“No one could have convinced me that attending Rachel’s Vineyard retreat would be life changing,” shares Marie. “I never imagined my life could change as profoundly as it has since this ‘miracle weekend’.”
Bob agrees. “I may have been able to hide what I did from people, but God knew. I was pretty sure my reputation with God was forever ruined. I needed help and learned of Rachel’s Vineyard. I really wanted to attend but was apprehensive because I’m male, not Catholic, and it occurred over 30 years ago. Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities’ Executive Director put my concerns to rest. I was accepted with open arms by my retreat group. I had no idea that the three days I was about to spend with them would change my life.”
A confidential program open to women and men of all faiths, Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities offers post-abortion healing for those who have experienced the loss of a child through abortion. Substantially supported by Catholic Services Appeal Foundation funds, Rachel’s Vineyard Twin Cities has provided hope and healing to over 500 individuals. Following is a personal testimony from a recent Rachel’s Vineyard retreat attendee:
“Years ago, as I was reading a pamphlet on ‘How to make a good confession’ while standing in a confessional line and seeing the list of the Ten Commandments, I realized at that moment that I had ‘killed’. Never in twenty-some years had it ever dawned on me that my abortion years ago had violated the Fifth Commandment, ‘Thou shall not Kill’. I was flooded with remorse and the realization of the impact of my decision when I was young and being influenced by my boyfriend at the time that having an abortion was my only option. I had had my entire career and life ahead of me and the inconvenience of a child at that time in my life was just that, and I had been led to believe it was the only action that must be taken and so I had acted on it.
At that moment while standing in line, the shock of the reality of my truth took over me; tears and sorrow embedded every bone and muscle of my body. I had suppressed my abortion from my memory for over twenty-some years and then and only then did I discover how wrong it all was. I believe I was given the grace to finally have the memory emerge; as hard as I tried to suppress it again, it would not go away. Weeks went by and I could not suppress my sorrow or tearfulness. I believe God placed a certain ‘angel’ in my life who saw my anguish. She took the time to ask me what was wrong; she listened and gently made me aware that there were programs out there, one being Rachel’s Vineyard, and encouraged me to attend. I trusted her and decided to attend, with much hesitation.
It was a truly amazing experience, one that I did not expect. I felt relieved of the burden of guilt and shame; I was guided into a place of peace and forgiveness. I was also able to recognize a miscarriage from years ago. The healing that I experienced because of Rachel’s Vineyard and the wonderful people who gave their time to help a mother or a father in this situation is beyond comprehension. I am thankful for all of them. They gave me a gift that made a huge impact in my life to help forgive myself, to ask for forgiveness and to find the peace that the Lord wants for all of us.
In honor and in memory of my two beautiful children that I love and miss immensely: Genevieve Rose and Summer Rose.”