation. We acknowledge the loss of that irreplaceable life and the grief that comes from relinquishing one so intimately connected to us.
Rachel's Vineyard is meant to help those who are trying to fit the very normal epiphany of grief into a world that would rather have them feel numb and blind, so as to maintain a safe distance from the truth.
Its purpose is to allow the process of birthing self and faith to proceed, rather than to be squashed by rhetoric, denial and avoidance. It provides a safe, loving and non-judgmental environment to search the fabric of our lives, the innermost depths of the soul, an opportunity to be supported through bereavement and grief and a lighted path to discover forgiveness and reconciliation.
Mourning and grieving are necessary milestones which must be passed so that our lives can continue. When this process is complete there is re-birth and resurrection. There is new life within our spirit which gives us hope in the future. There is an opportunity to explore our lives, and appreciate our human fragility. Through a very personal and intimate encounter with the Living God, we come to know that God knows and loves us despite our many weaknesses and human failures.
You most likely will fit into one of the following six roles:
Depending on your role in the abortion, you may have very different responses. If you were powerless to stop an abortion you can have immediate and debilitating symptoms of anger, depression and even suicidal feelings. If you were not involved in the decision you may struggle to understand your feelings and be confused by your lingering guilt and shame. Regardless of your role in that abortion decision (and for some men it may be multiple abortions) your role as a parent was prematurely cut short.
Men have a natural instinct to provide for and protect their families. For many men, this instinct kicks in as soon as fatherhood is realized. For others, it comes at a later time, perhaps when they father other children and struggle to understand their previous abortion loss. Regardless, an abortion prevents that instinct from being exercised. This in turn can leave you feeling empty, powerless, defeated, helpless, confused and without purpose. These thoughts and feelings can haunt you for years after the procedure. Rachel's Vineyard will help you to grieve your loss and deal with the powerful feelings of anger and depression you are struggling with. You will need the help of others to heal of this loss.
If you are married to or love a woman who experienced abortion before you met her, you might find your current relationship with her is being impacted by some of her symptoms. These can include fear of pregnancy and parenting, trouble with intimacy, inability to enjoy sex, rejection of the love you try to give her; because she does not feel worthy of your tenderness and affection. We invite you to explore offering Rachel’s Vineyard retreat to your wife as a gift and assure her that you would like to accompany her as she goes to deal with this painful event in her history.
Below are some testimonials from women who had an abortion and were helped and found healing by attending a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat.
I used to consider post abortion healing only a woman's issue. As you know, men grieve too.... but I never knew that. I can't tell you how much the presence of men on the Rachel's Vineyard Retreats has helped me to heal. Abortion divides us. It divides mother from child and severs the love in many relationships. Through journeying with men in Rachel's Vineyard, I finally realized that I can forgive the many men in my past who had let me down. I have been able to accomplish this because of the strength and courage I have witnessed in men who come and share what they went through. I never realized that men suffer deep grief from this. I think we need each other to fully reconcile what this pain has done in our lives and to our relationships. The men who attended my retreat helped to restore my faith in men.... And that is a miracle!
I would like to thank you for the opportunity of this healing program Rachel’s Vineyard. It has helped me so much. I have cried, prayed, expressed my anger, grieved and finally came to acceptance of what I had done. I know now God has forgiven me, for in Romans 3:23 it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” I now want to share this truth with every man who is in my shoes. I pray this progfam is here to stay. Nothing but GOOD can come out of this.
-- Jim C.
Rachel’s Vineyard. WOW! What a healing program! There was an emotional release one step at a time. As a man, it was my season to face the truth about my abortion and the damage it had done to me mentally,physically, emotionally and spiritually! This program was the true definition of no pain, no gain! The pain of confessing my faults and truly asking myself, ‘Do you want to get well?” YES! I chose to be healed from the root of self rejection, to overcome the emotional baggege I carried for way too long! To receive God’s forgiveness and healing for this Father’s heart, has changed my life forever! This is what Rachel’s Vineyard has done for me. Thank you.
Please watch the video below: "From Retreatant to Volunteer: Teri's Story"
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